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.

Please see the International students guide to working in the UK after you graduate.

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 Route – Post Study Work visa


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;
  • 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; and
  • courses of 12 months or shorter must be studied for the full duration in the UK.

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 you 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 a confirmation 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 Student Dependant.


  • £715 per applicant for the visa application.
  • £624 a year per applicant for the Health Charge (£1,248 for 2 years and £1,875 for 3 years (PhD students only)).


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 may 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

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.

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 page 39 of the Skilled Worker Caseworker Guidance (PDF).

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.

Innovator Founder Route

  • The Innovator Founder route is for a person seeking to establish a business in the UK based on an innovative, viable and scalable business idea they have generated, or to which they have significantly contributed.
  • The £50k minimum funds requirement has been removed. Secondary employment is permitted, provided it is in skilled roles (i.e. at least skilled to RQF Level 3).
  • An applicant must have a key role in developing their business and confirm they will have at least two Contact Point meetings with the endorsing body at regular intervals during their period of leave under this route
  • A partner and dependent children can apply on this route and the Innovator Founder route is a route to settlement after continuous residency in the UK under this route.
  • The application must be supported by an endorsing body.

More information can be found at the links below:

Business Endorsing Bodies for the Innovator Founder Route

These organisations can issue endorsements for Innovator Founder Visas and for Scale-up licences:

The Global Entrepreneurs Programme (GEP) is a government programme run by the Department for Business and Trade for internationally mobile, tech-based entrepreneurs and helps them scale and internationalise their innovation rich companies from a UK global HQ. GEP only provide visa endorsements for founders that have already been invited to participate on their programme.

For further information about the eligibility criteria for GEP, contact

For further information about the endorsing bodies, visit the government's Innovator Founder and Scale-up visas endorsing bodies guidance page.

Temporary Worker visa

The Temporary Worker visa 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 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 Temporary worker (GAE) if you have student leave including Tier 4 (General).

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

1. Internships: Student graduates who complete their degree in the UK can switch into Temporary Worker (GAE) to undertake a 12-month internship provided it relates directly to your degree.

Access Tier 5 and Intern Visa Scheme 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.

2. 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

The Youth Mobility Scheme applies to certain nationals only.

Applications must be submitted from the home country.

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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.