Working in the UK after your studies

Many students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) would like to secure employment in the UK after graduation. There are currently a number of immigration routes that may be applicable to some of our international graduates.  They are:


Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

You can apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa if you’ve been endorsed in your field of the arts as:

  • a recognised leader (exceptional talent)
  • an emerging leader (exceptional promise)

You must also be from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. For more information please see the Home Office website.


Tier 2 (general)

In order to apply under Tier 2 (General), you must meet all the following requirements:

  • your employer must have a Tier 2 sponsor licence
  • your job must have a particular skills level
  • there is a minimum wage level of £20,800 (£20,500 if your certificate of sponsorship was issued before 6 April 2015), though this depends on the job and can be higher
  • usually, the job must have been advertised as required by the Home Office, but most Tier 4 students who have graduated recently are exempt from this advertising requirement (resident labour market test)
  • you have to prove that you have English language skills, which you meet if you have a UK degree, and meet maintenance requirements
  • if you want to, or must apply outside the UK, or if you apply in the UK and you have immigration permission as a Tier 4 partner, your job must score a minimum number of points.
  • if you want to make your immigration application in the UK, you must meet certain additional requirements.

For further information, read the Tier 2 Policy Guidance.


Doctorate Extension Scheme

This scheme is designed to give students who have almost finished their UK PhD or other doctorate qualification an additional 12 months of Tier 4 (General) immigration permission in which to look for and start work in the UK.  Further information is available via UKCISA.

Other immigration routes

For details of the other immigration routes currently available to some graduates please see the UKCISA website.

If you have questions about UK tax, national insurance, business records or expenses, HM Revenue and Customs provides a free e-learning course to assist you.