Stay Back Period and Post Study Work Permit in the UK


Cyril Zachariah
Updated on Feb 10, 2023 05:02 PM IST

If you are planning to work after studying in the UK, the federal government of the country has announced a new Graduate Route, which allows international students to stay in the UK for a mininum period of 2 years to look for work opportunities after completing their studies.

Stay Back Period and Post Study Work Permit in the UK

Among the major reasons for aspirants to choose to study abroad is to find job opportunities and settle down. However, various regulations outlining an international student’s ability to stay back in a country and even find work opportunities can be extensive. One of the countries that offer really great post-study opportunities to international students is the United Kingdom (UK).

The UK has been one of the top study-abroad destinations in the world, along with the US, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and Australia, among others. While the UK is home to some of the highly renowned and sought-after universities, the UK also offers some of the best post-study or postgraduate work opportunities to international students.

In recent years, the UK government has been working towards attracting more international students to its universities through new and improved opportunities. This has been true, especially for those looking to stay back and apply for post-study work permits in the UK. Recently, the UK government released a new pathway for students to find work after completing their studies at one of the several thousands of universities in the country.

In this article, we shall discuss everything you need to know about staying back and post-study work permits in the UK.

Related Reads:

Study Back Period and Post Study Work Permit to Study Abroad- All You Need to Know! 

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Find Your Perfect Course and University in the UK!

Stay Back and Post-Study Work Permit in the UK - Highlights

Before digging deep into stay back and post study permit in the UK, let us look at the highlights table given below on the same:


UK Graduate Route

UK Graduate Route Duration

  • Graduates - 2 Years

  • PhD Graduates - 3 Years

UK Graduate Route Visa Requirements

  • Tier 4 or Student Permission is required at the minimum.

UK Graduate Route Academic Requirements

  • Bachelors, Masters or PhD degree earned from one of the recognised UK higher education institutions.

Other Requirements for UK Graduate Route

  • Students should receive their UK degree during their current Student Permission or Tier 4 Visa.

  • They should have received the degree as per the course/degree mentioned in their CAS.

  • Commonly, students will be required to stay in the UK and complete their entire course (if the course is less than 12 months) or at least 12 months of the course (if the course duration is more than 12 months) in the UK itself.

  • However, there are Covid-19 concessions currently which allow students to complete their course in distance learning mode, provided the student is able to enter the UK before the end of their Student Permission/Tier 4 visa.

UK Graduate Route Application Process

  • Students must be physically present within the UK if they wish to apply for the Graduate Route in the UK.

  • Students can apply online, however, as mentioned above, they must be within the UK to do so.

  • The Tier4/Student Permission allows students to travel back to the UK after completing their course, wherein, during the window of opportunity, students will be able to apply for the Graduate Route.

UK Graduate Route Application Fee

  • Application Fee - GBP 700

  • Immigration Health Surcharge - GBP 624 per year

Overview of the Post-Study Work Visa in UK: The New ‘Graduate’ Route

The Post Study Work Visa in UK (PSWV) is a temporary visa that permits international students to live, study, and work in any selected post or career path once they complete their school. This Post Study Work Visa route is open to everyone, including Indian students with immigration status in the UK. All students studying at a UK Higher Education Provider-approved institution are eligible for the Graduate Route. This action is being done in response to the UK's desire to retain the smartest students from around the world and assist them in discovering job prospects in the country.

With this statement, new fast-track Visa pathways are being established to retain science academics who are remaining in the country to do research. As a result, the removal restriction for students pursuing a PhD degree has been transferred to the Skilled Worker Visa Route. This decision by the UK government to change the UK work visa is taken to assist the UK in emerging as a famous centre in the field of science and technology, which can only be accomplished by promoting STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).

This is because, according to the Government of the United Kingdom website, roughly half of the students of Indian origin who have come to the UK in the last 10 years, or approximately 1,30,000 since 2008/09, have selected a STEM study. Keeping in mind recent statistics, the number of students entering from India has increased dramatically during the last three years, hitting a high of 22,000 in June 2019. This was a massive 42% rise over the previous year's forecasts and a roughly 100% increase over the last three years.

UK Graduate Route Requirements

If you are an international student studying in the UK, you will most likely be eligible for the UK graduate route, however, there are more requirements that should be satisfied before you are considered fully eligible for the post-study work visa route. Listed below are some of the requirements to apply for the UK Graduate Route as an international student.

  • Visa Requirements: All students who have valid Student permissions or are pursuing higher education under Tier 4 are eligible to apply for the Graduate Route in the UK. As per UKCISA, a student’s Student Permission should be sponsored by a Higher Education provider listed in the Register of Student Sponsors. There are certain exceptions and inclusions as well.

