UK Post-Study Visa – Everything You Need to Know

As you must have learned, international students who will begin their academic programs in the UK this September will be able to apply for post-study work visas, following the announcement of its re-introduction, last year. Obtaining this type of visa means you can stay back and work for two years, after completing your program in the UK.

However, there are still many questions on how it works, who is eligible, the category of students that can apply, the next steps after the visa expires, whether sponsors are needed or not, among others. In this post, we have listed these frequently asked questions and provided clear explanations on each.

Read on to learn about everything you should know.

What are the benefits of the UK post-study work visa?

Once you obtain the PSW (Post-study work) visa, you will have an opportunity to work with any organization in the UK for two years, after graduating from a university. Being a top destination for students all over the world, the UK is an ideal place to kick-start your career. Securing a job in your field and/or with a widely recognised organization makes the experience even better.

Which category of students can obtain the PSW visa?

The PSW visa cuts across all levels of academic studies, beginning from Bachelors Degrees. This implies you can apply for the visa when studying for an undergraduate degree, a Masters Degree, or a Ph.D. Degree. This does not mean you cannot work while studying. If you choose to, you can work part-time (depending on your school’s policy) alongside studying.

What are the eligibility requirements for the PSW visa?

All international students can apply for the visa. As long as you already hold a Tier 4 visa and have successfully enrolled at a UK institution for the academic year starting in September 2020. You should also understand that one primary reason that the PSW visa was reintroduced is to develop the UK’s STEM sector. STEM means Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. You may want to consider applying for courses in these career fields to stand a good chance of securing jobs once you have obtained your PSW visa.

Before now, the visa was only available to Ph.D. students that intend to stay back in the UK after completing their programs.

What next once the 2-year PSW visa expires?

Securing a job after graduating may not be on a platter of gold but once you have, you may want to stay beyond the two years validity period. So, what then happens? Before your visa expires, start the process of securing a Tier 2 visa. This is also referred to as a general work visa or skilled work visa.

A key requirement for this type of visa is having a job that pays £30,000 or more yearly. However, the requirement is dependent on the type of job you do or the industry you work in. The minimum earnings are lower in some and higher in others.

Does an EU student need the UK PSW visa?

Currently, EU students do not have to apply for the PSW visa in the UK to work after studying. However, that is likely to change after Brexit.

Will my University choice affect my qualification for the UK PSW visa?

As it stands, you are eligible to apply for the PSW visa as long as you are a graduate of one of the licensed sponsors. A licensed sponsor is a school that the British Government recognizes as a trusted institution. (MODE education only works with government recognized schools.)

The list of licensed sponsors may change from time to time since the UK government constantly checks for schools that uphold or flout the immigration and visa check policies.

Does my course of study determine if I can apply for the UK PSW visa?

Although the UK government announced that the plan to develop the STEM sector is one of the reason for reintroducing the visa, graduates from other fields of studies are also eligible. As of 2019, students studying Masters and PhD programmes in STEM have begun to get less strict rules for their visas. But starting from September 2020, newly enrolled students at all levels and fields of studies can apply for the post-study work visa.

The exception to this is those studying short courses, an English language training course, A-Levels or the Baccalaureate.

What kind of sponsor do I need for a UK PSW visa?

Compared to other visa types where your sponsor can be your parents or an employer, the institution you graduated from is your sponsor for the visa category. Once your institution is on the list of recognized universities, you are good to go.

One more thing…

At MODE Education, we provide comprehensive visa counselling services and continuous professional guidance towards achieving your academic and career goals. Send us a message to get started.

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