Some international students would like to work in the UK after they have finished their studies. The information provided here is aimed at Tier 4 visa holders studying full time. The Immigration Rules do change regularly, so please refer to UKCISA and/or contact the Visa & International Student Advice team directly for the most up-to-date information, or if you have further questions.
Generally, if you are in the UK studying on a full time course lasting for more than 12 months, after you have finished your studies (after the official end date of your course that was listed on your CAS), your Tier 4 visa should allow you to work full-time for up to four months. The only exception to this is if you are a PhD student – you can only begin to work full-time once your PhD has been awarded. Due to the elastic nature of studying a PhD, the award date of your PhD may well end up being different to the course end date that was stated on your original CAS. For more information about PhD award dates, please refer to the Tier 4 (Doctorate Extension Scheme) section.
During this end period of your Tier 4 visa, 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. UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) 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.
The Start-up visa, Tier 2 General, Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme and Tier 5 visas are the major routes international students can consider for work after studies. The extra time (mostly 4 months) granted to your Tier 4 visa after your study programme should give you time to obtain your results and prepare a new visa application under one of the categories mentioned above.
If you are here on a Tier 4 part time study visa, then you will not be able to switch visa categories in the UK. If you are interested in applying for another visa, you will need to make your application from outside of the UK.