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Working after your studies

There are a number of options to work in the UK after your studies. The Home Office UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has a tier system for UK visas. Some tiers are specifically for working but tiers designed for other purposes may also allow you to work. Please see the below list for more details on some of these visas. For the full list of work visas, please visit the UKVI website. The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website has also got a section with concise information on UK work visas that you may find useful.

Please note that all employers have a legal obligation to check a job seeker's eligibility to work in the UK. Some employers who do not usually recruit people from outside the EEA may not know whether you are allowed to work or not. However, every employer can check your eligibility to work in the UK by contacting the UKVI Employer and education providers' helpline.

Working in the UK after your studies

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

Bournemouth University is endorsing Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) applications. Only BU graduates are considered for endorsements. Send your detailed business plan together with a personal statement to Clive Allen at callen@bournemouth.ac.uk. You will receive initial feedback and an idea of the viability of your business idea within 10 working days.

Tier 2 (General)

This is the visa which is more commonly known as 'work permit'. To be able to apply for this visa, you must already have been offered a job and received a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from a licenced Tier 2 sponsor.

If you are still in the process of looking for a job, please note that you will become exempt from the Resident Labour Market test:

  1. once you have finished your course and have received your final result confirming that you have achieved a UK bachelor or master degree or
  2. if you have already completed 12 months of your PhD studies in the UK and
  3. you are still in the UK and
  4. your Tier 4 (General) student visa is still valid.

You will also automatically meet the English language requirements for a Tier 2 (General) visa, if you were assigned (not sent) a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) on or after 21 April 2011 to study a degree course in the UK and all the above points also apply.

You may want to let your potential employer know about this at the time you first make contact with them regarding a job offer. For further clarification, your potential employer can contact the UKVI helpline.

We currently have no advisers who are trained to advise you further on this type of visa. If you need further help with your Tier 2 (General) visa application, you need to contact your employer or find a trained immigration adviser/solicitor. You can find an adviser, if you visit the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) or the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association (ILPA) websites.

Tier 4 (Doctorate Extension Scheme)

Bournemouth University (BU) is currently supporting students for this scheme. To benefit from this scheme, you must:

  1. still be registered and enrolled on a full-time research programme at BU i.e. you could not have had your final PhD award conferred already, and
  2. still have a valid Tier 4 (General) student visa, and
  3. have successfully passed your viva voce examination and made all required amendments to your thesis, if that was necessary.

If you meet the above requirements, you will be asked by The Graduate School in their final memorandum to note your interest in applying for this visa. More information and general terms and conditions will be sent to you at the same time.

Tier 4 (General)

If your Tier 4 (General) student visa conditions allow you to work part-time during term time, you will also be able to work full-time after you have fully completed your course and your visa is still valid. The UKVI considers the period after the end of the course vacation time. We can support you with a student status letter to confirm that your BU studies have finished and you can show this to your employer. Please request this letter from AskBU.

Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - Government Authorised Exchange)

To be able to apply for this visa you must have already received a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from your Tier 5 sponsor. You can only get a CoS in this visa category for a government authorised exchange programme. These would allow you to do work placement, internship, training or research etc. in the UK.

In most cases you would also need to leave the UK and apply for your Tier 5 visa in your home country. However, you could apply in the UK under the Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange subcategory, if:

  1. you still have a valid student visa (this could be a Tier 4 (General) or an "old style" student visa that you applied for prior to 31 March 2009) and
  2. while you were on this student visa you either
    1. achieved a UK bachelor or master degree
      or
    2. have already completed 12 months of your PhD studies in the UK
      and
  3. your Tier 5 sponsor gave you the CoS so that you could either
    1. undertake a period of postgraduate professional training or work experience which is required to obtain a professional qualification or professional registration in the same field as your UK qualification
    2. or
    3. for an internship no longer than 12 months which directly relates to your UK qualification
      and
  4. your employer does not want to employ you after your training or work experience is finished.

We are not able to advise you further on this type of visa. If you need further help with a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa application, you need to contact the Tier 5 sponsor.