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A Quick Guide to Post-Study Work Visas in the UK

21st May 2014 Posted by: Student World Online

THE UK remains one of the world's strongest economies and provides some of the best employment opportunties for graduates across the globe. Last year, 87% of all university graduates in the UK found employment within six months of finishing their degree and international students with good english skills are highly desirable.

But what happens when your degree comes to an end? What requirements do you need to meet in order to start your career in Britain? There are several different visa options for migrants wanting to work in the UK and we're going to explain some of the schemes that could be the most useful for you!

General | Graduate Entrepreneur | Temporary Worker

Tier 2 (General)

This is the most common form of visa for an international graduate from outside of the EU. You'll be granted a Tier 2 visa if you've been offered a skilled job that pays in excess of £20,300 per year. You'll need to have passed an approved English language test and have a Certificate of Sponsorship, which is information that your employer will pass on to immigration control. An application can cost between £518 - £1028, depending on your terms of employment, and will grant you stay in the UK for a maximum of 5 years.

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

Each year, up to 1900 graduates who have been awarded a degree in the UK can apply for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa, which would allow them to set up a prospective business in the UK. Your idea would need to be endorsed either by the university or college and the application can cost as low as £310. The visa allows you to base you and your start-up in the UK for an initial period of one year with an optional 12-month extension.

The Sirius Programme, which we documented earlier this year, is a partner in delivering the Tier 1 (graduate entrepeneur) visa for graduates who obtained a degree outside of the UK.

Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) or Tier 2

If you require real-world work experience or industry training before you can get a job in a highly-skilled profession - i.e. surgeon, lawyer, architect - this is obtainable under a Tier 5 or Tier 2 visa. A Tier 5 visa will allow you to gain work in a specific field for a period of one year. Once again, you'll need a Certificate of Sponsorship from an employer or trainer, and an approved English language certificate. However, many university courses will include an industry placement that enables you to get some work experience, which will all come in under your existing Tier 4 student visa. 

For more information on work visas in the UK, visit the Home Office website or the UK Council for International Student Affairs.


Photography: Slideshow image: British Council's Great Campaign


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