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The University of Southampton
Student Services

Working after your studies

If your visa was for a full-time programme of study and your visa type permitted work during term-time, after you have successfully completed your course you can work full-time until your visa expires.  Please note the following:

  • Undergraduate and postgraduate taught students - you can find the end date of your programme of study on the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) which you were issued with to apply for your current Student visa.  You cannot work full-time until after the end date of your programme as stated on your CAS.  You can find more information about the term dates and vacation dates for your programme level on our attendance webpage.
  • Postgraduate research students - the end of your course is your award date.  Your Faculty Graduate School Office will confirm your award date after you have submitted your final corrected thesis and this has been approved by the examiners.  If you need to extend your Student visa to complete your studies, you are still subject to the limit on the amount of hours you can work during term dates until you have been awarded.

Please note that during the period after you have successfully completed your programme of study, the same restrictions on the type of work that is permitted still applies.  Types of work that are not permitted: self-employment/business activity; work as a professional sportsperson including as a sports coach; work as an entertainer; taking a permanent full-time job; and, taking work as a doctor or dentist in training.

If we remove sponsorship on your visa because you have withdrawn or suspended from your course or because you have exited with a lower award (eg you are awarded a BEng instead of an MEng) then you are not permitted to undertake any work after the date that we remove sponsorship on your visa.

 

University of Southampton VISAS Team

Contact us

You can contact us by email and through online chat.  We also offer online 1 to 1 appointments.

UKCISA - working after studies

UKCISA

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) - further information on working after studies

The information contained in this website is believed to be correct at the time of publication.

Please note: The University of Southampton is not responsible for the content of any external websites.

UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) launched the new Graduate route visa on 1 July 2021.  Guidance on the Graduate Route was published on 1 July 2021 and this page will be updated in due course. 

Students will be eligible to apply for leave to remain on the Graduate route if they have successfully completed the programme of study for which their CAS was issued and they still have valid leave to remain in the UK as a student (on Tier 4 or Student visa) 

Further information for Students looking to apply to the Graduate route, including eligibility, how to apply, accessing your immigration status (eVisa) and conditions of the route can be found in the Home Office guidance on the Graduate Route The Graduate route: information for international students

  • The Graduate route will be a new visa application and students will have to pay the visa application fee (£700) and the full Immigration Health Surcharge for the whole period (currently £624 per annum)
  • The Graduate route visa cannot be extended and can only be applied for once
  • The Graduate route is not a route to settlement though those who meet eligibility requirements may be able to apply to remain in the UK on other work routes
  • Subject to Police Registration (if applicable)
  • No access to public funds

The VISAS team will email eligible students to their University email address when we have notified UKVI.  Students should wait to submit an application under the Graduate Route until they have received email confirmation.

Students who expected they would be eligible and have not received a notification 10 working days after the award date should contact the VISAS team for further advice.

Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route:

  • Students must be in the UK on a Tier 4 or Student visa with valid leave to remain and 
  • Have completed an eligible course: UK Bachelor's degree or UK postgraduate degree (Master's degree or Doctorate level) or other relevant qualification (includes PGCE)
  • Courses 12 months or less (typically 1 year Master's degrees), all study must have been completed in the UK
  • Courses longer than 12 months in duration (undergraduate and doctorate level programmes), at least 12 months of study must have been completed in the UK

Concessions due to COVID-19:

Students on a course of 12 months or less in duration (typically 1 year Master's) on a Student or Tier 4 visa

  • began their studies in September/October 2020 who are studying remotely and have not entered the UK to validate their visa, must enter the UK by 21 June 2021 to be eligible to apply for the Graduate route visa.
  • began their studies in September/October 2020 who entered the UK to begin study but returned home to study remotely, must return to the UK by their programme end date (as stated on their CAS) to be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route visa.
  • began their studies in January or February 2021 who are studying remotely and have not entered the UK to validate their visa, must enter the UK by 27 September 2021 to be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route visa.
  • began their studies in January or February 2021 who entered the UK to begin study but returned home to study remotely, must return to the UK by their programme end date (as stated on their CAS) to be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route visa.

Students on a course longer than 12 months in duration who have been studying remotely between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021 must return to the UK before the end of their student visa to be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route visa.

How long can I stay in the UK on the Graduate route?

  • Students completing an Undergraduate or Master's degree in the UK will be permitted to work full-time in the UK on the Graduate route for 2 years.
  • Students completing Doctorates in the UK will be permitted to work full-time in the UK on the Graduate route for 3 years. Those students currently on the Doctoral Extension Scheme visa will not be eligible to apply for further leave on the Graduate route.

When can I apply?

You can apply once you have been awarded your degree but only after the University has confirmed this to the Home Office (UKVI).

What documents do I need to be able to apply?

You will need your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number.  You will not need to evidence funds.  However, if you were a government sponsored student, you will need permission from your sponsor to remain in the UK on the Graduate route.

What work can I do on the Graduate route?

There are very few work restrictions, you cannot work as a professional sportsperson including work as a coach.  All other work including self-employment is permitted.

Please note that after you apply for the Graduate route and whilst you are waiting for the outcome of your application, you are restricted to the work conditions of your Tier 4/Student visa.

Can I study on the Graduate route?

You cannot study on a course that you would normally study on a Student visa.  However, you are permitted to switch back to a Student visa to undertake another course in the UK.  You cannot apply for another Graduate route visa after further study.

Can my dependants apply with me?

Only if they are already in the UK as your dependant on your Tier 4 or Student visa.

University of Southampton VISAS Team

Contact us

You can contact us by email and through online chat.  We also offer online 1 to 1 appointments.

UKCISA - working after studies

UKCISA

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) - further information on working after studies

The information contained in this website is believed to be correct at the time of publication.

Please note: The University of Southampton is not responsible for the content of any external websites.

Note: the Doctorate Extension Scheme visa will end upon the launch of the new Graduate route visa on 1 July 2021.

If you are a postgraduate research student and are coming to the end of your PhD, you may be eligible to apply for the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) visa.

Please see our Doctorate Extension Scheme webpage for further information.

University of Southampton VISAS Team

Contact us

You can contact us by email and through online chat.  We also offer online 1 to 1 appointments.

UKCISA - working after studies

UKCISA

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) - further information on working after studies

The information contained in this website is believed to be correct at the time of publication.

Please note: The University of Southampton is not responsible for the content of any external websites.

Note: the Skilled Worker visa replaced the Tier 2 (General) work visa on 1 December 2020.

The University of Southampton Visa and Immigration Student Advice Service (VISAS Team) cannot offer advice about applying for work visas. 

For information and guidance on switching into the Skilled Worker visa from a Student visa, please refer to the Home Office (UKVI) and the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) online guidance.  The links to both the Home Office (UKVI) and UKCISA can be found below.

University of Southampton VISAS Team

Contact us

You can contact us by email and through online chat.  We also offer online 1 to 1 appointments.

UKCISA

UKCISA

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA)- further information on working after studies

The information contained in this website is believed to be correct at the time of publication.

Please note: The University of Southampton is not responsible for the content of any external websites.

The Start-up route is a sponsored route aimed at students/graduates who wish to establish a business in the UK.  The University of Southampton is a Home Office approved endorsing body. 

For further information, including how to apply for visa sponsorship under this route, please refer to the Careers and Employability Service website.

The University of Southampton VISAS Team

Contact us

You can contact us by email and through online chat.  We also offer online 1 to 1 appointments.

UKCISA

UKCISA

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA)- further information on working after studies

The information contained in this website is believed to be correct at the time of publication.

Please note: The University of Southampton is not responsible for the content of any external websites.

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