The new post study work rights in the UK

Fri 18 Sep 2020

If you’re not sure about post study work rights in the UK, this blog should help to clarify the situation for you.  

There’s great news for international students who wish to stay in the UK after their studies. The rules have recently changed and the UK now offers more opportunities for students to remain in the UK after they have graduated.  

From the summer of 2021, international students who have completed studies at UK universities will be able to stay and work in the UK for two years after they graduate (or three years if they graduate with a Doctorate degree). If this is of interest to you, you can apply through the newly announced Graduate Immigration Route.  

About the Graduate Immigration Route
The Graduate Immigration Route will be available to international students who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a higher education provider, with a track record of compliance and who have a valid Tier 4 visa at the time of application. There are some FAQs about the Graduate Immigration Route here

If you apply and you are successful, you can stay and work or look for work in the UK in any job role for a maximum period of two years. This is really positive if you are keen to continue to improve your English language skills, build up work experience, or add credibility to your CV. 

After the two year period has passed, if you have found a skilled job and you qualify for a skilled work visa, you can switch visas in order to continue your career in the UK.  

And don’t worry if you have been learning online from a distance due to COVID-19, you can still apply through the Graduate Immigration Route if you meet the criteria and you are in the UK by 6 April 2021. 


Your return on investment 

Essentially this is really good news if you wish to stay on in the UK or if you have been concerned about what happens after your studies. It provides you with choices: greater job opportunities, access to UK job vacancies, a bigger pool of expertise and skills to learn from – and it protects your return on investment. Your time in the UK lasts longer, so you get greater value from the money you have spent on your education here.  

You will also meet many more people and grow your list of contacts. This is ideal for future opportunities such as getting a UK-based mentor, getting promoted, business networking – or just making friends!  

It’s great to have choices in challenging financial times and the new post study work rights in the UK give you options – around where to live and where to work.  


Build a life in the UK 

You may feel that during your time studying in the UK you have built a life for yourself, with friends, contacts and familiar places, it could be your home away from home. Rather than tear yourself away from the life you have built in the UK, why not stay on and develop further: professionally, socially and financially? The new post study work rights give you the chance to do just that – you don’t have to fly home any time soon if you don’t want to. 

The UK is also a great place for start-ups and entrepreneurs so if you have a new business idea, it could be well worth staying in the UK to build support and investment and get your company off the ground. 


You’re welcome and valued 

The message from the UK government is clear: if you meet the criteria and you would like to stay on, you are very welcome – and your skills, experience and work in the UK are truly valued.  

These days, nothing is certain but what we can tell you is that in the UK there are now greater opportunities for overseas students. Will you stay?  

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