Working in the UK after your studies

Some international students graduating from a UK university can apply to stay in the UK to work once they have finished their studies. There is more information about working after your studies on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.

Visa schemes for graduates

Depending on the rules set out in your visa, you may be able to apply for one of the following schemes when you graduate from Kingston University:

Graduate visa – Post Study Work visa

The Graduate Route visa was launched on 1 July 2021.


To be able to apply for the Graduate Route visa, students must:

  • be in the UK on a valid student visa that has not expired;
  • have studied at least the last 12 months of their course on that student visa;
  • apply only after being informed they have been awarded their degree; and
  • apply only after receiving a confirmation email from the compliance team that the Home Office has been notified of their eligibility which includes their CAS number.

If your visa expires before you receive your official results you will not be eligible to apply to switch into the Graduate Route visa. You must leave the UK before your visa expires.

Students cannot apply for the Graduate Route from overseas.

To be eligible to apply you must be in the UK and have a valid Student Route visa and have received your official results confirming they will be, or have been, awarded before you can apply to switch into the Graduate Route. If you are completing your course in January 2024 you will not receive your official results until March 2024. You must wait until after that date to apply.

After you have been awarded your degree, the compliance team will notify the Home Office and send you an email with your CAS number.

If you have been officially financially sponsored by your Government, or an officially recognised international organisation in the last 12 months, you must obtain a permission letter from this sponsor giving their consent for you to remain in the UK under the Graduate Route.

You will also require your current passport and Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card.

Dependants are allowed, providing they are already in the UK as a PBS Student Dependant.


  • £700 per applicant for the application (2 years £1,948 and 3 years £2,572).
  • £624 a year per applicant for the Health Charge (£1,248 for 2 years and £1,875 for 3 years).

There is a £55 discount in the visa application fee for CESC nationals


Kingston University must confirm your eligibility to apply for the Graduate Route to the Home Office, and you will be notified when this task has been completed.

Your application will not be processed if you submit your visa application before Kingston University has confirmed your eligibility.

If you have received your results and meet all the requirements and are ready to submit your visa application, but have not received a confirmation email, please email the compliance team at to confirm your eligibility has been sent to the Home Office before you submit your visa application.

How to apply 

Below are links to the guidance notes and the visa application. You are strongly advised to take the time to read the guidance in addition to reading all the information on this page about the Graduate Route.

Skilled Worker Route visa

The Skilled Worker Route visa replaced Tier 2 (General) on 1 December 2020.

To be eligible to apply to switch into the Skilled Worker Route in the UK, students must be sponsored by an employer who holds a Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence. The job offer must be one listed on one of the Skilled Occupation List.

The information below is related to students who wish to switch into the Skilled Worker Route based on being a ‘New Entrant' as a recent graduate.

However, this is not the only basis on which you can apply. For full information on how you can apply under the Skilled Worker Route either in the UK or from overseas please read the information in the Skilled Worker Caseworker Guidance (PDF) and on the UK Council for International Affairs website.

You can also check your eligibility by using the eligibility checker on the 'Skilled Worker Visa – documents you'll need to apply' page of GOV.UK.

Direct access to the checker – Check if you are eligible for a Skilled Worker visa. It should take 2 minutes to complete.

The Skilled Worker Route is open to recent and future graduates with a bachelors or masters degree, Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or Professional Diploma in Education (PGDE), from a UK recognised or listed institution. The scheme is also open to students who have completed a minimum of 12 months of a PhD programme.

Additional requirements for recent graduates – see bullet point 6 on page 38 of the Skilled Worker Caseworker Guidance (PDF).

To qualify as a new entrant on the basis of recent graduate-level study, the applicant must meet all of the following conditions:

  • the applicant's most recent permission must have been as a Student, or as a Tier 4 (General) Student
  • that permission must have expired less than 2 years before the date of application

In that permission (or any previous permission as a Student or a Tier 4 (General) Student, the applicant was sponsored to study any of the following:

  • a UK bachelor's degree
  • a UK master's degree
  • a UK PhD or other doctoral qualification
  • a Postgraduate Certificate in Education
  • a Professional Graduate Diploma of Education

The applicant:

  • has completed the relevant course mentioned above
  • is applying no more than 3 months before they are expected to complete the relevant course above; or is studying a PhD and has completed at least 12 months' study in the UK towards that PhD.

The applicant must be studying, or have studied, one of the courses listed above – equivalent-level qualifications are not acceptable.

