Working after study

Updated on 23 August 2023

If you have studied using a Tier 4 / Student visa there are several methods to work in the UK after the end of your course.

On this page

The available options for working after study will depend on your immigration status.

Working in the time remaining on your Tier 4 / student visa after completion of studies

If you have time remaining on your Tier 4 / Student visa when you complete your course, you can work full-time in a temporary job until your student visa expires (as long as it does not exceed 4 months and you don’t take up a permanent position).

If your employer requires evidence of completion of your studies, you can request a letter to prove your right to work from

If you are eligible to remain and work in the UK after you have completed your course,  you must meet the criteria to apply for a visa to remain in the UK before your existing visa expires. 

Graduate route (known as post-study work)

This route is for students with a student visa who will complete a degree within their immigration leave. To be eligible, such students must be in the UK and have successfully completed their course. Undergraduate and Master’s degree students may be eligible to apply for two years and PhD students for three years to seek/take employment. Please read our Guidance.

Skilled worker route (was Tier 2)

If you have received an offer of employment sponsored by a licensed employer to do a specific job that meets the minimum levels of skill and salary, you will be able to apply under this route from the UK or from your home country. A full guide to the skilled worker route is available on the Home Office website.

Those currently studying on a student visa will not be able to transfer to skilled worker visa until they have completed their course. The exception is those who have studied at least 24 months towards a PhD, who will then be eligible to apply to switch to skilled worker visa in the UK whilst studying.

Innovator Founder route (replacing the start-up visa)

This route is aimed at people, including those with Student permission, who wish to establish a business in the UK, and who have a business plan endorsed by one of the Home Office-approved endorsing bodies. Currently there are only 4 endorsing bodies for the Innovator Founder visa. 

Student Union Sabbatical Officers

Those with student visas who have been elected to a full-time post as a student union sabbatical officer during their studies, have permission from the Home Office to take a break from studies to work for 12 months initially and up to 24 months maximum, if elected for a second time. Normally such students can be supported to extend their student visa to return to their course following the sabbatical role or to work in the sabbatical role, if appointed after their studies and before their current leave expires.

For more detailed information and other options for working after your studies, see UKCISA guidance.

For more information on working after your studies, please visit the UKCISA website.


International Advice Service

+44 (0)1382 385676