Working in the UK after your studies
We can currently advise about all post-study work visa options, up to the point of job offer, and additionally can support applications for the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) visa. Please note that the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) will no longer run from 1 July 2021.
In September 2019 the UK government announced plans to reintroduce a general post-study work visa called the Graduate Route, this will open 09.00 on 1st July 2021. For more information, please visit the Graduate Route page.
Start-up is a 2 year visa for those who want to set up a business in the UK and whose business venture meets the requirements of innovation, viability and scalability and have secured endorsement from an endorsing body. Please see the UKVI website and the immigration rules for further details.
The University is no longer offering new endorsements for Start Up. However, the Basecamp Enterprise Team in the Careers Service can support you in developing your ideas, improving your entrepreneurial skills and refining your business models.
Requirements of Start-up are:
- 70 points as set out in the Immigration Rules
- A valid passport
- You must not have previously established a business in the UK unless you are switching from Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) or Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES)
- You must not have previously had 2 years’ leave in Start-up and/or Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visas
- You must have a signed endorsement letter from an endorsing body
- If you are applying for either entry clearance or have been in the UK for less than 12 months at the point you apply, you will be required to show that you have £1,270 available funds for the 28 day period before your application. For dependants requirements see the UKVI website.
- If applicable, you must have a police registration certificate. This must be up to date.
- If you are applying from overseas, you may require a TB test certificate
- If you have received sponsorship from your government or an international scholarship agency in the 12 months before you apply for Start-up, you will require a letter of consent from them to confirm they agree to you making the Start-up application and to you remaining in the UK
Some facts about Start-up visa:
- Tier 4 students switching into this category may have already begun setting up their business, but should not have commenced trading
- Applicants do not need to demonstrate funds to invest in their business
Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) visa
Please see Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) visa information (PDF, 134kB) for details.
The Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) gives students who have almost finished their PhD an additional 12 months of immigration permission to remain in the UK to look for work. You must have a current Student visa to participate in the scheme, and you can only apply from inside the UK. You must also obtain a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) from the University of Bristol. Please note that the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) will no longer run from 1 July 2021.
If your PhD has already been awarded at the Examinations Board, you will not be eligible to apply for the Doctorate Extension Scheme.
Skilled Worker visa
The Skilled Worker route has replaced Tier 2. Please see the UKVI website for full details regarding Skilled Worker.
Youth Mobility Scheme visa (T5)
A student can apply for a Youth Mobility Scheme visa (T5) if they want to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years.
This scheme is available for Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Monaco, Taiwan, Republic of Korea, San Marino and Hong Kong. Each has a certain quota with exception for British Overseas Territories Citizens or British Nationals (Overseas) who have no limited quota.
Requirements of Youth Mobility Scheme visa (T5) are:
- A valid passport
- Aged between 18 and 30
- £2530 held in the bank account for 28 consecutive days before you apply for the visa
- No children under age of 18 where the applicant is living with them or financially responsible for them
- The applicant has not previously spent time in the UK under Youth Mobility Scheme visa (T5)
- Tuberculosis test results may be required.
Some facts about Youth Mobility Scheme visa (T5):
- It is not possible to switch into this visa category in the UK from Student visa or switch to another route at the end of this visa
- The earliest a student can apply for this visa is 6 months before they travel
- It costs £244 to apply, plus £600 for Immigration Health Surcharge
- The applicant can enter the UK at any time while their visa is valid, and leave and come back at any time during their stay
- The applicant can study (but they may need ATAS for some courses)
- The applicant can work in most jobs
- The applicant can be self-employed and set up a company (restrictions apply)
- The applicant cannot work as a professional sportsperson (for example as a coach), doctor or dentist in training - unless they can show they are qualified for these jobs in the UK
- The applicant can not extend their stay on this visa
- The applicant can not access public funds
- The applicant can not bring in family members on their application - they must apply separately.
Government Authorised Exchange visa (T5)
- a Government Authorised Exchange visa (T5) sponsor which can be an organisation running an approved exchange scheme
- a higher education institution (for example, if you are a sponsored researcher, visiting academic or examiner, University can sponsor you)
- a government department or agency.
A full list of schemes can be found in Appendix N of Immigration Rules.
Eligibility criteria are:
- Meeting the requirements of an individual scheme
- Receiving a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS)
- Maintenance funds of £1270 in applicant's bank account for 28 consecutive days before they apply for their visa (exception is when applicant's sponsor has stated on their COS that they will certify the maintenance)
- Tuberculosis test results if an applicant is from a country where they must take the test
- Role at minimum RQF/NQF 3
- Must not be a permanent employee.
Some facts about this visa:
- Switching from Student to Government Authorised Exchange visa (T5) is possible in the UK while an applicant still has a valid Student visa, has obtained a degree in the UK or studying towards one and they meet the requirements of an individual scheme as well they are applying for work experience which is related to their studies
- It is possible to apply 3 months before the date an applicant is due to start work
- It costs £244 to apply in the UK or overseas
- There is IHS charge of £400 per year
- The applicant can study but may need ATAS for some courses
- The applicant can work in the job described in their COS
- The applicant can do a second job for up to 20 hours per week
- The applicant can do a job on the Skilled Worker shortage occupation list for up to 20 hours per week as well as their main job
- The applicant can switch into Global Talent visa in the UK if they are in the government authorised exchange scheme for sponsored researchers and whilst their Government Authorised Exchange visa (T5) is still valid
- The applicant can bring family members with them.
- The applicant can not take a permanent job,
- The applicant can not access get public funds (benefits, child benefits etc)
- The applicant can not switch from Government Authorised Exchange visa (T5) into Skilled Worker in the UK (exception – professional sportsperson).
Please visit the Graduate Route page for more information.
Innovator Visa, Investor Visa and Global Talent Visa
- innovative – the applicant has a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and creates competitive advantage
- viable – the applicant has the necessary skills and knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business
- scalable – there is evidence of structured planning and a potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets
- must have an endorsement letter – the University is not an endorser for this visa, please see the following link for endorsing bodies
- must meet the English language requirement (B2)
- must be at least 18 years old
- must have at least £50,000 in investment funds (with couple of exceptions)
- needs £945 in their bank account for 90 consecutive days before they apply.
It is possible to form a team with other Innovator applicants, but an applicant cannot share the same investment funds. The team must have £50,000 for each Innovator applicant.
Investor Visa route is aimed at applicants who want to invest £2,000,000 or more in the UK and meet other eligibility criteria. Funds must be in control of / available to the applicant and from a legitimate source. There are no English language or maintenance requirements for this visa route. More information on this route can be found here.
Global Talent route has replaced Exceptional Talent route from 20 February 2020. An applicant can apply for this visa if they work in a qualifying field and have been endorsed by one of the endorsing bodies. An applicant has to be endorsed as:
- a recognised leader (exceptional talent)
- an emerging leader (exceptional promise)
- under the UK Research and Innovation endorsed funder option
Find out if the field you work in qualifies.
The applicant must also be from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.
The Careers Service offers help and advice about working in the UK. We recommend that you start planning early if you wish to work in the UK after your studies.