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UK Tier 1 Post-study work visa update

Graduates looking to apply for the UK Tier 1 Post Study Work visa will want to apply as soon as they are able to; this visa category will be abolished in April 2012.

In March 2011, UK immigration announced they will close the Tier 1 Post-study work visa, which allows students 2 years to work in the UK after their course ends. In most cases only graduates who have an offer of a skilled job from a sponsoring employer under Tier 2 of the points-based system will be able to stay and work in the UK.

Currently, under the Tier 1 Post-study work (PSW) visa, visa holders can live in the UK and work for any employer. This is much easier to obtain and more flexible than a Tier 2 visa. If granted a visa under this category, you can switch into another tier of the points-based system.

Tier 1 PSW is part of the UK's points-based system, which is for migrants from outside Europe. You do not need to apply under the points-based system if you are a national of a country in the EU. Successful applicants in the Tier 1 PSW category will be able to stay in the UK for up to two years on this visa.

Those graduating from a UK university with a recognised degree will be able to switch into Tier 1 PSW. They will only be able to switch if they are in the UK, before their student visa expires. They can then switch again from a Tier 1 post study work visa to a tier 2 visa. The normal Tier 2 requirements will apply, except for the Resident Labour Market Test. This means that a Tier 2 employer will not have to show that the job was advertised and that no UK or EEA nationals could be found to fill the position. However, the job will have to be a graduate level job with the salary level as required under Tier 2, and the employer must have a Tier 2 sponsorship license.

In order to apply for a Tier 1 PSW visa applicants must:
  • have completed a Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree, PhD, a Post Graduate Certificate or Diploma from a recognised UK institute of higher education;
  • be able to support yourself without accessing public funds;
  • apply within 12 months of finishing the course;
  • meet the English language ability requirements; and
  • have sufficient funds at the time of application.
If you already have permission to stay in the UK as a student under the Tier 4 PBS system or are a postgraduate doctor or dentist, you can apply for Tier 1 PSW from inside the UK. If you are in any other immigration category, you will need to leave the UK and make your application from abroad.

If you meet all the requirements you can apply for the Tier 1 PSW visa until April 2012.

If you finish your course after April 2012 and Tier 1 Post-study work visa has been abolished, you might still be able to stay for work under Tier 2. Tier 2 visas are for jobs where there is no one suitable to do the job from the resident labour market, and occupations where there is a shortage of qualified workers.

If you would like to apply for a UK visa can help. is a specialist visa consultancy with over twenty years of experience dealing with visa applications. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to your country of choice. Please feel free to contact us for further details.