Working in the UK after your studies have ended

Most students have immigration permission that extends beyond the end of their studies. You can work full-time for this extra period once you have completed your course (normally the end date on your Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS).

The student policy team at the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) have confirmed that it regards the period after your course has ended and before your immigration permission expires as 'vacation'.

Finishing your course early

If you finish your course early, UWE Bristol has a legal obligation report this to UKVI.

If you have more than 60 days' leave when your early completion is reported, the UKVI will contact you to let you know that your immigration permission will be cut short (curtailed). Leave is usually curtailed to the new end date plus the additional period you were originally granted, for example one month, two or four months after the new end date.

You can work full-time between the new end date of your course and the new expiry date of your immigration permission. Employers will need to see confirmation from UWE Bristol if you complete your course early.

Leaving the UK 

Although your student work conditions allow you to work full-time after your course has ended, some Home Office staff do not always accept this. Be careful about leaving the UK during this period if you want to come back with your student immigration permission. A border force officer can decide that you no longer meet the requirements of the student immigration rules and cancel your permission. This is particularly important for you if you want to stay in the UK as a student or if you want to make an application in a work category of the immigration rules. It is safer if you either make your next immigration application:

  • in the UK before you leave, or
  • while you are outside the UK, in the country where you usually live if you need to make a work application.

Applying to stay in the UK to work

On 11 September 2019 the Government announced the introduction of a ‘Graduate Immigration Route.’ This will be similar to the Post-Study Work Visa which lapsed in 2012. Applications for a visa under the Graduate Immigration Route will be open to UWE Bristol Tier 4 students who graduate in the summer of 2021 and have a valid Tier 4 visa at the time of application. The new visa will enable graduates to stay, live and work for a further two years, at the end of which they will be eligible to switch into one of the existing work visas such as Tier 2. Application will entail payment of a fee plus the immigration health surcharge.

Few details of the Graduate Immigration Route are known at present. The exact date of implementation, fees and other eligibility requirements have not been announced. As of October 2019, the new visa remains only an announcement, and has not yet appeared in the Immigration Rules. Full guidance may not be available until early 2021. Due to the provisional nature of this visa, prospective students are advised not to accept or decline offers or defer entry based on their intention to switch to the Graduate Immigration Route on completion of their course.

A useful source of information is the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website, which will be kept up to date with developments.

If at the end of your course you apply to stay in the UK under another work route, for example a Tier 2 visa, you can work full-time until your work application is decided.

You must not take work that is in breach of your student conditions. For example, you must not fill a permanent vacancy or take work as a professional sportsperson or entertainer. However, if you have Tier 4 leave, and you have completed a course at UWE Bristol, the Immigration Rules allow you to start your Tier 2 job after you have applied for Tier 2 leave and before the Home Office makes a decision on that application, even if the job is a permanent vacancy.

If you have applied for Start-up leave, you cannot start your business before you receive a decision from the Home Office on your application.

If you have applied for further Tier 4 leave under the doctorate extension scheme, you can undertake a permanent full-time job, be self-employed or work as an entertainer before you receive a decision on your application as long as UWE Bristol has confirmed to you that you have completed and passed your doctorate. Please check our doctorate extension scheme guidance for further information on how to choose this route.

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