Working in the UK after studies

This section offers some information on working in the UK after studies.

Graduate Route

This immigration route opened on 1st July 2021.  Undergraduate and Masters degree students who meet the eligibility criteria will be able to apply to stay for 2 years. PhD students who meet the eligibility criteria will be able to apply to stay for 3 years. The below information outlines the key points of the route, based on the details released so far.

The Home Office have confirmed that those who Student permission has expired, but who have a valid exceptional assurance, will be able to switch into the Graduate route. This is confirmed on page 11 of the Graduate route caseworker guidance, published on 1 July 2021. See the full information under "Current immigration status ("visa"), including exceptional assurance" in the linked document.

Eligibility criteria

Please note the below summary of who is eligibile to apply:

  • you will be required to pay a visa application fee (£700 or £645 for CESC nationals)
  • you will be required to pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (£624 per year of permission that you are applying for)
  • you must have a valid Tier 4 or Student Route visa (sponsored by a UK Higher Education Provider (HEP) with a track record of compliance) at the time of application
  • you must have successfully completed a relevant course of study - a UK undergraduate degree or a UK postgraduate degree (see the Statement of Changes for information on other eligible courses of study)
  • you must usually have completed the course of study during your current period of Tier 4 or Student Route permission and it must be the same course for which your CAS was assigned (however see the Statement of Changes for information on changes of course and other exceptions)
  • the route will not have a maintenance requirement
  • the route does not need sponsorship by the university or from an employer
  • you will not be required to demonstrate English language ability as part of the application
  • you must obtain permission to remain in the UK under the Graduate Route if you have received official financial sponsorship from a government for your studies
  • you must have undertaken all study in the UK (however those who complete part of their course overseas as part of a study abroad programme or have studied part of the course outside the UK due to Covid-19 will also be permitted to apply). Please ensure you read paragraphs 3.20-3.27 of the Home Office ‘Covid-19: Guidance for Student sponsors, migrants and Short-term students: Temporary concessions in response to Covid19’ Guidance document for details of dates of entry to the UK in relation to Graduate Route eligibility, depending on your course of study
  • you will be required to meet requirements including passing security, identity and criminality checks

Can I have dependants under the Graduate Route?

The Further Details Statement indicates that dependants who are already in the UK as a Tier 4 Dependant or Student Dependant, can make another Dependant application to be a Graduate Route Dependant.  Dependants must apply at the same time that the student applies under the Graduate Route.

How will I know when the Immigration Compliance Team has reported my successful course completion to UKVI?

The Immigration Compliance Team at Registry will send students a confirmation e-mail to confirm when they have reported successful course completion to UKVI.  

Useful links and resources

UKVI Graduate Visa webpages

Graduate Route online application form

Immigration Rules: Appendix Graduate

Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules HC 1248, 4 March 2021

UK points-based immigration system: Further details statement

UKCISA information on the Graduate Route

Home Office ‘Covid-19: Guidance for Student sponsors, migrants and Short-term students: Temporary concessions in response to Covid19’ Guidance document

Home Office Graduate Route Fact Sheet


Start-up visa

The Start-Up visa route is for those who wish to establish a business in the UK and who have a business plan which has been endorsed by an authorised body approved by the Home Office.  University of Glasgow offer endorsements and business development support for the Start-Up visa route to our current students and graduates. 

To apply to be considered for an endorsement under the Start-up visa route, you will need to:

  • request an appointment to discuss your business proposal with Marion Anderson, Student Enterprise Manager - email studententerprise@glasgow.ac.uk 
  • work closely with Student Enterprise to develop the proposal and formulate a business plan. This will then be assessed and considered by an experienced panel to determine whether UofG will offer a Start-Up endorsement
  • use the endorsement to apply for a Start-Up visa - International Student Support offer advice on preparing your visa application as well as remote 1-1 appointments to review your visa application form and supporting documents before you submit your visa application
  • agree to a monitoring programme, designed to help you develop and grow the business, on successful application to the Start-up visa route

Useful links and resources

UKVI Start-up visa information

Appendix Start-up (Immigration Rules)

UKCISA information


Skilled worker

To apply under the Skilled Worker immigration route, you would need an offer of employment from a UK employer who is on the Register of licensed sponsors to do a specific job. The job must meet minimum salary requirements and must meet minimum skill level requirements.

Useful links and resources

UKVI Skilled Worker visa information

Register of licensed sponsors: workers

UKCISA information


Other categories

UKCISA have a useful summary of other work after study immigration options.


National Insurance Number

A National Insurance (NI) number is a personal number which is used to record your National Insurance contributions. You should apply for a National Insurance number if you have the right to work in the UK and if you’re planning to work in the UK. You can only apply once you are in the UK.

To apply:

  • Read through the eligibility criteria and apply online
  • You will be asked to prove your identity as part of the application process. You will receive an email after you apply telling you how to do this. You may be asked to post photocopies of your documents or to attend an appointment.

Please note that it can take up to 16 weeks, after you prove your identity, to receive your National Insurance number. You can start work without a National Insurance number if you can prove you have the right to work in the UK. Please also note there is no charge to apply for/obtain a National Insurance number.

For full details on the application process, please see the gov.uk webpage.