Work-Study in UK: 5 Types of Visa to Apply For

It is a rare privilege having to work while you’re still studying. So, most students in the UK often stay back there in the UK after graduation.

Your ability to stay back in the UK years after graduation makes it an attractive destination for students seeking to start their international career.

However, if you are an international student, you’ll find the 5 types of visa you should apply for after graduation in this article.

There are eight universities with the best starting salaries for graduates in London. As a global city, London has fantastic links with blue-chip companies in all industries.

The city’s universities have some of the highest graduate employment rates in the UK. Whether you return home or stay in the UK, a London degree will boost your CV and make you stand out in a crowd.

See the table of contents below to see how you can go about the application process.

What is the Study-Work Visa for Graduates in the UK?

This visa is permits international students to stay back in the UK upon graduation so they can find jobs. Its validity stays up to 2 years.

Within the first 2 years of graduation, students who own the work-study visa can fix themselves up with available jobs.

This is to help them own a general work visa in the future.

Who Qualifies for a Study-Work Visa?

Prior to the extension of the new PSW visa to all graduates, Students who qualified for the study-work visa were PhD holders because UK was and still is in the business of growing its STEM industry fields.

Also, the visa only lasted for four months but it has been extended to two years.

What happens at the expiration of the Study-Work visa?

Apparently, the study-work visa isn’t limited to a particular job for graduates.

As a graduate in the UK, you can attach yourself with a random job for the period of two years after which you can apply for a general work visa if the study work visa expires.

Types of Study-Work Visa

Non-EU students who wish to remain in the UK after they have graduated must apply for a work visa from UK Visas and Immigration.

There are several visas you can apply for as a London graduate:

#1 Tier 2 (General) Visa

This is the primary visa to remain and work in the UK after your studies. It is open to recent graduates with a Bachelor’s, Masters’s, or Ph.D. from a recognized UK university.

Before you apply, you must have an offer of a skilled job from a licensed employer and earn a salary of at least £20,800. 

After five years of employment, Tier 2 visa holders can apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK providing they meet the salary requirements (£35,000) and other relevant eligibility criteria.

Visit the UK Home Office website for further information.

#2 Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa

This visa option is open to all students who are developing a world-class business idea.

You will need to join and be endorsed by your university as having the potential to create your own business in the UK.

This applies to all graduating students from any subject discipline.

#3 Tier 4 (Student) Visa

If you are at the verge of completing a Ph.D. at a UK higher education institute, you can apply to stay in the UK for a further 12 months after your course completion date.

Your university will sponsor you but you will have full unrestricted work rights, except for some limited professions such as doctors or dentists.

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#4 Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme

Some nationalities are eligible to apply for a two-year work scheme permit.

Citizens from Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, and New Zealand must be between the ages of 18-30.

Requirements from nationalities of Hong Kong, Korea, and Taiwan are a certificate of sponsorship and maintenance.

#5 Tier 5 Temporary Worker/GAE

This study-work visa allows you to work in the UK for up to 12 or 24 months (depending on the scheme you’re applying for).

 International students in the UK can apply for the Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) visa to undertake work experience and internships in the UK after their studies.

You can apply to switch from your Tier 4 visa to this visa from within the UK.

Other Possible Visas

There are lots of other visas you can apply for in the UK and qualification will depend on your stance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a work-study visa?

This is a visa that allows international students to live and work in the UK upon graduation and for up to 2 years.

Can I stay in the UK after study?

Yes. You can go as far as working in the UK after graduation but for a period of two years.

Is it difficult getting a job in the UK?

Getting a job in the UK is more difficult as the visa rules are more strict than they have been. However, to get a job, you will need to get a visa in an organization that has a sponsor certificate.


At the introductory part of this article, you were told having a degree in the UK can make you stand out. Don’t you think it is nice you put that certificate to excellent use over there in the UK? See the various types of visas you can apply for and what to do at the expiration.

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