  • Academic Qualification: All international students applying to the route will be required to possess the following valid qualifications;

    • An Undergraduate or Bachelor's degree;

    • A Postgraduate or Master's degree;

    • A Doctoral or PhD degree; and

    • Several other programmes are also included in the list such as a law conversion course, a legal practice course, a Bar practice course, a foundation programme in Medicine or Dentistry, a PG certificate or diploma in education, etc.

  • Additionally, students should also ensure that the programme they have completed and received a valid degree was completed during the current Tier 4 or Student Permission, and should be the same course as that mentioned in your Confirmation Acceptance Studies (CAS).

  • Study in UK Requirement: As part of the deal, students are required to study in the UK for a “relevant period”. The Relevant Period is classed as the time spent studying a course in the UK.

    • If your course of study is less than 12 months long, the regulations state students should complete the entire course while staying in the UK itself.

    • If your course of study takes more than 12 months to complete, then the regulations state that you should have studied in the UK for at least 12 months.

    • However, with Covid-19 disrupting travel between countries, this requirement has been temporarily dropped as a requirement to apply for Graduate Route. For some situations, students may be required to travel to the UK to still be considered eligible, but it is better to connect with your Study Abroad counsellor to know the latest information.

These are just some of the guidelines that you need to follow, there will be other regulations and restrictions that you may need to follow for you to be able to make use of the Graduate Route. The restrictions and guidelines have been defined for every type of international student graduating from a UK higher education institution.

Eligibility of Post-Study Work Permit in the UK 

Previously, individuals who had completed their bachelor's or master's degree may stay in the UK for a maximum of four months to look for work. Following the adoption of the new graduate route immigration rules, the UK government will enable international students to stay in the country for a maximum of two years. This is done because the UK government and administration are looking for a qualified workforce to help the country's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) related industries flourish.

Any international student with a Tier 4 visa who is enrolled in a higher-level educational course authorised by the government and who began their session in September 2020 can stay for two years after graduation with a post-study work visa in the UK.

International students applying for a Tier 2 visa must find work that pays at least GBP 20,800. (about INR 21 lakhs). A student's eligibility is determined by the following factors:

  • The Course Provider, which is the college or university where the course was taken.

  • They are examining the kind, of course.

  • How long does the individual study in the UK?

Applying for a Student Visa? Get Your Applications Reviewed Now!

Different Types of Post-Study Work Visas in the UK

When it comes to a work permit after studying in the UK, there are numerous choices available for a UK work visa. It is recommended that you thoroughly read the specifics of each of these visas on the UK immigration website before deciding which one to apply for. However, you must complete your studies before applying for any of these visas with UK immigration. There are several sorts of post-study work visas available, including:

Tier 2 UK Visa

This is one of the most prevalent UK visas chosen by most candidates. To be eligible for this visa, you must find work with an employer who is willing to pay you at least GBP 20,800 per year. This figure is projected to rise depending on the type of work you conduct. To increase your chances of acquiring a Tier 2 UK visa, consider one or more of the following options:

Visa Type

Tier 2 UK Visa

For Who?

For someone who has landed a job in the United Kingdom

Sponsorships Requirements

Yes, from the employer

Maximum Duration of Extension

5 years 



Tier 1 UK Visa

According to UK immigration laws, you can conduct part-time work or an internship in the UK on a Tier 1 UK work visa. It is intended for students who have a world-class business idea to work on as well as entrepreneurial skills. It is usually advantageous to be fluent in one or more foreign languages. For a Tier 1 UK work visa, you may be required to demonstrate financial resources of at least GBP 945.

You will also need sponsorship from a UK university. Another option is to participate in the Sirius Program, which assists final-year international students with funding and immigration. You can seek assistance from the career services team at your UK university.

Tier 5 UK Visa for Temporary Workers

This UK works depending on the plan you are applying for. A visa is a document that allows you to return to the UK and work for 12 to 24 months and is issued by UK immigration. Tier 5 UK work visa will allow you to do internships and jobs in the UK.

Tier 4 UK Visa Doctorate Extension Scheme

Universities can support students who are about to finish their PhD in the UK and can stay back in the UK for up to a year once their programme is completed.

Visa Type

Tier 4 UK Visa Doctorate Extension Scheme

For Who?

For PhD Students in UK

Sponsorships Requirements

Yes, from the Universities

Maximum Duration of Extension

1 year



UK Graduate Route Application Process

If you find yourself eligible for the graduate route in the UK, then you can apply for the same provided you follow the aforementioned guidelines. The application process for UK’s Graduate Route is specific only to international students graduating from UK Universities, as outlined below:

  • Students interested in applying for the route must do so online. They are required to scan their Biometric Residence Permit using the “UK Immigration: ID Check” app and pay the application fees as well as the Immigration Health Surcharge.

