This article contains information for international students about finding work in the UK after graduating and sources of information on visa regulations.

Visa regulations

If you are an international student looking to work in the UK it is important that you research the options and check the visa regulations. A selection of websites with information and advice for international students and graduates looking to work in the UK are provided below:

  • UK Visa and Immigration – This is the UK Government's official visa and immigration information for working in the UK.
  • UKCISA - The UK Council for International Student Affairs is the UK’s national advisory body serving the interests of international students.
  • Targetjobs - International students’ guide to job hunting in the UK plus advice and tips about gaining work experience in the UK.

Visa options for working in the UK after studying

There are several options you can consider, depending on your circumstances.

*Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa

This scheme is for international graduates (currently on a Tier 4 Visa) who have a viable, genuine and credible business idea that they want to put into practice in the UK.

The University of Portsmouth is one of the endorsing institutions for this visa, and requires applicants to meet certain criteria in full. Applicants must be students or graduates of the University of Portsmouth.

Please note that any application must be made at least 3 months before the Tier 4 Visa expiry date.

*Tier 2 (General) Work visa

To qualify for this visa:

  • You can only apply when you have received a confirmation of your final results and transcripts as approved by the Board of Examiners or with your degree certificate.
  • You must show that you have £945 or more in your bank account for 90 days at the time of the application.
  • You must have a job offer and your employer must be listed on the UKVI list of Tier 2 sponsors. A full list of employers can be found here.
  • Your salary must be a minimum of £20.800 (this varies depending on the field).
  • If you switch to this Tier from within the UK, you are not subject to labour market test or number caps ONLY if your CAS was assigned before 24 November 2016. If your CAS was assigned after this date, you will be subject to the Resident Labour Market Test.
  • This is an online application which can be found on this link.

*Tier 4 (Doctorate Extension Scheme) visa 

This scheme is designed to give students who have almost finished their PHD an additional 12 months of Tier 4 (General) leave in which to look for and start work in the UK.

  • You will need to declare your interest in this scheme and see if you are eligible by contacting your course leader and Academic Registry at ukvi-student-compliance@port.ac.uk

*Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa

This is a two year visa available only to citizens of the following countries: Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, British Overseas Citizens and British Nationals Overseas.

  • You cannot apply for this immigration category from within the UK.
  • If you are from the Republic of Korea, you need to obtain a certificate of sponsorship from the Consular Services Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • If you are from Taiwan, you need to register your interest with the National Youth Commission.
  • Full information can be found on the Government website.

*Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange)

This scheme is open to applicants who want to undertake a period of professional training or work experience. Leave is granted for 12 months, but can be extended to 24 months. You are not permitted to take a permanent job under this visa.

  • You must show that you have £945 or more in your bank account for 90 days at the time of the application
  • A certificate of sponsorship reference number from a UK sponsor: see the full list here.
  • Full information can be found on this link.

Where can I get further information and advice?

Purple Door, the University of Portsmouth’s employability service, have a dedicated team of friendly, experienced advisers on hand to talk to you. You can also access a wide range of information and advice on our website at www.port.ac.uk/purpledoor.

The University of Portsmouth’s International Student Advisers are available to give help and advice on any issues you wish to discuss. Their contact details are available here.

*This information is for guidance only. It is up to you to research your options and keep updated with immigration changes. Please note the University cannot help with these applications or accept any responsibility for any application outcomes.


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