The maintenance you will be required to show if you have not been living in the UK for the past 12 months, and your Employer /Sponsor is not certifying your maintenance on your COS is £1,270 in your personal bank account for 28 days.

Please be advised the immigration health charge for this route is £624.00 per year.

Start-up visa

From 4 June 2020 any graduate who was sponsored for their studies by their government or an overseas organisation in the last 12 months must obtain a permission letter to remain in the UK and switch into the Start-up / Innovator route (or apply for the Start-up route / Innovator route from overseas).

Before you apply

To prove that you can support yourself you must:*

  • have £1,270 in savings 
  • be able to show the funds in you personal bank account for 28 consecutive days before you apply for the Start-up route.

* Unless you have been living in the UK for the past 12 months.


To apply/switch in the UK:

  • £493 (8 weeks)
  • £993 (Priority 10 day)
  • £1,293 Super Priority (24 hrs).

From overseas:

  • £363 visa application fee.

Additional costs:

  • Biometrics: £19.20.
  • Health charge: £624 per year.

How to apply

Visit GOV.UK to apply for your Start-up visa

Endorsed Start-up visa

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) has been expanded into a new Start-up category, which is for people looking to set up a business in the UK. The new Start-up category opened to applicants on 6 April 2019.

Kingston University has been allocated 25 General Endorsements for the new Start-up Route to be allocated from 6 April 2021 to 5 April 2022.

  • Applicants do need to be Kingston University graduates and do not require any initial funding.
  • Applicants must be endorsed by a recognised body.
  • Business ideas must be innovative, viable and scalable.
  • Applicant must satisfy the English language requirement, to Level B2.
  • Successful applicants will be granted two years' leave.
  • Successful achievements in the Start-up category will enable applicants to switch into the Innovator route.
  • The £50,000 investment required for the Innovator route will be waived.

How to apply

If you would like to apply for an endorsed Start-up Route visa, you should:

  1. Register your interest.
  2. Join the Kingston University Bright Ideas start-up programme. Please contact Dwain Reid to join.

Need assistance with your application?

Please contact the Student Immigration Advisory Service at for further information and assistance with your Start-up visa application in the UK. Please refer to the Start-up Route in the subject field and include your full name, nationality and KU ID number in the body of the email.

Innovator visa

You can apply for an Innovator visa if:

  • You are endorsed by a relevant business sponsor;
  • You have £50,000 to invest in your business from any legitimate source (this investment is waived if you are switching from a Start-Up visa and satisfy the English language requirement to Level B2).

How to apply

Visit GOV.UK for more information about the Innovator visa

Temporary Worker visa (Tier 5)

The Temporary Worker visa (Tier 5) route includes schemes which allow you to undertake specific types of work in the UK for a period of one or two years depending on the scheme.

In order to qualify, you must:

  • have a Tier 5 sponsor under the relevant scheme;
  • have a certificate of sponsorship (COS) from your sponsor; and
  • have held funds of £1,270 in an account that is acceptable to the Home Office for a period of 28 consecutive days. Unless you have been living in the UK for the past 12 months.

Government Authorised Exchange (GAE)

For people coming to the UK through approved schemes that aim to share knowledge, experience, best practice, and to experience the UK's social and cultural life.

This category must not be used to fill job vacancies or bring unskilled labour to the UK. You can make an application to stay in the UK under Tier 5 (GAE) if you have student leave including Tier 4 (General) or leave under one of the student-related categories that preceded the introduction of Tier 4. Please be advised that with effect from October 2020, the immigration health charge for Tier 2 (General) will increase to £624 per year.

The available schemes you may find of most use to you are:

Internships – Student graduates who complete their degree in the UK can switch into Tier 5 (GAE) to undertake a 12 month internship provided it relates directly to your degree. Access Tier 5 and GTI Recruiting Solutions are two external commercial organisations who can assist you to find work experience programmes and can issue you with a COS for up to 12 months of work experience.

Sponsored Researchers – The Sponsored Researchers scheme allows Kingston University to sponsor (employ) researchers and visiting academics who will be undertaking tasks such as lecturing, examining or working on supernumerary research collaboration. A sponsored researcher is normally a visiting academic, who does not meet the Business/Academic Visitor criteria. Kingston University is a licensed sponsor and has a limited number of COS numbers to issue to sponsored researchers for up to 24 months.

Youth Mobility Scheme visa (Tier 5)

The tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) applies to certain nationals only.

Applications must be submitted from the home country.

More about

Contact us

If you have any queries or need further support, please get in touch with the Visa and Immigration Team – we are here to help.