Post Study Work Visa UK

Post Study Work Visa UK

Post Study Work Visa UK

The Post Study Work Visa (PSW) is a type of visa available to international students in the United Kingdom who have completed their degree program. This visa allows students to remain in the UK for up to two years after their studies to work and gain valuable experience in their field. The PSW visa was reintroduced in 2020 after being discontinued in 2012 and is aimed at attracting talented graduates to stay and contribute to the UK economy. The PSW visa is a popular option for international students looking to kickstart their careers in the UK. It provides an opportunity to gain practical work experience and potentially secure a job offer for longer-term work in the UK. In this context, the PSW visa is a key aspect of the UK’s immigration policy and has important implications for international students and the UK economy. In this article, we will explore the key features and benefits of the Post Study Work Visa UK, as well as the requirements and application process.

Overview of the Post Study Work Visa

The Post Study Work Visa (PSW) is a visa category that allows international students who have completed a degree at a UK institution to remain in the country and work for up to two years. The visa was first introduced in 2004 and was later discontinued in 2012 but was reintroduced in 2020 to attract talented international graduates to the UK.

The PSW visa is a points-based system; applicants must score at least 70 points to be eligible. Points are awarded based on various criteria, including the applicant’s education, English language proficiency, and financial ability to support themselves during their stay in the UK. Additionally, applicants must have completed an eligible degree program at a recognized UK institution within the last two years and must not have previously held a PSW visa.

Benefits of the PSW visa

The PSW visa offers several benefits to international students who wish to remain in the UK after completing their studies. Firstly, it provides an opportunity to gain valuable work experience in the UK, which can enhance their career prospects and help them to develop new skills. Secondly, the visa allows students to explore various industries and sectors in the UK, allowing them to network with professionals and build contacts within their field of interest. Lastly, the PSW visa can lead to a more permanent settlement in the UK, as it provides a pathway to other immigration options, such as the Skilled Worker Visa or the Innovator Visa.

Changes to the PSW visa UK in 2023

The UK government has implemented a series of amendments to the Post-Study Work (PSW) visa and other student-related visa routes in 2023, notably impacting international students and their dependants. The Home Office has delineated these changes in the recent update to the Student Visa guide published on their website.

In a significant development, international students pursuing a postgraduate course at RQF level 7 or 8, starting on or after 1st January 2024, can bring or retain their dependants (partners and children) in the UK. This provision applies to government-sponsored students enrolled in a course lasting beyond 6 months or full-time students engaging in a postgraduate level course (RQF level 7 or above) that spans 9 months or more.

It’s essential to note that students can still bring or keep their dependants in the UK if their course commences before 1st January 2024, provided they are enrolled in a postgraduate level 7 research course or a postgraduate level 8 PhD or other doctorate course. However, this privilege will cease for those studying a postgraduate level 7 taught or a lower level course after 31st December 2023.

Furthermore, according to the statement of changes to the immigration rules HC 1496 published on 17th July 2023, students will be prohibited from transitioning to the Skilled Worker Visa route from 15:00 (UK time), 17th July 2023, if they have not fulfilled or do not complete the course specified on their CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies).

Importantly, there are no alterations concerning the current provisions pertaining to the Graduate Visa, also known as the Post-Study Work (PSW) Visa. These changes are in alignment with the UK Government’s ‘Changes to student visa route‘ directive issued in May 2023, aiming to streamline the immigration process and uphold the integrity of the UK education system.

Also read: 

Post Study Work Visa UK Eligibility

The UK clarifies post study work visa eligibility after confusion. The Graduate Route is intended to be available to anyone with a UK degree who holds a Tier 4 visa when the system was introduced in 2021.

The Home Office has announced the following key features of the route:

  • It will be open to international students who have completed a course of study at undergraduate (RQF 6) level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance and who have a valid and extant student visa at the time of application;
  • The application process will be simple. There will be an application fee, and applicants will pay the Immigration Health Surcharge;
  • Applicants will be subject to identity, criminality, and security checks;
  • The leave period granted will be two years and will be non-extendable. Settlement rights will not be accrued;
  • Individuals will be able to work, or look for work, in any sector, at any level;
  • Individuals can switch to the skilled work route if they meet the requirements.

