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Working in the UK after your studies

Here's what you need to know if you're planning to work in the UK after you graduate

If you want to work in the UK after you graduate, it's important you research your options and check the regulations of the different types of visa.

Your main options are:

  • Start-Up visa
  • Skilled Worker route
  • Doctorate Extension Scheme visa
  • Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa
  • Tier 5 Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange visa
  • Graduate Immigration Route 'Post-Study Work visa'

Start-Up visa

If you're currently on a Tier 4 or Student visa and you have a viable, genuine and credible business idea that you want to put into practice in the UK, you could apply for a Start-up visa.

You need to currently hold a Tier 4 or Student visa and begin the application process at least 3 months before your Student visa expires.

As we are one of the endorsing institutions for this visa, you need to be a student or graduate of the University of Portsmouth and you need to be part of our Route to Startup or Social Startupdevelopment programmes. You also need to provide evidence that you meet the maintenance fund requirements.

Find out more by emailing or check the UK Visas and Immigration website.

Skilled Worker route

Further information about this route, which replaces Tier 2 (General) Work Permit, will be available from 1 December 2020.

If you have a Student visa you will qualify for the lower 'new entrant' wage for up to two years after your Student permission expires and the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) will be removed for all applicants.

Further information can be found on the UKCISA website.

Doctorate Extension Scheme visa

If you've almost finished your PhD, you can apply for the Doctorate Extension Scheme visa. This gives you an additional 12 months of leave in which to look for and start work in the UK. If you want to do this, you need to declare your interest by emailing our Department of Student and Academic Administration at

Find out more contact the International Student Advice team at

We understand that this visa will be discontinued when the Graduate Immigration Route starts.

Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa

You can apply for the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa if you're a citizen of Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea or Taiwan. This visa is also open to British citizens overseas and British Nationals overseas.

You need to be aged 18–30 and have £1,890 in savings. You also need to meet other eligibility requirements.

If you're from Hong Kong or the Republic of Korea, you must get a certificate of sponsorship reference number before you apply. This holds information about the job you do and your personal details. It’s not a certificate or paper document.

If you're from Taiwan, you need to register your interest with the National Youth Commission.

Tier 5 Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange visa

If you want to undertake a period of professional training or work experience, you can apply for this scheme. Your initial leave is granted for 12 months, but you can extend this to 24 months. However, you're not allowed to take a permanent job.

You must show that you have £945 or more in your bank account for 90 days at the time of the application and you need a certificate of sponsorship reference number from a UK sponsor.

Graduate Immigration Route 'Post-Study Work visa'

If you are an international student who will graduate in the summer of 2021 or after, you will be eligible for the Graduate Immigration Route, a new 2 year post study graduate visa. If you are studying a PhD level course this visa will be for 3 years. 

You will normally be expected to undertake your course in the UK to be eligible for the Graduate Immigration Route (GIR). However, if you are required to either continue your current course or start a new course at the University of Portsmouth by distance or blended learning due to Covid-19, you will still be eligible to switch into the Graduate route if you have spent some time studying outside the UK.

If your course finishes in summer 2021 or you are studying on a one year Master’s course that started in September 2020 you will need to arrive in the UK before 6 April 2021.

If you start a one-year Master's course in January 2021, you must be in the UK before 27 September 2021.

If your course is longer than one year and does not end in summer 2021, any period of time you have spent studying by distance learning outside the UK will not be held against you in an application under the Graduate Immigration Route. The GIR visa will start from Summer 2021. In all cases, you must have unexpired Student permission when you apply for the Graduate Immigration route visa and you must meet all the requirements.

Further details and updates can be found on the UKVI website.

Further information and advice

Speak with our Careers and Employability Service or an International Student Adviser for further information and advice about these visas.

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