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Working in the UK after your studies

International students graduating from a UK university can apply to stay in the UK to work once they have finished their studies. With central London just 30 minutes away by train, you are within easy reach of a wide range of opportunities.

Non-EU students

Your eligibility to work in the UK after you complete your studies will depend on whether you meet the requirements for any of the schemes that the Government operates.

There are a number of schemes open to international students from outside the European Economic Area. These include:

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

This route is for non-European graduates who do not have a job offer from an employer but instead have a genuine and credible business idea or entrepreneurial skills to establish one or more businesses in the UK. This route has been extended to allow post-doctoral researchers on a Tier 2 visa currently employed by Kingston University to apply.

Successful applicants will be granted leave for 12 months initially, which may be extended for a further 12 months. You must have £945 in savings - to prove that you can support yourself and you must have held this in your bank account for 90 consecutive days before you apply. 

Kingston University has been allocated 20 general endorsements to be allocated between 6 April 2018 until 5 April 2019.

Successful applicants will be granted leave for 12 months initially, which may be extended for a further 12 months. You must have £945 in savings – this is to prove you can support yourself and you must have had this in your bank account for 90 days before you apply. 

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa

You can apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa if:

You must have access to at least £50,000 investment funds to apply.

Tier 2 visa (General)

This is the main route to apply under if you would like to work in the UK. You must be offered a skilled job at NQF level 6, by an employer who holds a Tier 2 (G) Sponsor Licence.

Tier 2 (General) for graduates 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.

The requirements are:

  • 70 points under the points based system;
  • a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) from your Tier 2 licensed sponsor (employer). Important: you must apply within three months from the date the Certificate of Sponsorship (COS);
  • an offer of a skilled job at NQF level 6 (this is the skill level set against the appropriate rate of pay for a job) from a Tier 2 licensed sponsor (employer), earning at least £20,800 or the minimum appropriate rate set out in the relevant UKVI Code of Practice for sponsored workers per year;
  • apply from within the UK; and
  • have current leave as a Tier 4 student

New provisions under Tier 2 (General) for graduates are available to those who would previously have been eligible under Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) visa.

Find out more information on Tier 2 visa.

Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES)

This is a new scheme in force from 6 April 2013. It is designed to give students who have almost finished their UK PhD or other doctorate qualification an additional 12 months of Tier 4 (General) immigration permission in which to look for and start work in the UK.

Information about this scheme is available in the Tier 4 policy guidance.

The University or college where you are studying for your doctorate must be a Tier 4 sponsor. It must also be a recognised body or a body in receipt of public funding as a higher education institution. If in doubt, ask your college or university if it meets this requirement.

If you are studying for a doctorate and have almost completed your studies then his scheme will allow you to work in the UK for up to one year after you have completed your studies. You must apply to switch into DES from your Tier 4 visa within the UK before you have completed your course, and within 60 days of the course completion date.

For general enquiries about working in the UK contact the International Student Advisory Centre (ISAC) at

Tier 5 work options

There are a number of different types of Tier 5 schemes. These include:

Youth Mobility:

If you are a national of one of the following countries you may be eligible to apply for the Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa: Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Taiwan.

You can also apply if you're 18 to 30 and a:

To apply under Tier 5 (Youth Mobility), you must be aged between 18 and 30, and you must have £1,890 in your personal bank account on the date on which you apply for entry clearance.

You cannot switch into this immigration category from within the UK. Instead, you need to leave the UK and apply for entry clearance.

Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange Schemes:

The Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange route is for those coming to the UK through approved schemes as a paid intern. The aim is to share knowledge, experience and best practice through work placements, whilst experiencing the wider social and cultural setting of the UK. A list of the companies who can offer Tier 5 visas can be found at Home Office list of Authorised Exchange Schemes.

Some examples of companies on the list are:

To apply for the schemes you must be able to show that you have held funds of £945 in an account that is acceptable to the Home Office for a period of 90 consecutive days.  

You can make an application to stay in the UK under if you meet all the following requirements:

  • you have student leave (Tier 4 (General) leave or leave under one of the student-related categories that preceded the introduction of Tier 4
  • you have obtained a UK recognised degree during your most recent grant of leave
  • you are being sponsored under Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) either to undertake a period of postgraduate professional training or work experience which is required to obtain a professional qualification or professional registration in the same field as your UK qualification or you are being sponsored for up to 12 months to undertake an internship which directly relates to your UK qualification
  • your employer does not intend to employ you in the UK once your training or work experience for which you are being sponsored has ended.

For further details about working after your studies and these schemes check the information on the UKCISA website.

For general enquiries about working in the UK contact the International Student Advisory Centre (ISAC) at

Contact us

International Student Advisory Centre
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3645

International students
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