International students Working after your studies

This information is for current Student visa holders and Tier 4 visa students considering working in the UK who are nearing completion of studies or who have recently completed their studies.

These visa routes offer the possibility for those who are looking to stay in the UK to work under a UK immigration route. 

UK immigration rules can change frequently and often, so check the information on the UK government immigration rules pages regularly

For more information on Student visa and Tier 4 visa work conditions and hours, including the period between when you complete your course and when your visa expires, please see our Working during studies page

What you need to know

  • Remember that the UK immigration rules can change frequently, so do check the information on the UK government immigration rules web pages regularly and before you submit a visa application
  • You will have to pay a UK visa application fee and Immigration Health Surcharge
  • Check whether your spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner and children can apply to join you as Dependants
  • You may be required to have either fully completed your course (Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught students) or have completed 24 months of study (Postgraduate Research students) before applying to switch to a visa route
  • Some UK visa routes may restrict you to applying in the UK or outside the UK only
  • UK visa routes will often have strict financial and document requirements - plan early and obtain and prepare your supporting documents as soon as possible
  • If you are or have been financially sponsored by a government or international scholarship agency in the last 12 months before applying for a UK visa route, you may require written consent from your sponsor before applying for that visa route
  • If you are eligible to apply in the UK, you must make your application before your current visa expires

The International Student Support Team can advise on the Student visa as a Student visa sponsor and applicants endorsed by Strathclyde Inspire for the Start-Up Visa, as an endorser of this visa type.

For advice on other UK visa routes, you may need to contact a sponsor or endorsing body for the visa route you wish to apply or a qualified solicitor who specialises in UK immigration law.

More information:

Student visa holders and Tier 4 visa holders can do most kinds of work. 

However, you are not permitted to:

  • be self-employed or undertake any 'business activity'
  • work as a professional or semi-professional sportsperson, including as a sports coach
  • work as an entertainer
  • work as a doctor or dentist in training, unless you are on a foundation programme
  • take a permanent full-time job, unless you meet the conditions in the Immigration Rules Appendix Student, paragraph ST 26.6

More information:



Visa options

The Graduate Route provides international students with the opportunity to stay and live and work in the UK after graduation. 

See our ISST page below for more information.

Please note the Start-up visa route is now closed to new endorsements. The following information is for those who hold Start-up permission endorsed by the University of Strathclyde.

The Start-Up Visa offers those with an innovative, viable and scalable business idea an opportunity to apply for a two-year endorsed visa to start a business in the UK for the first time. Applicants must receive an endorsement letter from an endorsing body by 13 April 2023 and, when successfully granted the visa, are expected to spend majority of their time working on their business.

Please note, however, if you have a Graduate Route visa and establish a business in the UK while on the Graduate Route visa, you will not be eligible to switch to the Start-Up Visa. One of the main requirements of the Start-Up Visa is that the business idea is a new idea and that you cannot join in a business that is already trading.


The Innovator Founder visa opened on 13 April 2023. This route replaces the Start-up Visa route and the Innovator visa route which have now closed.

The route is for individuals looking to start a new, innovative, viable and scalable business in the UK. An endorsing body is required to endorse your business idea.

The University of Strathclyde is not an endorsing body of the Innovator Founder visa. A list of endorsing bodies of the Innovator visa is available below.

The Skilled Worker Visa replaced the Tier 2 (General) visa route on 1 December 2020. This visa route allows applicants to come or stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer. 

This visa requires sponsorship by a licensed employer. The International Student Support Team are unable to advise on switching from a Tier 4 visa or Student visa to a Skilled Worker visa. Students can visit the following pages for more information on eligibility requirements, the application process and a list of organisations licensed to sponsor workers on the Skilled Worker route.

The Temporary Work visa route (previously known as Tier 5) offers several schemes allowing individuals to undertake specific types of work for a period of one or two years. 

Certain nationalities can apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme visa if you are of a certain age bracket, have savings and want to live/work in the UK for up to two years. This visa also permits study and work in most jobs. 

The Government Authorised Exchange visa scheme is for individuals who wish to come to the UK for work experience, to do training, or research. In order apply for this visa, you must have a sponsor and meet the other eligibility requirements. 

For a full list of Temporary Worker visa routes, please visit the following pages. 

Other visa options are available but for specific situations. For details on eligibility and requirements, please see the following pages.

  • British National (Overseas) visa - if you are from Hong Kong with a British National (Overseas) passport who wants to live, work or study in the UK
  • High Potential Individual (HPI) visa - if you have an undergraduate or postgraduate degree from one of the top global universities from outside the UK, list of eligible institutions in link
  • Global Talent visa - if you are an internationally recognised leader or potential leader in arts and culture, humanities and social sciences, natural sciences and medical science research, engineering or digital technology (this replaced the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa)
  • UK ancestry visa - if you are a Commonwealth citizen, British Overseas Territories citizen, British National (Overseas), British Overseas citizens or British subject who intends to work in the UK and meet other eligibility requirements
  • Scale-up Worker visa - if you are doing an eligible job for a fast-growing UK business (sometimes called "scale-up business"), your UK employer must meet eligibility criteria to sponsor scale-up workers
  • India Young Professionals Scheme visa - if you are an Indian national between ages 18 to 30, visa is to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years and you must be selected through India Young Professionals Scheme ballot

 There are also the Global Business Mobility routes, which have five different visa routes: