The United Kingdom offers a post-study work visa for international students who have completed their studies in the country. This visa allows students to stay in the UK for a period of time after graduation in order to find work and gain professional experience. Here, we will provide an overview of the visa requirements, application process, and other important information that you need to know if you are considering applying for a UK post-study work visa.
Just like you, many other students consider certain key factors leading to their final decision to pursue quality international education in the United Kingdom. One factor that constantly highlights students’ genuine interest is to have some opportunity to work while studying in a foreign country.
Although there are stipulated laws that guide the number of hours entitled to international students, a more practical policy has been offered by the UK Home Office as it formally opened its new post-study work visa to international students. Currently, international students in the UK are offered a 20hrs/week window to work while they study.
Reintroduced in 2019, the Post-Study Work Rights or Graduate Visa Route is designed for international graduates who have been awarded their degree from a recognized UK university to stay on and look for work for at least two years. With the Graduate Visa Route, international students are given permission to work and stay in the UK for at least 2 years after successfully completing a course in the UK.
Before you can apply for a Graduate visa, all the below must be true and applicable to you:
- You are in the UK.
- Your current visa is a student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
- You studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible courses for a minimum period with your student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
- Your education provider (such as your university or college) has told the Home Office you’ve successfully completed your course
When to apply
You must apply before your student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa expires. You can apply after your education provider (such as your university or college) has told the Home Office that you’ve successfully completed the course you took with your student or Tier 4 (General) student visa. You do not have to wait until you’ve graduated or have been given a certificate.
As part of your application, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide your documents. Your application may take longer if you need an appointment to do this. You’ll find out if you need one when you start your application.
Getting a decision
Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity, and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 8 weeks. You can stay in the UK while you wait for a decision.
How much it costs
When you apply for a Graduate visa, you’ll need to:
- pay the £715 application fee
- pay the healthcare surcharge – this is usually £624 for each year you’ll be in the UK
What you can and cannot do
With a Graduate visa, you can:
- Work in most jobs
- Look for work
- Be self-employed
- Continue living in the UK with your partner and children if they’re eligible
- Do voluntary work
- Travel abroad and return to the UK
- Apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension
- Work as a professional sportsperson
If your application is successful, you’ll get a full list of what you can and cannot do with a Graduate visa.
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