Can International Students Work in the UK after Graduation?

This guidance relates to 2-Year Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK for International Students. The Graduate route is for a Student in the UK who wants to work, or look for work, following the successful completion of an eligible course of study at UK bachelor’s degree-level or above. The study must have been with a higher education provider with a track record of compliance. Accordingly, the post covers the UK Graduate Work Visa validity, suitability, and eligibility (successful course completion, qualification, and study in the UK) requirements. Moreover, the post provides guidance on the CAS Reference Number and changes in the course, and how to digitally apply for Post Graduate Work Visa UK?

1. Overview 2. Validity 3. Suitability 4. Eligibility 5. CAS 6. How to Apply?

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1. Overview

Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK for International Students

In terms of Appendix Graduate, an International Student needs to meet the validity, suitability, and eligibility requirements to get Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK.

  • Validity Requirements for Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK: The Paragraphs GR 1.1. to GR 1.5 of Appendix Graduate outline the minimum criteria which an applicant needs to fulfill for the further considerations. For instance, the applicant has used the correct form and supplied their identity documents. Applications which do not meet validity requirements are rejected as invalid.
  • Suitability Requirements for Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK: The Paragraphs GR 2.1. to GR 2.2 of Appendix Graduate relates to the suitability of the applicant to be granted any form of permission, not specifically whether they qualify as a Graduate Student. Applicants must not fall for refusal on general grounds or be in breach of immigration laws. Applications which do not meet these requirements are refused.
  • Eligibility Requirements for Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK: The Paragraphs GR 3.1 to GR 6.1 of Appendix Graduate relates to the specific eligibility criteria. Applications which do not meet these requirements are refused.

Does UK Give Post Study Work Visa?

Yes, under the New Graduate route a student who has completed bachelor’s degree or above in the UK can apply for 2-Year (or 3-Year in case of PhD) post study work visa.

Who is Eligible for Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK?

A student, who has completed a bachelor’s degree or above in the UK, is eligible to apply for Graduate Post Study Work Visa in the UK.

How Many Years of Work Permit in UK after Study?

Minimum 2-year post study work permit in UK; however, for PhD students the duration of post study work visa is 3-Years after study.

This route is for a Student in the UK who wants to work, or look for work, following the successful completion of an eligible course of study at UK bachelor’s degree-level or above. The study must have been with a higher education provider with a track record of compliance.

Immigration Rules Appendix Graduate

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    2. Validity

    Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK for International Students

    Before considering suitability and eligibility requirements, the Immigration Officer/Home Office check the validity of the application under the paragraphs GR 1.1. to GR 1.5 of Appendix Graduate, which relate to:

    1. Application Form
    2. Application Fees and Immigration Health Charge
    3. Biometrics and Identity Documents
    4. Immigration Status
    5. Government or International Scholarship Agency Awards

    2.1 Application Form

    A person applying for permission to stay needs to apply online on the gov.uk website on the specified form “Graduate”

    2.2 Application Fees and Immigration Health Charge

    The applicant needs to pay the relevant application fees and any Immigration Health Charge (aka Immigration Health Surcharge or IHS) for each year of their stay – usually @ £624 per year. The Home Office fees 2021 for Graduate Post Study Visa UK is £700.

    2.3 Biometrics and Identity Documents

    At the time of application, Graduate Post Study Work Visa applicants need to provide their biometrics. These biometrics details are verified against a valid passport or other travel document of the applicants

    2.4 Immigration Status

    The Graduate Post Study Visa can only be applied for a permission to say in the UK. Therefore, at the time of the application, the applicant needs be in the UK. The applicant must have, or have last had, permission as a student. Moreover, the applicant must not have been previously granted permission under the Doctorate Extension Scheme or as a Graduate.

    Please note, a valid immigration status means an applicant must either:

    • currently hold valid permission on either the student route or the Tier 4 (General) route
    • have held valid permission on the Student or Tier 4 (General) routes which expired but either one of the Paragraph 39E exceptions for overstayers applies or the applicant has been given a period of exceptional assurance and has not overstayed that period. In either case, the period of overstaying will be disregarded when considering their application

    Before considering the eligibility of the UK Graduate Post Study Work Visa application, the Home Office checks applicant’s immigration history to make sure that the applicant has not previously been granted permission under the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) or held permission on the Graduate route. If they have previously been granted permission under the DES or on the Graduate route, then Home Office rejects the application as invalid.

