4th May 2020

Working After Studies

This section gives you an overview of your rights to work in the UK after your studies if you have a Tier 4 student visa. It also includes an overview of the main work visa routes, which you may be able to apply for to remain in the UK to work after your studies.

  1. Can I work on my tier 4 visa after completion of study?
  2. Do I need a visa to stay in the UK to work after the end of my tier 4 visa?

If you are a student from the European Economic Area and resident in UK before 31.12.2020 these pages do not apply to you. Find out more about EU Citizens Rights to Work & the impact of Brexit.

In light of Brexit and fact that freedom of movement for EU citizens will end on 31.12.2020, the UK Govt is looking to make significant changes to the UK immigration system. On 19.02.20 the Government released a policy statement on proposed changes to the points based immigration system from January 2021. In particular this statement covers proposals for a reformed points based skilled worker route. In July 2020 they published a further details statement the new points based immigration system which will include study and work visa routes.

Please note the proposed two year post study graduate route has been confirmed and will be introduced from Summer of 2021.

All international students can access post study visa advice from the Student Advice Centre. The visa information pages will be updated as more detailed guidance becomes available about the new visa routes and you should always get up to date advice.

UKCISA also has useful information on working after study.

Can I work on my tier 4 visa after completion of study?

Once you have completed your course and whilst your Tier 4 visa remains valid, the Home Office allows you to work full-time, within the following limits.

  • You cannot fill a full-time permanent vacancy (other than on a recognised Foundation Programme).
  • You cannot be self-employed.
  • You cannot be employed as a doctor/dentist in training (except on a recognised Foundation Programme) or as a professional sportsperson, coach or entertainer.

You are allowed to work unlimited hours once you are considered to have completed your course but not in a permanent graduate level role. Most Tier 4 students will be granted 4 months 'wrap up' time after the end of the course.

From September 2018 Sheffield University will be part of a government pilot scheme and all PGT students applying for Tier 4 (in/out of UK) for a PGT course of 13 months or less should get 6 months wrap up time at the end of the course.

There are different definitions for when you are considered to have completed your course depending on your level of study.

For PhD students, course completion means receiving the official notification of degree award.

For Masters and Undergraduate students, course completion usually means the course end date as stated on your CAS as long as you have completed all required assessment by this date.

(If you complete your course early, the University should report this to UKVI. This could result in your visa being curtailed to 4 months after the new end date, you can continue to work for a maximum of 4 months after the completion of your course or until the end of your student visa, whichever comes soonest)

You must not take a permanent role unless alternative immigration status is obtained e.g. applied for Tier 2 visa and have completed your course.

See UKCISA for further information.

An Employers Guide to Right to Work Checks also confirms your right to work after the course end date until your visa expires and can be useful to refer to, if Employers are unsure about your right to work full time.

Don’t leave your job search too late and seek careers advice to help with you CV & Applications. Visit our page on international employment.

Do I need a visa to stay in the UK to work after the end of my tier 4 visa?

The answer is almost certainly yes. You can view the main work visa routes below. However, you may also be able to stay in the UK, on the basis on a relationship for example with another Tier 4 student or a British Citizen and if so, will have rights to work. Alternatively, you may have been living in the UK continuously for the last 10 years in which case you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain. You should book an appointment to speak to the International Student Adviser, if this applies.

Tier 2 - skilled graduate level full time roles.

Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme - One year post study work visa for PhD students.

Tier 5 - Temporary work visa, internships.

Start-up Visa - Setting up a business in the UK.