What is Post Study Work Visa?
The Post Study Work (PSW) visa was first introduced in 2004. Initially, it allowed international STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) graduates to gain one year of work experience after their graduation.
Over time, the rules became very generous and allowed all kinds of graduates with any degree to stay in UK for 2 years with no restrictions on skill level. However, in 2012 the PSW visa was eventually closed to all international applicants based on the concerns of the increasing unemployment rate of British graduates.
PSW for Overseas Students
Overseas students are not provided post study work visa and are allowed to stay in the UK for only 4 months after the completion of their course.
In 2016, UK Parliament’s Scottish affairs committee suggested that PSW visa for international students should be reinstated because the non - EU graduates moving onto Work VISA in Scotland has declined by 80% since 2012.
However, the suggestion was rejected by the British government stating that “Applying different immigration rules to different parts of the UK will be more complicated not only for the national Immigration security reasons but also for the employers with a presence in many parts of the UK.?
In 2019, a new two year post study work visa was announced by the British Government to provide an opportunity to the successful international students for taking up a career in the UK.
This new pathway was referred as “Graduate Immigration Route?. The guidance for the Graduate Immigration Route was updated again in 2020 with key features of the route like application process, eligibility, etc.
Introducing the New Route
The new post study work route is available to all the students who apply for courses in the UK in September 2020 or later. It takes time to develop and implement new immigration rules. Hence, introducing the route in the summer of 2021 means that all the students who graduate in the summer of 2021 or after will be benefitted, regardless of when they started their course.
- New Graduation Immigration Route is available to all the international students who have completed any bachelor's or master's degree with a track record of compliance.
- This will be launched in the summer of 2021, which means the students who enter UK for 2020-21 academic year intakes will only be able to apply.
- Students will be benefitted from this policy if they enter the UK before April 2021 and complete their final semester in the UK.
- Also, this immigration route includes students who have already started their courses.
- Due to COVID-19, the current and future students may be required to continue their course by distance or blended learning.
- In such case, the students will be eligible to switch into the Graduate Route on a concessionary basis even if they have spent some of their study time outside of the UK.
- This is not applicable to the students who completed their studies in the summer of 2020.
- The students should have a valid Tier 4 visa at the time of application.
- Students whose Tier 4 visa expires before the route is introduced are not eligible for the post study work visa.
- The Graduation Immigration Route alias the post study work visa will require an in-country application.
- Application fee and Immigration Health Surcharge payment may also be applicable.
- Students will be subjected to various security checks.
Work After Graduation
- The new post study visa allows students to work after their graduation.
- Any student who enrolls at the UK University can stay in UK to work or look for a job opportunity for up to two years.
- This applies to graduates of all higher education providers recognized as ‘licensed visa sponsors’.
- Post Graduate work visa is meant to provide more time for the students to find a job after attending the university.
- It doesn’t affect how much a student works while studying.
Extending Post Study Work Visa
- The successful applicants for this route can be able to stay and search for work in the UK for a maximum period of two years.
- Post study work visa is not extendable after two years. If the students find a suitable job, they can switch to skilled work visa.
Situation After Post Study Visa Ends
- Within two years of graduation, the student should be able to find a job in UK.
- After post study work visa expires, if the student wishes to stay longer in the UK, they have to apply for a transfer of their current visa to ‘General (or) Skilled Work visa’.
- For this visa transfer, the student must satisfy the requirements of Tier 2 – General Work visa.
- If the student doesn’t have any job before the end of two years, they must leave the UK.
University & Course Restrictions to Apply for Post Study Work Visa
- International graduates from all the UK universities and all kind of academic disciplines are eligible for the Graduate Immigration Route.
- In 2019, the visa rules are relaxed for the students graduating from higher degrees like Masters or PhD’s in the STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
- But in 2020, the relaxation is extended to all graduates of any degree. However, the student should complete a full time course in a UK University.
- These new visa rules may not be applicable to some of the courses like English language course, A- levels, Baccalaureate or any kind of short term courses.
- All the universities that are recognized by the British Government as a trusted institutions, also called ‘licensed sponsors’ are eligible for the post study work visa.
- Such Universities are required to keep their ‘proven track record’ updated regarding upholding immigration and visa checks.
- So the students should double check and confirm that the university they chose to study is confirmed on this list.
Advantages Of Post Study Work Visa In The UK
This new policy by the British Government is a very positive change which is aimed at the retention of Global talent in the UK. It also helps to boost the UK economy.
After the announcement of new post study work visa, there has been a significant increase in the number of international applicants to the UK Universities. The many advantages for the international students are:
- Residence and work permit is provided to the overseas students even after course completion.
- Students can expect to start their international career in the UK.
- Very few European countries other than the UK provide liberal student work visa policies.
- Better chances of a smoother transition from Tier 4 – Student visa to Tier 2 – work visa is possible after the two year duration.