Working in the UK after Completing your Studies

Please see below for more information about the different visa routes that would allow for you to work in the UK after you complete your course. These visa types have different requirements and conditions, so you should read them carefully to check that they apply to your circumstances. Some may allow for a visa application in the UK whereas others may require you to apply from overseas.

The Graduate visa is a post study immigration route that allows graduates to remain in the UK for 2 years (or 3 years for PhD graduates) after their studies, to work or look for work. The work can be in any sector and at any level, without any minimum salary requirements or the need for visa sponsorship. Graduate visa holders are also able to start their own business or to be self-employed.

Important: you cannot make an application under this visa route until you have been awarded your degree and the Student Immigration Team has confirmed your eligibility to UKVI.  

For further information about the Graduate route visa eligibility requirements see this website 

The Start Up visa route was designed for people wishing to start an innovative business in the UK and is now closed to new applications.

The replacement is the Innovator Founder visa route which offers a visa without the need to hold investment funds and which permits work in a skilled occupation alongside running your business. Time under the Innovator Founder route and time under the route will count towards permanent residency (settlement).

When applying with your business idea, you will still need to demonstrate that you meet the following criteria:

  • Innovation: Is there a genuine business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creatives a competitive advantage?
  • Viability: Does the applicant have the necessary skills, knowledge, experience, and market awareness to successfully run the business?
  • Scalability: Is there evidence of structures planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets?
  • The university is not eligible to sponsor you under this Route and there are currently only four government approved endorsing bodies going forward who are charging a minimum of £1000 for providing the endorsement and monitoring your progress.

While the University is not a visa sponsor under this route, support is available for graduates looking to start a business. Contact the University of Manchester's Masood Entrepreneurship Centre for further information. 

Some University of Manchester students may have the option to apply for a High Potential Individual visa having completed a degree in the past five years from a top 50 overseas institution, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

If you are a graduate of an eligible institution, please be aware that you will not be able to switch into the High Potential Individual Route until your course completion date as stated on your CAS has passed or you have completed at least 24 months of your PhD programme. 

You cannot obtain a High Potential Individual visa if you have previously obtained either a Graduate visa or a Doctorate Extension Scheme visa.

This is the main visa route used for those working in the UK. You must find an employer who is a Skilled Worker Sponsor, and the position must meet certain criteria in order for the employer to be able to sponsor you such as the job being a specific role and having a minimum salary. You may be able to switch from Tier 4 or Student into to the Skilled Worker from inside in the UK if you meet all the necessary requirements.

The University's Careers Service provides specialist resources, advice and events for international students to help with career planning. For more information on Skilled Worker visas please also visit the UKVI website and the UKCISA website.

The Tier 5 Youth Mobility is a visa that is valid for two years and it allows you to work or study. Only students with certain types of British nationality or from certain countries are eligible to apply. You would need to return to your home country to apply for the visa

To be eligible you must be aged 18 – 30 and have £2530 in savings and it costs £244 for the visa application.

For more information read the information on the UKVI website

There is also useful information on the UKCISA website

This visa route is designed for graduates to work in the UK for a short time to complete a paid internship or training in the UK. You must have sponsorship to apply for Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange but the sponsorship comes from an over-arching body instead of an employer.

There is useful information on the UKCISA website and the Careers Service website

You need to read the information on the UKVI website about how to apply

AISEC is an over-arching body that can offer sponsorship to you under Tier 5 (GAE). Other over-arching bodies who can offer your sponsorship under Tier 5 are BUNAC and Tier 5 intern

The UKVI website lists all of the over-arching bodies that can sponsor you under Tier 5.