Working in the UK

Immigration News

September 29, 2016

Working in the UK post education: Visa categories 

The road to seeking a job in the UK after completing graduation is paved with numerous regulations and laws that are complex and difficult to decipher. As an international student, it is imperative that one is aware of what visa regulations are best suited for his/her case and the eligibility criteria for the same. Tier 4 is the standard student visa, the basis on which, most international students (non-EEA) are currently studying in the UK. Some of the visas that allow you to work in the UK after your education are:


 Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa

As the name indicates, this is the visa for people trying to embark on setting up their own ventures in the UK. The prerequisites for this visa are financially stringent, and are as follows:

- Intention to set up or run a business in the UK

- The applicant is from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland

- Have access to at least £50,000 investment funds.

The validity of this visa is for 3 years and 4 months. Nevertheless, this can be extended by another 2 years if you’re already in this category or 3 years if you’re switching from any other category. However, this visa type gets better with the option to apply for settlement (i.e. ‘indefinite leave to remain’) once you’ve been in the UK for 5 years.

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa

This visa is for any international student in the UK who has the entrepreneurial instinct and a brilliant idea ! The requirements are 

- The applicant is from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland

- Intention to set up or run a business in the UK

- T
he idea must be endorsed either by the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) or a UK higher education institution (HEI) participating in this scheme.


It is worth noticing that getting the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa is quite difficult due to increased scrutiny, the various steps involved and an overall cap on the number of visas granted (2000). 



Tier 2 (General) Visa

The Tier 2 visa allows skilled workers to enter the UK on a long-term basis to fill a skilled job vacancy; such as a business, teaching, or healthcare role.

To switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2 (General) visa, following are the requirements:

- A UK bachelor’s degree or master’s degree; or

- A postgraduate certificate in education; or professional graduate diploma of education

- A job offer with a certificate of sponsorship from a UK employer with a valid Tier 2 sponsorship license  

The institute conferring the above degree(s) need to be a UK-recognised body or an institution that has a Tier 4 sponsor licence. This visa is valid for up to 5 years, but most companies prefer a period of 3 years of the visa’s validity. Also, Ph.D. students must have completed at least 12 months’ study for your Ph.D. during their most recent stay in the UK and had permission to take the qualification. However, it is important that one should apply for Tier 2 with a valid Tier 4 visa to avoid the quota system under the restricted sponsorship category. 


Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Visa

Tier 5 is the visa that is meant to provide a platform for companies to hire temporary workers and bypass stringent requirements of hiring permanent workers. There are several types of Tier 5 visas:

- Charity Worker :  Voluntary work for a charity. Stay is for up to 12 months or the time given on the certificate of sponsorship plus 28 days, whichever is shorter.

- Creative and Sporting: For sportsmen and creative workers (who operate in the creative industry, e.g. an actor, dancer, musician or film crew member). Stay is for up to 12 months or the time given on the certificate of sponsorship plus 28 days, whichever is shorter.

- Government Authorised Exchange: For those who visit the UK for a short period of work experience or training, an Overseas Government Language Programme, research or a fellowship programme through an approved government authorised exchange scheme. Stay in the UK for up to 12 or 24 months or the time given on the certificate of sponsorship plus 28 days, whichever is shorter.

- International Agreement:  If contracted to work under international law while in the UK. In most cases, stay for 2 years, or the time given on the certificate of sponsorship plus up to 28 days, whichever is shorter.

- Religious Worker : Live and work in the UK for up to 24 months, or up to 28 days more than the time on the certificate of sponsorship, for religious work.

- Youth Mobility Scheme: Live and work in the UK for up to 24 months and are of the age between 18-30 years. Also, they ought to have £1,890 in savings.

The visa requirements are complex in the UK if one intends to set up a business or take up a job here. However, with timely action, it is feasible to convert your Tier 4 visa to the Tier 2 visa for a smoother transition from mainstream studies to mainstream employment.






Disclaimer: www.studentcircus.com (Student Circus UK ) is not responsible for any action taken as a result of the information or advice provided in the blog.  Readers must seek specialist advice from lawyers or other professional immigration consultant regarding their case before taking any action.

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