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 – Graduate Immigration Route

The Graduate Immigration Route was 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).

Note that some courses of 12 months or shorter which are partially completed overseas may not be eligible. Please contact us if you are in any doubt.

UWE Bristol will notify UK Visas & Immigration of successful completion if applicable, you must not submit an application for a Graduate Visa until you have received an email confirming that this notification has been made.

Graduates with a debt to UWE Bristol will not be reported as eligible.

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 Appendix Graduate for full details.

If your course was not a degree

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 Appendix Graduate.

How to apply and costs

You must apply online before your Tier 4 or Student visa expires. The Immigration Advice Service will provide a link to the form once you are eligible.

Please be aware that you will be granted two years' permission from the decision date. If there is any overlap of your Graduate Route visa with your current permission, you will not be able to claim it back.

The application fee is £822. In addition, you must pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) of £1,035 for every year of permission you are seeking. For most applicants this will be £2,070, making a total of £2,892. PhD alumni will have to pay an additional year's IHS, bringing the total to £3,927. 

Other qualifying criteria

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 (for example, 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 the visa allows

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.

Once you have completed your studies, your local authority will no longer consider you a student and you will not be eligible for council tax exemption.

Bringing 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 Appendix Graduate 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.

Graduate careers and money advice

The University provides careers and business support for graduates.


Whether you’re a recent UWE Bristol graduate or a long-standing member of our alumni community, we can support you to find a new job, progress in your role, change career, or launch a new business.

Our UWE Bristol graduates can access our online services for life and use our career coaching service for two years after graduation.

View the full range of alumni services for career development and business support.

How to get the graduate job you want

Our free webinar series gives you the knowledge and skills to prepare for and find a graduate job in the UK. As well as understanding what UK businesses are looking for in international students, we’ll show you how to build your network on LinkedIn and you’ll discover how studying a postgraduate course at UWE Bristol will help you get ahead in the UK job market.

Money advice

For a limited time, we are offering alumni free access to the Blackbullion site. You can use your existing account for up to a year after you graduate, if you have not already registered then you can do so below. You will be able to access the full package of resources from simple budgeting tips to breaking down student loan repayments. There’s advice about funding for postgraduate study, tax, investments, and even getting on the housing ladder.

When you register for Blackbullion as an alumni, your data will be processed in line with our alumni privacy notice and Blackbullion’s privacy notice.

We will capture basic engagement data (such as registrations and logins) in order to help us enhance and improve our services to alumni. Under no circumstances will we access or process your financial information.

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. 

The Immigration Advice Service is happy to take your enquiries about post-study work, including the Graduate and Skilled Worker routes. You will also find the relevant UKCISA page a useful resource.