The new Graduate Route will be available to postgraduate students who hold a valid Tier 4 visa at the end of one of the following courses:

  • A one-year Master’s beginning in the 2020-21 academic year or later;
  • A two-year Master’s beginning in the 2019-20 academic year or later;
  • A three-year Master’s (or longer) or a Ph.D. beginning in the 2018-19 academic year or later;
  • Students completing other postgraduate (or undergraduate) degree-level courses will also be eligible, provided they graduate in the summer of 2021 or later.

Unfortunately, the Graduate Route isn’t available if you begin a one-year Masters in the 2019-20 academic year. This is because your program will finish, and your Tier 4 visa will expire before the route is introduced. However, you may still be able to apply for a Tier 2 (skilled worker) visa or benefit from the Graduate Route after completing a Ph.D.

You must apply to the Graduate Route before your Tier 4 student visa expires. This is four months after your course’s end (six months for Master’s students under the Tier 4 visa Pilot).

However, it isn’t clear whether the new two-year duration of the Graduate Route will be in addition to the post-study period allowed by the Tier 4 visa. Therefore, you may need to apply to the Graduate Route before your course finishes (and not be able to combine the two periods of post-study work allowance).

EU nationals

EU and EEA students do not need a visa to study in the UK, but this may change due to Brexit. If so, the Graduate Route would be available to EU and EEA students and other international students.

But when that period ends, and the PSW visa expires, anyone who wants to stay longer in.

Generally, graduates from all UK universities are eligible for a post-study work visa. The condition is that the British government recognizes it as a trusted institution, also called a ‘licensed sponsors.’

Qualify for Tier 2 General Visa Uk

Qualify for Tier 2 General Visa UK

To qualify for Tier 2, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • You must have a job offer from an employer who holds a Tier 2 sponsors license;
  • Your job must be in a shortage area or be at a minimum skill level;
  • It must be at a minimum wage of £20,800 (though this can be higher depending on the job);
  • It must have met the Resident Market Labour Test. This means it has to be advertised for a minimum period in approved locations, and there was no UK candidate of the same caliber or higher available at the interview. Please note: International Graduates are exempt from this requirement if they apply within four months of the end date of their course and have a valid Tier 4 visa;
  • You need to prove your English language. Successful completion of a UK degree automatically qualifies you for this;
  • You must meet the minimum maintenance requirement.

Switch From Tier 4 to Tier 2

If you wish to switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2 in the UK, you must meet the following:

  • You hold a valid Tier 4 visa;
  • You have completed at least 12 months of study in the UK towards a UK Ph.D., or
  • You have completed a UK-recognized Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or a UK Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), Professional Graduate Diploma of Education (PGDE), or
  • You will complete such a course in fewer than three months after you make the Tier 2 application. If you are applying after you have completed the course but before you have your results, then you will need a letter from your department to confirm this and, therefore, should request your department to contact the Student Immigration Advice Team so we can provide them with a template for this;
  • You have completed and passed (received your official award results) for a Bachelor’s degree or postgraduate Master’s or Doctorate studies. Postgraduate Certificates or Diplomas are not eligible;
  • You meet the general Tier 2 criteria as above (except for the Resident Market Labour Test, which is exempt for Tier 4 visa holders);
  • You can find more information about this on the Home Office and UKCISA websites.

Further details can be found on the UKVI website.


The Post Study Work Visa is an excellent opportunity for international students who wish to remain in the UK after completing their studies. The recent changes to the visa in 2023 make it even more attractive, providing international graduates with more flexibility and opportunities to gain valuable work experience in the UK. If you are an international student in the UK, the PSW visa may be a viable option for you to extend your stay and explore career opportunities in the UK.

Share this post