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Post study work visa advice

On 11 September 2019, the UK Government announced its intentions to create a new ‘Graduate’ visa route which will open from 2020/21 academic year. All international students with a valid Tier 4 student visa who have successfully completed a course of study at undergraduate level or above at a UK Higher Education institution with a record of immigration compliance will be able to apply. The 'Graduate' visa will allow eligible international graduates to work, or look for work, in any career or position of their choice, for two years after completing their studies.

The following details about the Graduate route have been confirmed by the Home Office:

  • Any international student who will complete their course in or after the summer of 2021 will be eligible to apply for the new two year Graduate route
  • Unfortunately the Graduate route will not be open to those who have completed their studies or are due to complete them in the summer of 2020

We are still waiting on further details about implementation, but the Home Office has announced key features of the route:

  • It will be open to international students who have successfully completed a course of study at undergraduate (RQF 6) level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance, and who have a valid and extant student visa at the time of application;
  • The application process will be simple. There will be an application fee and applicants will pay the Immigration Health Surcharge;
  • Applicants will be subject to identity, criminality and security checks;
  • The leave period granted will be two years and will be non-extendable. Settlement rights will not be accrued;
  • Individuals will be able to work, or look for work in any sector, at any level;
  • Individuals will be able to switch into the skilled work route if they meet the requirements.

Sheffield Hallam University has a track record of immigration compliance and will be able to sponsor international students under this visa category once it becomes available.

In the meantime, international graduates who are not able to apply for the new 'Graduate' visa can consider the following options:

Start-up visa (link to Gov.UK website)

Each year Sheffield Hallam University can endorse up to 15 graduates with a genuine and credible business idea to establish their business in the UK. Please visit Careers Connect for more information.

Tier 2 (General) visa (link to Gov.UK website)

International students on a Tier 4 visa with a job offer for skilled employment from a licensed Tier 2 sponsor can switch into a this visa three months before they are about to complete their studies. We organise a number of events throughout the year offering guidance to international students who would like to secure a Tier 2 (General) Visa at the end of their studies.

Other options you can consider are listed on the UKCISA website.

The International Experience Team offers immigration advice on the choices available to international graduates wishing to work in the UK after studies and support with visa applications.


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