Visa Information for Final Year Students and Graduates
Key information on how your visa changes if you plan on staying in the UK after graduating.
If you're an overseas student with a Tier 4 student visa, you are able to remain in the UK for four months after completing your course to seek skilled work. You do not need to wait to graduate before applying for a skilled work Tier 2 Visa. You only require a letter from their university stating that you have concluded your exams and coursework.
You can find out more information about this located on pages 8 – 10 of the Tier 2 Visa Guidance.
Graduates switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 visas are classified as 'new entrants'. New entrants are not subject to the annual cap on Tier 2 visas, the resident labour market test or the immigration skills charge. Further information is detailed in Appendix A of the Immigration Rules and Tier 2 Sponsorship Guidance.
Tier 2 visas for new entrants are valid for up to three years and one month. Employers are presently required to pay new entrants in veterinarian roles a salary of at least £27,100. If a Tier 2 visa is renewed after three years the worker would then be classed as an ‘experienced worker’ which has a higher salary threshold of £36,300. These salary requirements are detailed in Table 2 of Appendix J of the Immigration Rules – Standard Occupation Code (SOC) 2216.
In the future, as set out in the Immigration White Paper (that details the UK’s future skills-based immigration system), the post-study leave period for postgraduate and most undergraduate students will be increased to six months, and doctorate students to a year. We will also make it easier for graduates by enabling them to apply to switch into skilled work three months before they complete their course, and to apply for skilled work from outside the UK for two years post-graduation under the same conditions as an in-country application. The new skills-based immigration system will be implemented in January 2021.