Working in the UK after studies
This section offers some information on working in the UK after studies.
Tier 4 (General) and Student visas
You can work more than 20 hours per week (e.g. "full time") on your Tier 4 or Student visa until your visa expiry date where:
- you have completed your course (all parts of your programme, including submission of final dissertation/project), and
- where the course end date on the CAS you used to apply for your current Tier 4 or Student visa has passed.
Evidence of your course end date for employers: You can request a Certifying Letter for Former Students from the Student Service Enquiry Team.
Please see the information under the sub heading "Work Conditions" in the Student Guidance and Appendix Student in the Immigration Rules (ST26.1 - ST26.8) for details of the work conditions for Tier 4 and Student visas. For example, self-employment is not permitted on a Tier 4 or Student Visa. You cannot undertake a "permanent" job (i.e. employment with no end date).
If you will apply to switch from a Tier 4 or Student visa into a UK work visa (e.g. Graduate or Skilled Worker) please check the UKVI's information to see if any additional work conditions would result from making an in-time visa application for that visa route. UKCISA discuss this on their "Work when you are no longer studying" webpages here.
Useful links and resources
UKCISA information on working during studies
UKVI's Student Guidance and Immigration Rules (Appendix Student) - these online documents list the work conditions and restrictions for Tier 4 and Student visa holders.
Graduate Visa holders are able to work flexibly, switch jobs and develop their career as required. When your Graduate Visa is issued you can do any work, either employed or self-employed, except working as a professional sportsperson or coach. You can take work at any level of salary or skill. The successful completion of your course must have been reported to UKVI (by the Immigration Compliance Team) for your Graduate Visa application to be successful. You can only apply for a Graduate Visa in the UK.
Eligibility to Apply:
To be eligible to apply for a Graduate Visa 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 such as UoG) at the time of making the Graduate Visa application
- successfully completed a relevant course of study - for example a UK undergraduate degree or a UK postgraduate degree. You must be awarded the qualification stated on the CAS used to apply for your current Tier 4 or Student Visa to have successfully completed your course (except where you were allowed to change course without first applying for a new visa, and, you successfully completed the course you changed to)
- studied in the UK for either:
- at least 12 months, if your course’s total length is more than 12 months
- the total length of your course, if its total length is shorter than 12 months
See 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 concessions for study undertaken outside the UK due to Covid-19 in relation to Graduate Route eligibility.
- UKVI have confirmed that students undertaking a Masters at UoG where some modules for the course are undertaken outside the UK can also apply for the Graduate Visa.
Please note: you will not be eligible to apply for the Graduate Visa where:
- you have previously been granted a Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme visa, or
- you are not awarded the qualification for the course stated on the CAS used to apply for your Student or Tier 4 visa (e.g. if you are awarded a PG Diploma instead of a Masters or Undergraduate degree).
Can I have dependants under the Graduate Route?
Only dependants who are already in the UK as a Tier 4 (General) Dependant or a Student Dependant can apply to be a Graduate Route Dependant. Dependants must apply at the same time that the student applies for their Graduate Visa.
Please note: If an applicant has, in the 12 months before the date of application, been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship by a Government or international sponsorship agency, covering both course fees and living costs for study in the UK (for example a Chevening or Marshall scholarship), UKVI say it is a validation requirement that they must provide written consent from the financial sponsor to a further application for permission to stay in the UK as a Graduate dependant.
When and how to apply:
You can submit the online Graduate Visa application form:
- when you have successfully completed your course (you will receive an e-mail from the Immigration Compliance Team at Registry confirming that they have reported the successful completion of your course to UKVI), and
- on or before your current Tier 4 (General) or Student visa expiry date
Please note: You need to submit the online visa application form on or before your current visa expiry date to make an “in-time” visa application. When you make an “in-time” visa application, you can stay in the UK legally under the conditions of your current visa while you wait for a decision, even if your current visa expires while you wait.
- complete and submit the online Graduate Visa application form
- pay the visa application fee and Immigration Healthcare Surcharge
- upload documents for the visa application if asked to do so
- attend a UKVCAS appointment to give your Biometric details (if you do not use the IDV app)
- Wait for your application decision from UKVI
Please note: You may be asked to download and use the IDV app. When you use the IDV app your Biometrics given for your last UK visa application will be re-used. If you cannot use the IDV app as your phone is not compatible or you do not have a Biometric passport, select the link option in blue on the screen saying "I do not have a phone that can use the app". Where you are not asked to use the IDV app or indicate you cannot use the IDV app, you will need to attend a UKVCAS centre to give your Biometrics instead.
