Post-Study Work Visa Benefits for International Students in the UK

Having the opportunity to work in the UK after graduation can provide a bright future for international students. The number of foreign nationals who were granted work visas in September 2021 reached 171,600, including many post-study workers.

In addition to world-class education, the United Kingdom offers the highest quality career opportunities. The UK is the sixth-largest economy globally, and its quality of life is excellent. International students seek post-study work permits to work after finishing their studies.

International exposure in the UK makes students eligible for jobs worldwide. A UK work permit or a post-study work visa is required if you plan to settle in the UK after your academic program.

For international students, the UK government launched the Graduate Immigration Route on July 1, 2021. For each year spent in the United Kingdom, you will need to pay an application fee and a healthcare surcharge.

Post-study work visas facilitate a smooth transition into UK employment for international students. Along with consolidating worker rights in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields and making permanent residency more accessible. Graduates and professionals in STEM fields will benefit from the proposed point-based system.

The newly-introduced ‘Graduate’ route to the UK work visa after study.

Post Study Work Visa (PSWV) allows international students to study, work, and live in the UK after graduating. They enable them to take up a job in their field of interest. International students with immigration status in the United Kingdom can apply for a post-study work visa through the UK Route, including Indian students. Those enrolled in a UK Higher Education Provider-approved institution may apply for this streamlined route.

Post-study work visas and graduate visas do not require a job offer. As a result, they can develop their careers in the UK by working flexibly without being restricted by a salary cap.

Eligibility/Basic requirements

Before this change, bachelor’s and master’s degree holders were permitted to stay in the UK for a maximum of four months to find a job. With the new graduate route visa rules, international students can stay up to two years in the UK. The UK government is trying to develop a skilled workforce to grow STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields.

The Post Study Work Visa UK is available to international students with a Tier 4 visa who have commenced their studies after September 2020 and are enrolled in an approved higher education programme.

In order to qualify for a Tier 2 visa, international students must find a job that pays a minimum of GBP 20,800 (approximately INR 21 lac).

A student’s eligibility is determined by several factors:

  • Colleges and universities a student has enrolled in.
  • The type of program they are registered in.
  • The length of the program the student studied in the UK.

There are certain prerequisites needed for applying for the UK work visa after studying abroad; these criteria include the following:

  • Applicants must be resident in the UK during the application process, hold a general Tier 4 student visa, have an undergraduate, graduate, or postgraduate degree from an accredited institution.
  • After completing an academic program, you must submit a visa application within 12 months and academic proof from the college or university.
  • If the student completed the program in a different language than English, the student needs to pass the IELTS test with an overall score of 6.5.
Do’s & Don’t with a Graduate Visa

A Graduate Visa allows the students to work or find other employment, own a business, participate in volunteering, and visit foreign countries, including India and return to the UK.

However, there are certain things that the Graduate Visa holder is not permitted to do, such as taking advantage of the UK public benefits (pension or public funds) and becoming a professional athlete. Unlike the student visa, the graduate visa is not extendable. Thus, the students can only apply once.

Types of Post-Study Work Visa UK
  • Tier 2 (General) visa
  • After completing a degree, international students are usually granted a Tier 2 (General) Visa to stay in the UK. Applicants must earn at least GBP 30,000 annually to qualify for a Tier 2 (General) Visa, and employers must be licensed tier 2 sponsors.

  • Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme
  • Students can stay in the UK for 12 months after completing their PhD studies under the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme. Graduates can look for new employment, gain practical experience, or establish their own enterprises.

  • Tier 5 Temporary Worker
  • International students who complete their studies in the UK can work, intern, and research there with a Government Authorized Exchange — Tier 5 Temporary Worker. The visa is valid for 12 to 24 months.

  • Start-up visa (replaces the formal Tier 1, Graduate Entrepreneur visa)
  • This visa option is available to applicants who wish to improve their entrepreneurial or innovative skills in the United Kingdom.

Benefits Post-Study Work Visa UK
  • Post-study work visa extended for up to 2 years.
  • During the first two years following graduation, international students studying at UK universities can work in the UK. Students can work at any skill level during this period without a minimum threshold salary or sponsorship from an employer. Graduate Route offers international students access to lucrative employment opportunities in the UK.

  • Visa extension for PhD students for up to 3 years
  • The UK government has announced plans to extend the visas of PhD students for three years following their studies. This will make the UK job market more attractive for professionals with PhDs. These latest changes aim to provide highly skilled professionals with better post-study employment options to promote the country’s STEM sector and improve its research output.

  • Work rights for dependents
  • Furthermore, dependents of international postgraduate students are entitled to work rights under the post-study work visa, allowing them to access the UK labour market almost to the fullest extent possible.

  • STEM graduates enjoy several benefits
  • The updated points-based immigration system starts in January 2021. A variety of factors will be taken into consideration, such as qualification, skills, professions, pays, and age profiles. As a result, highly skilled professionals and STEM graduates will have an easier time obtaining residency.

  • Easy access to shortage occupations
  • Under the reformed immigration system, shortage occupations on the Shortage Occupation List are eligible for an additional 20 points. Student visas will be easier to obtain for international students studying related professional degrees classified as skills shortage positions under the revised system.

  • A longer period of study in the UK for postgraduate students
  • Postgraduate students from the UK could no longer be restricted in the amount of time they could study. Furthermore, students can now stay in the UK for up to six months before their course begins.

Submission and cost of the post-Study Work visa UK application

Post-study work visas in the UK can be applied via the UK government’s website. The following steps are required as part of the application:

  • Using the UK Immigration application, scan your biometric residence permit (BRP)
  • Students need to know their Confirmation of Admission to Studies (CAS) for their most recent study application.
  • The visa application fee is GBP 715, and the immigration health surcharge annually will cost you GBP 624 while staying in the UK.
Final Thoughts

With an unemployment rate of 4.3% in the UK, you will not be at risk of unemployment if you stay in the UK. Work hours are 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday; you will get 28 paid holidays a year. You can find several part-time jobs in the UK in your spare time.

Find out about the benefits of the post-study Graduate Visa Route below and schedule a free consultation with Global Colliance if you are interested in studying in the UK.
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