  • It should be noted, interested students can only apply for the Graduate Route if they are in the UK. No eligible student with a valid Tier 4 or Student Permission will be able to apply for the Graduate Route if they are outside of the UK.

  • Students with a valid Student Permission or Tier 4 visa can re-enter the UK as long as their student visa permits before they apply for the Graduate Route. This also includes the span of time after a student graduates from a UK university.

  • Starting the day of being announced a student successfully graduating from a UK university to the date of expiration of the current Student Permission, students will be able to apply for the Graduate Route in the UK.

    • As soon as you apply for the Graduate Route within the window of opportunity, your Student Permission automatically extends until you receive a response to your application, even after the original date of expiration.

Application Fee for UK Graduate Route

As is customary, when applying for a new visa route, all applicants are required to pay a certain amount as an application fee. Along with the application fee, students are required to pay an Immigration Health surcharge as well.



Application Fee

GBP 700

Immigration Health Surcharge

GBP 624 per year

Note: When paying the Immigration Health Surcharge, students must note that they will be asked to pay the IHS fee every year of extension, i.e. 3 years for PhD graduates and 2 years for all other graduates.

UK Visa Interview Questions

UK Visa applicants must pay the correct visa cost after completing the online application form and submitting the required documents to schedule an interview with the UK Embassy/Consulate. The visa interview is the final stage of the application process that determines if an applicant is eligible for a visa. The UK Visa interview allows the Officer to evaluate the application while also verifying the documents/information provided by the applicant. If you have already scheduled your appointment, you will know where to go and when to arrive for the visa interview.

Some of the most frequently asked UK Student Visa interview questions are listed below:

  • Why did you choose this particular college/university? OR Why do you want to work in the UK after finishing your studies?

  • What are your parent's occupations?

  • Why do you wish to visit the UK?

  • How long will you be in the United Kingdom?

  • Why did you decide to pursue your higher education in the UK?

  • Who will pay for your expenditures in the UK?

  • What did you study in India?

  • Do you have any relatives or friends in the United Kingdom?

  • Where will you be staying in the UK?

  • When did you intend to work in the United Kingdom?

There are several conditions to the UK Graduate Route including the restrictions to extend your stay in the UK, studying under the graduate route and which courses you can study, among other things.

If you wish to learn more about studying abroad and applying to one of the best courses you can find around the world, then get yourself registered with us and find out the best and easiest way to apply to the top universities in the world. You can also reach out to us at

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What is the Graduate Route?

The Graduate Route in the UK allows international students to apply to stay in the United Kingdom and work or look for work after graduation. International students who have earned an undergraduate or master's degree can seek to stay in the UK for up to two years after completing their studies. PhD grads can qualify for a three-year stay. This is an excellent chance for overseas students who desire to advance their careers in the UK.

What are the benefits of the Graduate Route?

The Graduate Route is unsponsored, which means you can work or look for work at any skill level when you graduate. You will be able to obtain job experience, do an internship, or work as a freelancer in the UK. There is no minimum salary criterion, and there is no restriction to the number of international students who can stay in the UK through the Graduate Route. Once you have found acceptable employment in the UK, you will have the option to transfer to a skilled work path and stay in the country when your two or three years are up.

Is it necessary to be sponsored by an employer to get a post-study work visa in the UK?

You do not need to be sponsored by an employer to be eligible for a post-work study visa in the UK, thus you do not need to be working when you apply. You just must have earned your degree at a higher education provider with a track record of compliance, such as our university partners! When you apply, you must also be a UK resident with a current Tier 4 visa.

Are Indian students eligible for the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme in the UK?

No! If you are a citizen of one of the following countries, UK immigration will allow you to work in the UK for two years after finishing your education. The following countries are listed on the UK immigration website for Tier 5 UK work visa Youth Mobility Scheme:

  • Canada

  • Japan

  • New Zealand

  • Republic of Korea Taiwan

  • The city of Hong Kong

  • Monaco

  • Australia

Are students allowed to work in the UK after graduation?

The new post-study work visa requirements in the UK allow international students to work in the United Kingdom after graduation. This rule will apply to bachelor's, master's, and doctoral graduates. If you have a bachelor's or post-graduate degree, your Graduate visa will be valid for two years. If you have a PhD or other doctoral qualification, your Graduate visa will be valid for three years. The start date of your graduate visa will be the day your application for a work permit for the UK is accepted.

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