    Tier (1 Post-Study Work), IGS, or Future Talent

    If a student has previously been granted permission on the Tier 1 (Post-study work) route, International Graduate Scheme (IGS) or the Future Talent Working in Scotland Scheme, then they meet the validation requirements of the Graduate route. However, if a student has previously been granted permission on one of these routes, then will need to successfully complete a new eligible qualification at a Higher Education Provider (HEP) with a track record of compliance and hold valid permission as a student once the route is introduced. Therefore, such students cannot rely on a previous qualification obtained or previous leave as a student or under Tier 4 to access the route.

    2.5 Government or International Scholarship Agency Awards

    If in the last 12 months before the date of application, the applicant has completed a course of studies in the UK for which they have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship by a government or international scholarship agency covering both fees and living costs for study in the UK, then they need to provide written consent in relation to the UK Graduate Post Study Visa application from that Government or agency.

    GR 1.6. An application which does not meet all the validity requirements for a Graduate is invalid and may be rejected and not considered.

    3. Suitability

    Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK for International Students

    For permission to stay in the UK on the Graduate route, an applicant needs to meet the suitability requirements under Paragraphs GR 2.1 and GR 2.2 of Appendix Graduate. Therefore, in terms of paragraph ST 2.1 an applicant must not fall for refusal under Part 9: grounds for refusal. Moreover, as per paragraph GR 2.2 an applicant applying for permission to stay must not be:

    • in breach of immigration laws, except that where paragraph 39E applies, that period of overstaying will be disregarded; or
    • on immigration bail

    Please note, for UK Graduate Post Study Visa, the Home Office conducts verification checks if there are any doubts about genuineness of the supporting documents.

    4. Eligibility

    Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK for International Students

    In terms of Appendix Graduate, eligibility requirements for Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK relate to:

    1. Points
    2. Successful Completion Requirement
    3. Qualification Requirement
    4. Study in the UK Requirement

    4.1 Points

    For Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK, an applicant needs to score seventy (70) points

    Points typeRelevant requirements to be metNumber of points
    Successful course completion• Successful completion requirement
    • Qualification requirement
    • Study in the UK requirement
    70

    4.2 Successful Completion Requirement

    For Successful Completion Requirement, the Home Office first checks the Register of Student sponsors to ensure that the Student Sponsor is a Higher Education Provider (HEP) with a track record of compliance on the date of application. Please note, HEPs sponsors are listed as ‘Student sponsor – track record’ on the Register of Student Sponsors.

    Afterwards, the Immigration Officer (Home Office) checks whether the applicant has successfully completed the course of study which was undertaken during their last grant of permission to study on the student route, or their last permission to study prior to taking up a Student Union Sabbatical Office (SUSO) role on the student route. Students who undertake two consecutive periods as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer after their studies can also meet the requirement. Where the applicant was permitted to change their course of study under the Immigration Rules without applying for further permission as a student, this requirement only applies to the course to which they changed.

    Sponsor Notification

    By the date of a leave to remain application under the Graduate route, the Student Sponsor needs to notify the Home Office that the applicant has successfully completed the course of study. Please note, sponsors normally notifies the Home Office by way of bulk upload.

    If the Home Office does receive the notification from the Student Sponsor, but the CAS shows that the applicant had been studying a qualifying qualification, then the Immigration Officer does not refuse the application if it would otherwise be granted. Instead, the Immigration Officer (Home Office) normally contacts the Sponsor for confirmation that the student has successfully completed the course of study.

    4.3 Qualification Requirement

    For Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK, the Immigration Officer (Home Office) checks whether the applicant has successfully completed a course of study for which they have been, or will be, awarded a UK bachelor’s degree, a UK postgraduate degree, or successfully completed a relevant qualification listed in Appendix Graduate GR.5.2.

    Accordingly, the Immigration Officer checks whether the student gained the qualification during the last grant of permission to study, or in the period of permission immediately prior to undertake a role as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer. Please note, students who undertake two consecutive periods as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer after their studies meet the Qualification requirements for Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK.

