People going to work

International students Working after 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.

Important points to consider

  • Remember that the UK immigration rules can change frequently, so do check the information on the UK government immigration rules 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 if they can apply to join you as Dependants
  • For many UK visa schemes, you may be required to have either nearly or fully completed your course before applying
  • Some UK visa routes may only 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

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

Visa advice

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.

Student visa and Tier 4 visa work conditions

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 (see below)

More information is in the Immigration Rules Appendix Student, paragraphs ST 26.5 and 26.6 and the Student route caseworker guidance

Working after studies

Please see the following options below. 

For students who are looking to work in the UK between completion of studies and the end of their Student visa or Tier 4 visa, please visit our Working During Studies page for more detailed information.


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.

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 endorsement from an endorsing body and, when successfully granted the visa, are expected to spend majority of their time working on their business.

The University of Strathclyde has a limited number of Start-Up Visa endorsements which are decided by Strathclyde Inspire, the University of Strathclyde's entrepreneuriship programme.

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.

Interested applicants must first engage with the Start-Up Team at Strathclyde Inspire for at least six months before being considered for Start-Up Visa endorsement.


The Innovator visa is for experienced businesspeople who are looking to establish an innovative business in the UK. Start-Up Visa holders may also apply to switch to this visa if they meet eligibility requirements and find an endorsing body for this visa.

The University of Strathclyde is not an endorsing body of the Innovator 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 Worker visa route (also 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 (T5) 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.

  • GOV.UK - 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
  • GOV.UK - Investor visa (Tier 1) - if you want to invest at least £2 million in the UK and meet other eligibility requirements
  • GOV.UK - 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)
  • GOV.UK - 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