How to find Employment in the UK after Studying

Ellie Green
Authored by Ellie Green
Posted Friday, May 27, 2022 - 3:46pm


The UK is the second-most popular destination in the world for international students. Second only to the US, the UK sees many students walking its various universities and campuses each year. Many of these students come to the UK for excellent postgraduate educational opportunities and career options. In 2012, Former UK Prime Minister Theresa May reduced the post-study work visa to four months for students with 2-year full-time study to find jobs, with a rider that they need to get an annual salary of £20,800.

In 2019 – 20, there were nearly 540,000 international students actively pursuing their education in the UK. Preference was for EU students (after UK nationals) to stay back post-study to work. However, after the change in immigration laws post-Brexit, there is a shortage of skilled labour in the UK. This is now changing with the new visa laws for non-EU international students to stay back and work in the UK. 

Some international students found excellent jobs within a few months and have opted for the ILR, which allows them Indefinite Leave to Remain and work in the UK. This new change in the law (to fill shortage gaps in the UK) has also led to many UK-based businesses applying for a UK sponsor licence to attract experienced international overseas talent.

What is the New Visa?

The UK government introduced the Graduate Visa for international students wishing to live and work in the UK after completing their studies. This visa allows international students the opportunity to work or look for work without company sponsorship. According to the regulations in the new Graduate Visa (which used to be the Post Study Work Visa), undergraduate and postgraduate students can work or search for work for a period of two years post their studies, and doctoral students can stay back in the UK for three years. 

This is fabulous news for international students as well as UK-based businesses since it gives international students a chance to make their careers in the UK, which companies can fill the shortage gap with highly skilled locally-educated talent. This is also great for international students since they are not stressed about securing a job immediately and can switch to better career opportunities without the fear of leaving the country for two years. 

How to Apply for the Graduate route Visa?

Students need not wait till they graduate to apply for the Graduate route Visa. Once they receive the final course results and the University confirms that the student has successfully completed the studies, international students can pay the processing fees of £700, plus the £624 for the UK National Health Service. 

Currently, there are two ways international students can apply for the new visa – In-person and Online.

  • Online: International students have to visit the website and create UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account. You can use a mobile app to help with identity verification. Students will need the existing Student Visa, Biometric Resident Card, or other identification documents used to enter the UK for studies. Once the application is successful, students will receive a new Biometric Resident Card and eVisa (depending on the origin country). 
  • In-Person: In-person applications need to happen from a UK Visas and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS). 

It is ideal for students to remain in the UK while applying for a Graduate Visa. There is a high possibility the visa may get rejected if applied from out of the country, and international students may lose out on the eligibility completely. Even if the Student or Tier 4 visa is expiring, ensure that you apply for the Graduate Visa before the Student Visa expires. Applicants can stay in the UK until a decision about the Graduate Visa is made. In the meantime, you can continue working in the UK under the Tier 4 or Student Visa stipulations. 

Can the Graduate Visa be Renewed?

No. Once granted, the Graduate Visa is valid for a duration of 2 years from the date of approval of the application. It cannot be renewed like other visas in the UK. If the primary applicant wishes to continue living and working in the UK post the two years, they will have to shift to another UK visa category. A popular visa is the Skilled Worker Visa. However, this application must be made before the expiration of the Graduate Visa. If the Graduate Visa expires, the applicant will have to leave the UK. 


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