Working in the UK after your studies
Many international students want to stay in the UK and work after they have finished their studies. Although the Tier 1: Post Study Work route closed on 5 April 2012, the government has amended the immigration rules to allow some recent graduates, who meet certain conditions, to remain in the UK under Tier 2 (General) of the Points Based System, as well as introducing some new schemes aimed at entrepreneurs and PhD graduates.
As well as Tier 2 there are other categories that will allow you to stay in the UK to work such as Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur), Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) or Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange). Postgraduate Doctors and Dentists in Training must obtain a new Tier 4 visa and the UKFPO (UK Foundation Programme Office) will act as their Tier 4 Sponsor. PhD students nearing the end of their studies can apply to stay in the UK for one year under the Doctorate Extension Scheme.
Starting work at the end of your studies
After you have finished your studies, (after the official end date of your course) your Tier 4 visa should allow you to work full time, if you wish to, for up to four months, or until your visa expires, whichever is sooner. Please note this does not include Postgraduate Doctors or Dentists in training who currently hold a Tier 4 visa for King's College London.
During this time you are still tied to the conditions of your student leave, which means that you are not allowed to be self-employed, take up a permanent job or work as a professional sportsperson or entertainer. The UKBA has confirmed that, provided you submit a valid visa application before your leave expires, you are allowed to continue working until your application is decided, but again, you will still be tied to your Tier 4 student visa conditions.
If you are in the UK studying a course lasting for more than 12 months you should have been granted a visa for the length of your course plus four months. If you think your visa length is wrong, contact a Student Adviser. This should give you time to obtain your results and prepare an application if you are staying in the UK. However, if you wish to apply under Tier 2 you will need to have an offer of sponsorship from a registered employer before your visa expires.
Recent Rule Changes
Stating that the UK government is committed to encouraging the brightest minds to come to study in Britain, The Home Secretary Theresa May announced that, from April 2013, all PhD students will be allowed to stay in the UK for 12 months following the completion of their studies in order to find skilled work or set up as entrepreneurs.
In addition, there will be a further 1,000 visa places available each year for MBA graduates who want to stay in Britain and set up their own businesses under graduate entrepreneur visa.