Page:Working after studies

Working after studies

Last modified: 04/09/2018

Can I work in the UK after study?

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.  If you are a student from the European Economic Area these pages do not apply to you.

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 this should be reported to UKVI by the University you could have your visa 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 has been obtained e.g. applied for Tier 2. 

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.  However, if you have a relationship either with another Tier 4 student or a British citizen you may be able to stay on the basis of the relationship and will have rights to work.  You should book an appointment to speak to the International Student Adviser if this applies.  Or 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.

What are the main options to remain in the UK to work or set up in business?

If you have a job offer from a Tier 2 sponsor you will be eligible to apply for a Tier 2 visa.

If you are a PhD student you may be able to apply for a 12 month work visa under the Doctorate Extension Scheme.   This will allow you to work and set up in business without needing a sponsor.

If you want to stay in the UK for self employment you will need to qualify under the Graduate Entrepreneur route.

If you want to do a short work placement after your studies of up to 12 months you may be able to apply under Tier 5.  The employer will not need to sponsor you directly.

We have produced a Guide for Employers which you can use to help to explain your rights to work in the UK.

We also recommend that you seek careers advice and visit