UKVI say that if you leave the Common Travel Area after making a Graduate Visa application and before receiving the application decision that they will withdraw your visa application. Please therefore do not leave the Common Travel Area until you have received your visa application decision and new visa from UKVI.
Documents and information required:
You will enter the CAS number that you used to apply for your current Student or Tier 4 (General) visa onto the online application form.
- Where you have not used the IDV app you will be asked to upload copies of your passport ID page and your current visa (e.g. BRP).
- If an applicant has, in the 12 months before the date of application, been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship by a Government or international scholarship agency, covering both course fees and living costs for study in the UK (for example a Chevening or Marshall scholarship), UKVI say it is a validation requirement that they must provide written consent from the financial sponsor to the application for permission to stay in the UK on a Graduate Visa.
Please note: Where details of the scholarship / sponsorship are stated on the CAS you used to apply for your current Student Visa, UKVI say you do not need a letter of consent from the scholarship provider / UoG. Additionally, if you received a scholarship or official financial sponsorship that only paid towards tuition fees, or living costs (but not both), you will not need a consent letter from the scholarship provider.
ISS "Graduate Visa Guide"
Please read our Graduate Visa Guide where we discuss applying for a Graduate Visa and address some commonly asked questions.
Once you have submitted a Graduate Visa application...
Wait for a decision e-mail from UKVI: Once a decision has been made on your visa application you will receive a decision e-mail from UKVI. The decision e-mail will confirm the outcome of your visa application. It will also state if you have been granted a digital visa status (and how to access your share code if so). If you are not granted a digital visa status you will be issued with a BRP. You can expect to receive your BRP usually within 7-10 working days after receiving the decision e-mail. This is posted by courier to your address in the UK that you entered onto your visa application form.
If you change your UK address: See the UKVI webpages explaining the two options to notify UKVI of the address change - you should tell them about this as soon as possible:
- report a change of address online, or
- fill in the change of circumstances form and send it to the address on the form
Useful links and resources:
UKCISA information on the Graduate Route
Immigration Rules: Appendix Graduate
Immigration Rules: Appendix Student
UKVI's Identity Verification (IDV) app - Information Sheet
UKVI's Identity Verification (IDV) app - Video Guide
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
Please note: The Start-up route is scheduled to close on 13 July 2023. Applicants will only be able to apply under the route with a valid endorsement that is issued before 13 April 2023. If you have been issued with an endorsement you must submit the Start-Up visa application form online before 13th July 2023.
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.
Eligibility to Apply
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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
To apply for the Start-Up visa you will need to:
- use the endorsement provided by the Immigration Compliance Team at Registry, and
- agree to a monitoring programme with Student Enterprise (designed to help you develop and grow the business) on successful application to the Start-up visa route
When and how to apply
Whether applying inside the UK or outside the UK you must submit the online visa application form within 3 months of the date your ednorsement letter states it was issued.
- When applying inside the UK you must submit the in UK Start-Up visa application form (you must submit this on or before your current visa expiry date).
- If you are applying outside the UK you will need to submit the outside UK Start-Up visa application form.
You will be required to:
- complete and submit the online Start-Up visa application form
- pay the visa application fee and Immigration Healthcare Surcharge
- use the IDV app where you have previously applied for a visa in the UK, or, upload your visa application documents and book a biometrics appointment at a UKVCAS centre (via the UKVCAS website)
ISS "Start-Up Visa Guide":
Please read our Start-Up Visa Guide - this should answer most or all of your questions.
Can I have dependants under the Start-Up visa?:
You can apply to have your partner and your children as your Start-Up Dependants. The UKVI webpages confirm who is eligible to be your Dependant and how to apply. Your Dependants would apply at the same time as you.
Useful links and resources:
UKVI Start-up visa information
Appendix Start-up (Immigration Rules)
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, and a "certificate of sponsorship" from that employer to use to make a Skilled Worker visa application. The job must meet the UKVI's minimum salary requirements and minimum skill level requirements - these are discussed on the UKVI's webpages and in the Immigration Rules.
Please note: International Student Support can only offer general information and guidance about the Skilled Worker visa and cannot offer advice or a visa application check. The employer sponsoring you under the Skilled Wroker visa route should be able to asssist you with your application queries.
Useful links and resources
UKVI Skilled Worker visa information
Immigration Rules: Appendix Skilled Worker
Register of licensed sponsors: Workers
Other visa categories
UKCISA have a useful summary of other work after study immigration options. Please note that International Student Support can only offer general information and guidance about these other visa categories and cannot offer advice or a visa application check.
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.
- 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.