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. These plans have not been finalised yet, but there is some information available on this Home Office webpage as well as on the UKCISA Working after Studies webpage. This immigration route will be launched for applications from 09.00 on 1 July 2021. We will update our website with more information when it becomes available.
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.
Switching into Skilled Worker visa
The Skilled Worker route has replaced Tier 2. Please see the UKVI website for full details regarding Skilled Worker.
Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme
A student can apply for a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa 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 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 Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme are:
- A valid passport
- Aged between 18 and 30
- £1890 held in the bank account on the day of application
- 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 Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme
- Tuberculosis test results may be required.
Some facts about Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa:
- It is not possible to switch into this visa category in the UK from Tier 4 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.
Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange (GAE)
- a Tier 5 GAE 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 £945 in applicant's bank account for 90 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 Tier 4 to Tier 5 is possible in the UK while an applicant still has a valid Tier 4 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 Tier 2 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 Tier 5 GAE 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 Tier 5 GAE into Tier 2 in the UK (exception – professional sportsperson).
New proposed post-study ‘Graduate’ route
The new Graduate visa to enable international students to apply for a two year visa, or three years for PhD graduates, to remain in the UK after successfully completing a degree at undergraduate or postgraduate level in any subject area will be introduced at 09.00 on 1 July 2021.
Student absence from the UK due to the pandemic and eligibility for the Graduate route:
- Students will normally be expected to undertake their studies in the UK to be eligible for the Graduate route. However, if students were distance learning overseas between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021, they will still be eligible to switch into the Graduate route on a concessionary basis if they (a) they began their course in 2020 and entered the UK on or before 21 June 2021 and complete that course of study in the UK with permission as a Student; or (b) they began their course in 2021 and entered the UK before 27 September 2021 and complete that course of study in the UK with permission as a Student.
- Any period of distance learning between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021 as part of a course of study lasting longer than 12 months whilst the applicant held permission as a Student, will not prevent the applicant from meeting the requirement to spend the relevant period studying in the UK
It is planned that:
- Applications will be required to be submitted in the UK whilst the applicant holds valid student leave.
- Applications will be able to be submitted after the University has notified the UKVI that the student has successfully completed their course. Please note that the process of notifying the UKVI has not yet been developed as we are waiting for further guidance regarding this from the UKVI. Whilst it may take several months to finalise, please be assured that the University is aware of the requirement and is working hard to design appropriate systems for reporting. Notification would only happen after students have been made successful at an exam board. We will update this information when further information is available.
- Those wholly sponsored (all your tuition fees and maintenance) by a government or international scholarship agency, will need a letter of consent from the sponsor to stay in the UK under this route. Those wholly sponsored by a University, do not require this.
- Eligibility for dependants is restricted to those who are already in the UK as dependants of the student with the exception of babies born in the UK during the Student's last student visa period
- Graduate visa holders will be able to stay and work full or part-time, or look for work, at any skill level for a maximum period of two years in most types of employment and self-employment except as a professional sportsperson and as a doctor or dentist in training.
- This route will not be extendable but visa holders may be able to switch into skilled worker route.
UKCISA for information and links to all UKVI related documents.
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.