Working after your studies

Find out about working in the UK and specific information about work visas such as Tier 2, Tier 5 and a planned graduate immigration route.

Finding a graduate job

You can search for graduate jobs through our CareerHub, and get specialist careers advice from our advisers in the Careers and Employability Centre.

If you are applying for a permanent, full-time job, it may say: “Do you have permission to work in the UK?” on your application. If you are still on a Tier 4 visa, you do not have this permission.

You must contact the employer to tell them your immigration status in the UK and that you can apply to switch into a work category (i.e. Tier 2) if they can sponsor you.

Check if an employer is on the register of Tier 2 and Tier 5 Sponsors.

If you want to apply for a work visa after you finish your studies, you may need to apply in the UK.

Therefore you should not leave the UK after your course finishes as you will normally be refused entry to the UK if you attempt to re-enter on your current visa.

Graduate work visa

The UK government is working on a new immigration route which will allow you to work in the UK for two years after you graduate.

It will be open to international students who have:

  • successfully completed a course of study at undergraduate level (known as RQF 6) or above, and
  • a valid visa at the time of application.

Important: This route is not yet confirmed and it must be agreed by the UK parliament before it becomes part of immigration rules. It is expected to come into effect in summer 2021.

The application process will be simple.

You will:

  • pay the Immigration Health Surcharge and an application fee
  • undergo identity, criminality and security checks
  • get two years to work in the UK but you won’t get settlement rights
  • be able to work, or look for work, in any sector, at any level
  • be able to switch into the skilled work route if you meet the requirements.

Read more about the graduate immigration route on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.

You can also see a government fact sheet about the graduate immigration route.

Start-up visa

If you have a business idea you want to try in the UK, the government has a Start-up visa.

The Start-up visa was previously called the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa.

We are not currently endorsing new applications for this scheme in the 2019-20 academic year.

If you are already part of this scheme, continue to email with any issues or questions.

Important: If you have a Tier 4 visa, your conditions mean you are not allowed to undertake self-employment or any business activity.

See other visa options for working after your studies on the UKCISA website.

If you need more advice, email

Working after a PhD

Find out about the Doctorate Extension Scheme if you’re looking to work in the UK after finishing your PhD.

See more from After your studies