    Professional Qualifications

    Some professions require a person to complete a qualification in addition to, or instead of, a degree before someone is allowed to legally practice in that profession in the UK. Please note, UK law or public authority regulates these professions. These qualifications are eligible for the purpose of the Graduate route and include those in the list below:

    • a law conversion course validated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (referred to by its previous name of ‘Joint Academic Stage Board’ in the Graduate route immigration rules) in England and Wales
    • the Legal Practice Course in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland, or a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland
    • the Bar Practice Course in England and Wales, or the Bar Course in Northern Ireland
    • a foundation programme in Medicine or Dentistry
    • a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)
    Regulated Qualifications

    Other professional courses requiring study at UK bachelor’s degree level or above in a profession with reserved activities that is regulated by UK law or UK public authority are also eligible for the purpose of meeting the qualification requirement. Professional roles that have reserved activities include (but are not limited to) medical doctors, architects, lawyers, teachers, and nurses.

    4.4 Study in the UK Requirement

    For the purposes of assessing the Study in the UK requirement, the Home Office considers all periods of Student permission which were granted to study the eligible qualification that the applicant subsequently successfully completed. This means that an applicant who was unable to complete their studies in one period of Student permission, for reasons such as maternity leave or sickness, and who consequently deferred their studies and completed the course of studies at a later date with Student permission, will have all those periods counted.

    PhD Students

    This also applies to a PhD Student who started their course in the UK, then left the UK overseas research (as part of their qualification), and thus either had their sponsorship withdrawn or was not granted permission as Student for that overseas period, but who subsequently returned to the UK as a Student to successfully complete their course (by, for example, conducting further research, writing up their thesis or submitting their viva). An applicant in these circumstances should not be prevented from meeting the study in the UK requirement if the total length of all those periods of permission meets the relevant requirement.

    Course Duration 12 Months or More

    A course with a start date of 30 September 2020 and an end date of 29 September 2021 is 12 months long. A course is longer than 12 months if it starts on 30 September 2020 and ends on 30 September 2021 or later.

    An applicant who made their student or Tier 4 (General) student application before their course started and started the course before permission was granted (as permitted in Student route), will have their study time in the UK before permission being granted counted as well. This means that apart from the granted permission period, the period from course start date, as noted on their CAS, to the date of permission being granted, will also be counted. The same applies to applicants who were allowed to start their course before permission was granted due to Covid-19 concessions.

    Course Duration 12 Months or Less

    Applicants who studied a course lasting 12 months or less must have spent the full duration of the relevant period of permission course studying in the UK (or on permitted study abroad programs, where relevant) on either the student route or former Tier 4 (General).

    At Least 12 months of permission

    Applicants who studied a course for longer than 12 months must have been granted at least 12 months of Student or Tier 4 (General) permission, and all study must have taken place in the UK during at least 12 months of that permission, with the exception of permitted study abroad programmes. For articulation programmes, a student must have successfully completed the final year of study in the UK, i.e., the final year is treated for the purpose of this application as the eligible course and the relevant requirement of study in the UK requirement applies depending on the length of such course. However, a student who undertakes the first year of an articulation programme in the UK and then completes the course overseas will not be eligible.

    Moreover, an applicant who studied their whole course whilst holding permission on a route other than the student route or former Tier 4 (General) (for example, a student who undertakes a master’s degree whilst holding permission as a dependant) route will not meet this requirement.

    If a course lasting longer than 12 months was completed using a combination of immigration routes, then the applicant must have spent the minimum required time as a Student or Tier 4 migrant in the most recent period of permission.

    Study abroad programmes

    If the Student has participated in permitted study abroad programmes this will not prevent them from meeting the study in the UK requirement.

    Covid-19 Concessions

    The Covid-19 concession permitted distance learning on the student route. Students who began a course lasting 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 via distance learning, and who have not previously entered the UK to study that course will be able to make a Graduate application if they make a successful Student visa application and arrive in the UK either before their permission ends or by 27 September 2021, whichever is sooner.

    Such Students need to complete their course in the UK when they enter if they have not already completed their course while they were studying overseas.

    Any period of distance learning between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021, undertaken as part of a course of study lasting longer than 12 months whilst the applicant held permission as a student or Tier 4 (General) migrant, will not prevent the applicant from meeting the requirement to spend the relevant period studying in the UK.

    Once concessions on distance learning for the student route end, students will be required to attend face to face learning in the UK in accordance with the academic engagement policy.

