Working after your studies

Most students have immigration permission that extends beyond the end of their studies. You can work full time during this extra period once you have completed your course. Course completion is normally the end date on your Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS)).

The student policy team at UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) have confirmed that it counts the period after your course has ended and before your immigration permission expires as 'vacation'.

Finishing your course early

If you finish your course early, UWE Bristol has a legal obligation to report this to UKVI.

If you have more than 60 days' permission from when you report that you've finished your course, UKVI will contact you to let you know that your immigration permission will be cut short (curtailed). Permission is usually curtailed to the new end date plus the additional period you were originally granted, for example two or four months after the new end date.

You can work full time between the new end date of your course and the new expiry date of your immigration permission. Employers will need to see confirmation from UWE Bristol if you complete your course early.


Applying to stay in the UK to work

The Home Office has confirmed that the Graduate Immigration Route will be launched on 1 July 2021. 

Who can apply?

You can apply if:

  • you are in the UK
  • you have a current Tier 4 or Student visa
  • you have successfully completed the course at degree level or higher for which your last visa was issued (or to which you were allowed to transfer)

UWE Bristol will notify UK Visas & Immigration of successful completion if applicable.

Please be aware that you are required to have completed a proportion of your course inside the UK, but that concessions apply if you were absent due to coronavirus. Please check paragraphs GR 6.1 – 6.3 of the Statement of Changes HC1248 for full details.

I am overseas and completing my course by distance learning – can I apply?

No. You must apply in the UK. If you are undertaking distance learning outside the UK and you wish to apply, you may have to re-enter the UK on or before 21 June 2021. Check paragraphs GR 6.1 – 6.3 of the Statement of Changes HC1248 for full details.

My course was not a degree – can I apply?

In addition to degrees at undergraduate or postgraduate level, you can apply if you have completed a relevant qualification, including a law conversion, legal practice or Bar training course or a PGCE. A full list of relevant qualifications appears at GR 5.2 of the Statement of Changes HC1248.

How do I apply, and how much will it cost?

You must apply online on or after 1 July 2021 but before your Tier 4 or Student visa expires. The Immigration Advice Service will provide a link to the form once it goes live.

The application fee is £700. In addition, you must pay the Immigration Health Surcharge of £624 for every year of permission you are seeking. For most applicants this will be £1,248, making a total of £1,948 (but higher for those who have completed a PhD).

Which other qualifying criteria must I meet?

There is no funds requirement – i.e. you do not have to submit evidence of your ability to meet living costs, such as bank statements.

If you have received official financial sponsorship (e.g. from a government, or international scholarship agency) covering tuition fees and living costs in the 12 months before application, you must provide the written consent of that sponsor to your application.

What will my new visa allow me to do?

The Graduate Immigration Route allows you to stay in the UK for two years (or for three years if you are applying having completed a PhD). You do not require a sponsor (such as a university or employer), but UWE Bristol must confirm that you have passed your qualification. 

You will be able to work with relatively few restrictions, but you must not be employed as a professional sportsperson. Self-employment and voluntary work are permitted.

You will not be able to extend this visa, but you are allowed to ‘switch’ into other types of work visa such as the Skilled Worker route.

Study is restricted. You are not allowed to follow a course with a sponsor (such as UWE Bristol) for which a Student visa would normally be required. This means that only recreational or informal courses are allowed.

Can I bring my family?

Dependants who are already present in the UK as your dependant (or who were born to you in the UK) can apply for permission to remain with you. If you have dependants, please read paragraphs GR 9.1 to 15.2 of the Statement of Changes HC1248 and contact the Immigration Advice Service if you have any questions.

A useful source of information is the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website, which will be kept up to date with developments.




Other types of post-study work

If at the end of your course you apply to stay in the UK under another work route, for example a Skilled Worker visa, you can work full time until your work application is decided.

You must not take work that is in breach of your student conditions. For example, you must not fill a permanent vacancy or take work as a professional sportsperson or entertainer. However, if you have a Student/Tier 4 visa, and you have completed a course at UWE Bristol, the Immigration Rules allow you to start your Skilled Worker job after you have applied for Skilled Worker permission and before the Home Office makes a decision on that application, even if the job is a permanent vacancy.

If you have applied for a Start-up visa, you can't start your business before you receive a decision from the Home Office on your application.

If you have applied for further Student permission under the doctorate extension scheme, you can:

  • undertake a permanent full-time job
  • be self-employed
  • work as an entertainer before you receive a decision on your application as long as UWE Bristol has confirmed to you that you have completed and passed your doctorate.

Please check our doctorate extension scheme guidance for further information on how to choose this route. 

Please check our doctorate extension scheme guidance for further information on how to choose this route. The Immigration Advice Service is happy to take your enquiries about post-study work, including the Graduate, Skilled Worker and Start-up routes. You will also find the relevant UKCISA page a useful resource.