If you are on a Student visa / Tier 4 visa – graduate jobs

Advice if you plan to work in the UK after graduation, including where to find out about visas.

You may already know that you want to return home after finishing your course, or you may be considering your options. If you plan to work in the UK after your studies all our advice about finding vacancies and making strong applications applies to you – and you also need to know about visas.  

Visas for working after your studies 


Graduate Route Visa

Since the summer of 2021, the new Graduate Immigration Route is available to new graduates. You don't need to have a job offer to apply for this visa. This visa will allow you to stay in the UK for 2 years (3 years for PhD graduates) to work at any level of work, or look for work. You could switch from the Graduate Visa to the Skilled Worker visa once you were in a job which met the criteria for that.

The University's Student Immigration Service provides a detailed guide to applying for the Graduate Route visa. This provides answers to many of the questions you may have.

Graduate Route visa (Student Immigration Service)

Many large graduate employers will be aware of this relatively new visa but some employers might not. You may choose to explain your eligibility, or potential eligibility, to work in the UK in your cover letter or supporting statement.

You may wish to provide an explanation in your own words, or you can use one of these paragraphs of text:

Skilled Worker Visa

The Skilled Worker visa has replaced the Tier 2 route. The points-based criteria for the Skilled Worker visa are outlined below. The Eligibility Criteria section includes a link to the Register of Sponsors

Skilled Worker visa (Student Immigration Service)

Other types of visa

Read about other types of visa here:    

Working in the UK after studies (Student Immigration Service)   

Questions about your immigration status

If you have a question about your immigration status the Student Immigration Service’s website has information and they will answer enquiries: 

Student Immigration Service 

Another source of support, for international students in their final year who would like to stay in Scotland after graduating, is Scotland's Migration Service (part of Scotland.org, provided by the Scottish Government together with other agencies).

Scotland's Migration Service

Talking to employers about your immigration status

Claire Guy of Exeter Business School gives practical advice on recognising an employer's concerns about visas, using negotiation to encourage them to consider employing you, and developing your own confidence in understanding - and explaining - these visa routes. Read these LinkedIn posts:

Tips for getting a graduate job in the UK 

  • Make sure your English is fluent - you’ll be competing against native English speakers.

Other ways to develop  your language skills

   Developing your skills 

  • Develop your networks.  Making contact with people who already work for an organisation you’re interested in will not only give you extra insights – it could also lead to them making a personal recommendation. 

Develop your network and build your profile 

  • Target companies where you will bring added value. Any company that wants your language skills or knowledge of your home culture is more likely to want to hire you. Take advantage of opportunities to talk to employers at our events, and find out about companies’ plans. 

Exploring jobs, sectors and employers  

  • Get work experience in the UK. An internship with a large graduate recruiter would put you in a strong positions, but any kind of work experience will help.  

  • Develop your skills. UK employers want to see evidence that you have a range of transferable skills developed outside of your degree as well as within it.  

Build experience 

  • Be aware of graduate scheme deadlines. Large companies recruit the autumn before graduation, with most schemes closing by the end of October.  

Understand the recruitment process  

For advice on making applications see: 

Make it happen     

If you plan to look for work outside the UK, see our advice here:   

Finding jobs in other countries