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 have completed a course leading to a UK recognised Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, having taken all exams and handed in all course and dissertation work or you have completed a minimum of 12 months’ study in the UK towards a UK PhD during your last grant of leave or period of continuous leave which includes your last grant of leave*

  • 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 the Resident Labour Market Test or number caps (if you have not had continuous leave (visa) and you applied for your current visa after 24th November 2016 you will be subject to the Resident Labor Market Test). If your job is exempt from the Resident Labour Market Test, it must still meet the skill and minimum wage level and you must meet the English language and the maintenance requirements.

  • This is an online application which can be found on this link.

*The specified evidence you must provide to demonstrate you meet this requirement is: 


1. your original certificate of award. This must be your original certificate (not a copy) and must clearly show: • your name; • the course title/award; and • unless the course is a PhD course, the date of course completion and pass (or the date of award in the case of a degree certificate). We will not accept provisional certificates. If the certificate has yet to be issued, you will be unable to provide the original certificate of award.


In these circumstances, you must provide:


2. an original academic transcript or an academic reference on official headed paper from the institution at which you studied towards your eligible qualification. It must have been issued by an authorised official and must confirm:

• your name; • the course title/award; • the course duration; • the date you completed the course, having sat all exams and presented all academic papers, unless you were studying a PhD course where confirmation of 12 months’ study is required.



*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.


*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?

The University of Portsmouth’s Careers & 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 their website.

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

*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.

Enter your email address to receive a notification when the article is updated
Email Address

Was this article helpful
Thank you for your feedback
How can we improve?