UK Post Study Work Visa

PSW Visa

The UK Government have announced the creation of a new graduate immigration route also known as a post-study work visa for international students in the UK. Basically, the UK post-study work visa will allow students to remain in the UK for a period of two years and find employment after they finish their studies.

The UK has been an international student hub for some time now, attracting some of the best students from all corners of the world. Now, with this newly announced graduate route, seems like international students will have yet one more reason to pursue a qualification in the UK.

The UK post-study work visa will be available to international students who wish to stay in the UK for two years after they graduate in order to find work. From September 2020, students on a Tier 4 visa who enrol at UK universities can remain in the UK for two years after they finish their studies for as long as they graduate from one of the many higher education providers recognized as licensed visa sponsors. The UK Government has the complete list here.

Although a similar visa policy has been issued before in 2019, which applied to higher-level degree students (Master’s, PhD, STEM fields), the policy has been extended to students of any degree starting 2020. This means that it does not matter what academic discipline you’re studying for as long as it is a full degree (not short-courses, language training courses, Baccalaureate, or A-levels) in ‘licensed visa sponsors’ universities (linked in the above paragraph).

International students who enter the UK in the 2020/2021 academic year (or later) will be eligible to apply for this new visa policy. Students who already have a Tier 4 visa when the post-study visa is launched (summer 2021) may also be able to benefit from it. However, students whose visa expires before the new graduate route is launched will not be eligible to obtain the post-study work visa.

What this means is if you start a one-year Masters beginning in the 2020/2021 academic year (or later), you will be eligible to make use of the post-study work visa. Or, if you have started a three-year degree programme in 2019 and the programme is expected to end in the summer of 2021, you will still be eligible to benefit from the post-study work visa since you will have a Tier 4 visa at the time the new visa policy is launched.

The UK post-study work visa is available for two years during which you can seek employment in the UK. This means that the UK post-study work visa cannot be extended, however, if you do find an appropriate job which meets the requirements of the skilled work route, you can switch into skilled work and remain in the UK.

As this official regulation states, a higher education institution can be labeled as a university under these circumstances:

  • If it gets approved by the Privy Council under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992.
  • If it gets approval under the provisions of the Companies Act 2006.

International students from countries other than the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland must apply for a student visa to study in the UK.

If you are 16 and are a resident of one of the countries mentioned above, you can apply for a Tier 4 visa (General student) —the official student visa in the UK. Before applying for a student visa, ensure you have sufficient money to finance your stay there during your studies. When applying for a visa, the embassy/consulate will most likely ask for proof of enough funds to cover your tuition fees and other expenses.

To obtain the UK post-study work visa, students will be required to submit an application before their Tier 4 visa expires. The application process will be made within the country and it will require a fee. However, the amount of the fee has still not been set out.

Holders of the UK post-study work visa will also be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, just like with other migrant categories.

No, universities are not expected to act as sponsors to graduates on a post-study work visa, after they finish their studies. This means that students are not required to obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to apply for the Graduate Route.

Put simply, the UK post-study work visa is available for international students on a Tier 4 visa. Currently, EU/EEA students in the UK are still being treated as ‘home’ students, meaning they do not need a visa to work in the UK. However, as the outcomes of Brexit unfold, soon even EU students might be required to obtain a visa (Tier 4) to study in the UK. So, for as long as an international student has a Tier 4 visa when the Graduate Route is introduced, that student will be eligible for the UK post-study work visa. So, Brexit will most likely not mean much when it comes to this new visa policy (except for the fact that EU students will have to apply for the visa accordingly, just like non-EU students).

To attract the best and brightest students from all around the world is one of the main reasons why the UK is introducing this Graduate Route. Since, up until now, thousands of international students have found an interest in the higher education sector in the UK, the country wants to ensure they will continue to do so in the future as well. The post-study work visa in the UK for international students is another reason why the UK makes a top study destination. And it is especially perfect for those whose aim is to settle in the UK.

The UK makes a top study destination for international students. It is actually among the most popular countries in the world for education. This country is home to high-quality universities, highly-regarded academic staff, and numerous opportunities to advance. When you think of the UK, the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge probably come to mind. Well, that’s it, now just imagine all the other UK universities with similar expertise. That’s the UK. Getting a degree from of the higher education providers in the UK is an impressive achievement and it will surely let you enter the global job market with the knowledge and skills you need to succeed.


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