Work opportunities after study in UK
Updated on Feb 2, 2016 - 3:47 p.m. IST by Manashjyoti #United Kingdom
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Work opportunities after study in UK:
With more than four lakh international students, the UK is the second most popular destination for higher studies after the USA. The flexible education system which is also in sync with today's job requirements helps attract students to the country. Many students again come to the UK in the belief that work opportunities after study in UK are decent enough and will allow them to make it big in the UK labor market.

The benefits of studying in UK are manifold:

  • Universities in the UK are globally recognized with ten of them making it to the top 50 in QS World University Ranking 2015/16

  • 5% of the world’s scientific research and 14% of the most frequently cited papers originate in the UK

  • Teaching methodology is crafted to give creative freedom and room for personal skill development

  • Has some of the best faculty and industry experts guiding students

When it comes to work opportunities in UK after studies, there have been some changes since 2012, when the Tier 1 visa was scrapped. The Tier 1 visa allowed non-EEA (European Economic Area) graduates unlimited access to the UK labor market and enabled them to seek employment without sponsorship for up to two years, which is now reduced to four months. Tier 1 visa, as part of the work after study in UK program, was meant for students who completed their bachelor’s or master’s degrees from recognized institutions in the UK, a UK Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGDE) or Professional Graduate Diploma of Education (PGDE) or a Higher National Diploma from a Scottish institution. But now there are different visa rules under which a student can take up work after study in UK, which in turn is influencing how students view studying in UK. Students are understandably anxious about after study in UK?

Here we try to answer some of these questions.


Work opportunities after study in UK post Tier 1

Since April 06, 2012, Tier 2 (General) has replaced Tier 1 as the primary route through which non-EEA graduates can seek employment in the UK. Additionally, visa categories were created or changes made to existing ones to accommodate a limited number of non-EEA graduates in the UK so that they can stay back and exploit work opportunities in UK after studies. These include Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme, Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur, Tier 5 Youth Mobility, UK Ancestry, and Tier 5 GAE, in addition to Tier 1. 

But not all of these visas are meant for a student of any single country, as while the UK Ancestry is reserved for members of the Commonwealth countries or whose grandparent is born in the UK, the Tier 5 Youth Mobility is for individuals of nationalities that include Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and New Zealand.

Visa types to apply for post-study work in UK:

 Visa Type


Sponsorship requirement

Maximum duration

Switching from Tier 4 inside the UK

What do I need to qualify?

Are dependents allowed?

 Tier 4 Doctorate

Extension Scheme

For students who have nearly completed their PhD and want to remain in the UK for a further 12 months to work, look for work or set up a business

Need sponsorship from the university

12 months from course completion date

 Yes (but students can apply only from inside the UK)

A CAS from the university.


Tier 2 (General)

The primary route for working in UK. This visa is granted for a specific job and employer

Yes, from the Tier 2 licensed employer

5 years


Job offer from Tier 2 sponsor


Tier 1 Graduate


A scheme for graduates who have genuine and pragmatic business ideas

No (instead need endorsement from the university or UK Trade Center and Investment)


12 months with the scope of renewal for an additional 12 months


Investment of £200,000 or £50,000


Tier 5 Temporary Worker

Short time visa for work experience or to do training


Up to 2 years


Tier 5 sponsor


Pathway to full-time employment in UK: Tier 2 (General)

If you want full-time employment, Tier 2 General visa is the route. Using this visa, you can stay in the UK for up to five years. But bear in mind while applying for this visa to secure a job, as the visa is granted only to individuals who already have a job offer. Once you have completed the permitted five years under this visa, you have the option of applying for permanent citizenship of the UK or else decide to extend the visa by another year. When it comes to working outside your job/venture, you are permitted to do so under some conditions. For students looking for work after study in UK, Tier 2 visa is easily the best bet.

Considering the benefits and flexibility of Tier 2 (General) visa, it is not surprising that many want to switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2 (General). The important conditions for the switch include:

-          A bachelor’s degree from the UK

-          A master’s degree from the UK

-          A post graduate certification in education

-          A professional graduate diploma of education

Students need to understand that it is not just Tier 4 that allows you to switch to Tier 2 (General), but there are a few others as well.

Eligibility criteria for Tier 2(General): The normal salary cap for applying for the Tier 2 (General) visa is £20,800 (pre-tax). In addition, students need to give proof of English language proficiency, which can be met with a degree-level qualification from any recognized UK university. In fact, international students are required to produce IELTS/TOEFL scores at the time of admission as proof of their English proficiency at all the popular universities in the UK. Thus a degree from such a university is tantamount to your English language proficiency.

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur: Another route to exploit work opportunities after study in UK

If you are fresh graduate or post-graduate researcher, and have genuine and pragmatic business ideas, the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa will allow you to stay in the UK for one year enabling you to take advantage of the work opportunities in the UK. However, this visa cannot be used for the purpose of development or property management. If you are applying for the visa from inside the UK, you need to submit proof of £945 in savings in your bank account for 90 days before you apply. In case you are applying from outside the UK, the minimum amount in your account should be £1,890. Like Tier 2, proof of English language proficiency is also needed.

The new immigration policies that came into force in 2012 also require international students from non-EEA countries to pay to use the NHS, which is a sort of health insurance for students. The current fee is £150 per student, per year of the visa. There is an additional £75, which should be paid for part years of less than six months. You have to take into account all these factors when you decide to go to the UK for higher studies, along with work opportunities after study in UK.        


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More like United Kingdom

Questions related to United Kingdom

Showing 3 out of 3 Questions

is it hard to get into top universities with marks around 80s in ug and will I be eligilble for scholarships?

Masira 16th Dec, 2019

The cutoffs of the top universities will be an important consideration when you think about admissions. Scoring 80's will help you get around 80% and it seems like a good score and will be able to help you get into good university. However, it purely depends on what is the cutoff of a particular university. The same goes for the scholarships. There are universities that will be providing scholarships bases on merits and you can check on the site of the college before applying to see what are their scholarship providing criteria. If you have a particular university or college in mind go through their official website to find relevant information that will help you make better decisions.

Hope this helps.

What university would be best to do psychology in United Kingdom and also with scholarship and would accept 6 months fees

Vishwaksen Gouda Student Expert 5th Oct, 2019

Hello Varun Marwah,

Here are the best universities to study the psychology where your study related to your practical work

Here it is

1. University of Oxford. of St Andrews.

3. University of Bath.

4.University of Cambridge.

5.UniversityCollege London.


7.u niversity of York.

all. The best


Is it easy to get permanent residence in UK or we should return back after completion of study post work visa.....

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 25th Sep, 2019
Dear Vinay, obtaining a permanent residency in UK is quite a lengthy process usually. Now UK has extended the stay for Indian Students post their studies by 2 years. Which means, even if you complete your studies, you can extend your stay by 2 more years.  It depends on the route you are applying through. The following visas require this time to apply for Indefinite leave to remain:

Marriage or unmarried partner to UK citizen: 2 years

Lawful stay on any basis which is a long stay: 10 years

Unlawful stay: 14 years

Tier 1 and Tier 2 work permit: 5 years

Investor, sportsperson, business owner, arts: 5 years

Ancestry: 5 years

If you manage to get a good paid job you can get permanent residency under work permit within 5 years.
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