Want to stay in UK post-graduation? This is what you need to know about visas

You've graduatated. Now what? Source: Shutterstock
Thinktank Bright Blue said slashing interest rates would only benefit graduates who were better off. Source: Shutterstock

Are you looking to stay in the United Kingdom after you graduate?

Many people come to the UK for the world class universities and stay for the culture and career prospects. But when you’re faced with a litany of options for life after you’ve completed your degree how do you know which road to choose?

If you’ve completed an undergraduate degree at a British university, then you may look to extending your studies to a postgraduate master’s degree. Extended higher education is becoming the norm and possessing a master’s degree may give you an advantage later on. When you’ve accepted an offer to study a master’s course at a British university, you’ll need to look at extending your Tier-4 student visa six months before entering the new course.

For those wanting to work straight after university, switching to a Tier-2 visa will let you stay in the country for five years. As a “new entrant” to this scheme, you’ll need to be earning £20,800 (US$27,422) in your new job. Your new bosses will need a sponsorship licence as they will be sponsoring your application to stay in the country. There are advantages to switching to this visa from a student visa, such as its shorter time frames and not requiring employers to pay certain charges.

An alternative route is the temporary work visa, known as a Tier-5 visa, which will allow you to stay in the UK for work experience or an internship of 20 hours or less after university. This is a popular route for new graduates as it also covers coming to the UK for training. However, you still need to be sponsored by a registered company with a sponsorship licence in order to be applicable.

Another temporary visa is the Tier-5 Youth Mobility visa. For this, you’re able to work in most jobs and will be able to study and receive training. For this visa, you have to be between the ages of 18-30, have £1,890 (US$2,492) in savings, be a British/British territories overseas citizen or a British national overseas. You may also apply for this visa if you’re from Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea and Taiwan.

For European students looking to stay in the UK after graduation, you will not need to apply for a visa at the moment. However, after Brexit, it seems like the government will be requiring EU nationals living in the UK to apply for a “settled status”, although for this, you won’t be subject to a minimum salary as needed for a Tier-2 visa in order to be applicable.

From dissertations to deadlines, there are many things in university that will end up stressing you out. Your plans after university shouldn’t be encumbered by worrying about your new visa. Make sure you start looking at your options at least twelve months in advance so you don’t miss the crucial deadlines and embrace your new life after graduation.

For more information on switching visas, contact the Immigration Advice Service (IAS)

This article is written by Katie Beech from Immigration Advice Services.