    Distance Learning

    Where distance learning took place overseas between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021, this will not prevent the applicant meeting the studying in the UK requirement if:

    • they began their course in 2020 and entered the UK on or before 27 September 2021 and complete that course of study in the UK with permission as a student; or
    • they began their course in 2021 and entered the UK before 27 September 2021 and complete that course of study in the UK with permission as a student

    5. CAS

    Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK for International Students

    CAS Reference Number

    Applicants do not need a new CAS to apply under the Graduate route, but they will need to provide the CAS reference for the relevant Student permission when making an application.

    Please note, information on the CAS links to the most recent period of permission as a student or Tier 4 (General) migrant in the immigration history. Accordingly, the Home Office use this to determine whether an applicant meets relevant requirements of the Graduate route.

    Change of Course

    The Paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules defines “Successfully completed” and “course of study”. Both definitions include courses to which a student is permitted to change without having to make a further Student immigration application.

    Accordingly, for getting UK graduate post study work visa, an applicant needs to have the qualification award for the course listed on the CAS issued for the relevant period of Student or Tier 4 (General) permission, unless the student has changed course as permitted within the student route. This includes:

    • undertaking a different course at degree level or above, where the student is sponsored by an HEP with a track record which confirmed at the time of change that the previous and new courses are related or support the student’s career aspirations
    • adding or removing a work placement to the course
    • adding or removing a study abroad programme
    • leaving an integrated PhD or master’s programme with the lower level qualification (for example, leaving an integrated master’s programme with a bachelor’s qualification)
    • intercalating students on medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine and science courses
    • completing a course where the sponsor has changed the course title or the course contents after issuing the CAS, but without the Student needing to make a further application
    Paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules

    Course of study” means the course for which a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies was assigned, or a new course with the person’s current student sponsor which they were permitted to study without applying for further permission on the Student route.

    Successfully completed” means the Student or Child Student has completed their course and been assessed by their sponsor, and has been or will be awarded, a qualification that is:
    (a) for the course of study for which their Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies was assigned; or
    (b) a degree at either UK Bachelor’s degree level or UK postgraduate degree level, as part of an integrated programme for which their Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies was assigned; or
    (c) for the course of study with their student sponsor to which they were allowed to change without applying for further permission on the Student route.

    Immigration Rules

    Notification to the Home Office

    If a student has changed course, the sponsoring institution needs to notify the Home Office of the change of course via the Sponsor Management System (SMS) prior to the submission of the Graduate application. If the award is for a different qualification than listed on the CAS, then the Immigration Officer usually checks that the sponsor has notified to confirm the change of course.

    6. How to Apply?

    Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK for International Students

    Digital Application

    The Graduate route allows applicants to make and submit applications using a complete digital process (AUK2). The applicant will upload their own documents, complete a live scan (similar to a ‘selfie’) and will receive a digital status if their application is successful. The applicant will receive an e-mail confirming their digital status and this will include a PDF of their decision letter.

    Please note, visa nationals (such as applicants with Indian, Pakistani, Nigerian citizenship) will also receive a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

    BRP

    For the Graduate route, the applicant needs their BRP to use the complete digital service. However, they may not be able to use it, if

    • they have lost their BRP
    • the chip in their BRP is damaged and hence cannot be read by the app
    • they are not able to use the app
    • they are unable to receive their decision by e-mail

    If an applicant is unable to use the complete digital process, they can complete the application process and attend a VAC to enrol their biometrics and upload their documents (AUK1). Applicants who are routed through the Access UK 1 path due to an exception will receive a BRP only.

    Duration

    The period of permission to be granted to an applicant is dependent on the type of course studied and set out at Appendix Graduate GR.8.1. An applicant who has successfully completed a PhD or other doctoral qualification must be granted 3 years from the date of decision. An applicant who has successfully completed any other eligible qualification must be granted 2 years from the date of decision.

    An applicant whose CAS was assigned for an integrated PhD but who successfully completes the lower postgraduate qualification must be granted 2 years from the date of decision

    Refusal

    There are no appeal rights against refusal of Graduate Visa UK. However, if an application for permission to stay is refused under the points-based system and the applicant thinks the Home Office has made an error in considering their application, then can apply for an administrative review. Please note after refusal of the administrative review, one can file a Judicial Review to challenge the rejection decision.