Working in the UK after study

If you're an international student and you would like to work in the UK after graduating then please be aware of the immigration rules that apply to you.

There are several different visa categories available to graduating students, and each has their own eligibility requirements and application routes. 

Tier 4 - Doctorate Extension Scheme

If you're studying a PhD, the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) allows you to spend one year in the UK after you've completed your studies. You can be employed or self-employed. You have to apply under Tier 4 - DES before you hand in the final hard bound version of your thesis.

Key points:

  • You can only request a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) to apply under Tier 4 - DES after your viva has taken place.
  • You can only apply under Tier 4 - DES before your PhD is awarded. You cannot apply after your award date. 
  • You can apply for the scheme up to 60 days before your expected completion date. This date is agreed between you and the University after your viva, and is the estimated date that your name will appear on a pass list.
  • You can't apply under Tier 4 - DES after your expected completion date or after you have handed in the final hard bound version of your thesis.
  • You can't apply under Tier 4 - DES after your Tier 4 visa has expired.
  • You need to have held £2,030 in your bank account every day for 28 days to make a valid application.
  • If you apply with dependants, £1,360 for each dependant also need to be held in the bank account every day for 28 days.
  • If your PhD required Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance, you will only need to apply for a new ATAS certificate if your course has been extended for more than 3 months. 
  • The Tier 4 - DES application fee for postal applications is £459 and it will cost £1,083 to submit your application in person at an appointment with UK Visas & Immigration.
  • The cost of a Tier 4 - DES dependant postal application is also £459 and also £1,083 for UK Visas & Immigration in person appointments.

How to get your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies for the Doctorate Extension Scheme

  1. You need to request a CAS by completing this CAS request form for the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES).
  2. Complete the CAS request form. Save the form electronically with your surname in capitals first and your forename second. 
  3. You must submit your bank statement with your CAS request form to confirm that you meet the Tier 4 - DES financial requirements.
  4. A CAS cannot be issued unless you meet the UKVI financial requirements at the time of your request.
  5. UKVI guidance states that a DES CAS can only be issued within 60 days of your new course end date. For this reason there may be a delay in issuing your CAS.
  6. Email your CAS request form with a scan of your financial documents to the International Student Office
  7. If your financial evidence meets the Tier 4-DES requirements, Postgraduate Research & Operations will issue your CAS.
  8. Please follow the guidance on our Extending your visa in the UK page to locate and complete the Tier 4 application form.

Tier 1 - Graduate Entrepreneur

The University of Leeds can sponsor up to 20 students under the Tier 1 - Graduate Entrepreneur scheme.

If you would like to establish your own business in the UK, you should book an appointment to discuss this with Brian Baillie in the SPARK team at the Careers Centre.

The Careers Centre can assist you to develop your business idea and if your idea is accepted, the University of Leeds will issue an endorsement letter to enable you make a visa application under Tier 1 - Graduate Entrepreneur scheme.

If you are applying the UK, you need to hold £945 for 90 consecutive days in your bank account statement, with the statement being no more than 31 days old at the time of your visa application.  The cost of this application is £474.

The International Student Office can check your visa application for you and we can also assist with enquires regarding this visa at our drop-in session and via e-mail.

For further information about this scheme please see the Gov.uk website.

Tier 2

If you're an international student who has graduated with a degree from a UK university, you're entitled to apply in the Tier 2 (skilled worker) category of the Points Based System. 

The International Student Office can check Tier 2 applications forms and documents for free, but can't send the application for you.

Key points:

  • You must have completed your course of study and have your final and confirmed results. Provisional results are not acceptable.
  • You must have an offer of employment from an employer who is registered as a Tier 2 sponsor.
  • You must have a certificate of sponsorship from that employer.
  • The job must pay at least £20,800 per year for new entrants* or £30,000 per year for experienced workers and be within the normal salary range for the job.
  • The employer does not need to undertake the Resident Labour Market Test.
  • Application requirements and guidance documents are available from UK Visas & Immigration.
  • A full list of current Tier 2 licensed sponsors is available from UK Visas & Immigration.
  • The application fee for a 3 year Tier 2 application is £677, the cost for a Tier 2 visa over 3 years is £1,354.
  • *New Entrants are defined as new applicants to the Tier 2 (General) visa category who are either under 26 years of age, are switching from a Tier 4 visa, or have been hired through a milkround recruitment process.

Tier 5

There are several opportunities to apply to work in the UK under a Tier 5 category of the Points Based System. A full list of the categories can be viewed on the Gov.uk website.

If you're interested in working in the UK under the International Student Internship Scheme, you will need to apply for sponsorship from AISEC. Once you've received sponsorship you can then make a visa application in the UK under the Tier 5 - Government Authorised Exchange scheme.

If you are a Chinese national, there is a specialist organisation to assist you with applying under this scheme called the Post Study scheme who can sponsor Chinese nationals wishing to undertake a 12-month internship in the UK.
A full list of current Tier 5 licensed sponsors are available from the Home Office.

Immigration

If you're planning to stay in the UK you must make an immigration application before your current permission expires.

Alternatively, you can make applications in your home country, but carefully check the criteria as there are different requirements when you make an application from outside the UK.

Most nationals from the European Economic Area (EEA) can work in the UK without restriction. Croatian nationals may need to apply for worker authorisation or a registration certificate.

Further information

If, after reading these pages, you still have questions, you can call the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) advice line or seek independent legal advice.

You can also come to a drop-in session at the International Student Office for further advice. Drop-in takes place at 10.30am every day between Monday and Friday.

The Careers Centre has a full list of services to assist you in finding employment following your studies.