Working After Study

Tier 1: Post study work visa

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) made some significant changes to the way the tier 1 post study work visa operates. From April 2012 they are not accepting new applications for tier 1 post study work visas, meaning international students must return to their home countries when they have completed their studies unless they are able to remain in the UK under one of the visas mentioned below.

This does not affect your ability to gain work experience while studying. Students at recognised bodes (universities) retain the right to work 20 hours a week part-time and to undertake work placements where the study to work ratio is 50:50 (UKBA summary)

These changes have not been made to deter students from studying in the UK but to eliminate those who abuse the visa system. The stringent regulations mean you can be assured that you are coming to study at a first-class education establishment and will get the most from your university experience.

Tier 1: Graduate Entrepreneur visa

This new immigration category was introduced in April 2012 and is aimed at students who have completed a degree course in the UK and who wish to develop ideas and entrepreneurial skills by setting up a business in the UK. Along with other Universities, Cardiff University successfully applied to UKBA to act as an immigration sponsor for graduates who wish to remain in the UK under this visa.   The total number of visa places available for UK institutions is 1000. Cardiff University has been allocated 10 places (5 of these places are specifically for MBA graduates only) during the academic year September 2013-14.

Tier 2: General visa

The tier 2 employer sponsored visa has been implemented to provide the opportunity for international students to remain in the UK following completion of their studies, provided they find an employer and job role which adheres to a set specification. Only graduates who have an offer of a skilled job from a sponsoring employer under Tier 2 of the points-based system will be able to stay to work.

You are eligible to apply for a tier 2 employer sponsored work visa if you have a job offer from an employer who is on the Sponsor Register of Employers and you are issued with a valid certificate of sponsorship. You will need the certificate to apply for the visa, as well as to pass the points-based assessment and meet a minimum salary of £20,300 for the post (in some cases the salary must be more).

Tier 4: Doctorate Extension Scheme

This is a new scheme in force from 06 April 2013. It is designed to give students who have almost finished their UK PhD or other doctorate qualification an additional 12 months of Tier 4 (General) immigration permission in which to look for and start work in the UK. 

Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange)

It is possible for students to apply in the UK under this visa category if they need to stay for training in order to qualify in a profession after their studies here. If this is of relevance to you, you should check with your professional body if it is or intends to become a Tier 5 sponsor. Further details are available on the UKBA website.

Intern in Britain

This is one of several Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchanges and is an opportunity for international students to work as an intern in the UK for up to six months. It is a great way to spend time living and working in Britain while gaining workplace experience which could also be relevant to your course of study or future career.

The new programme is officially known as the BUNAC Blue Card Internship Programme and is a Government Authorised Exchange (GAE). As Tier 5 programme sponsor, BUNAC is authorised by the UK Border Agency to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to successful applicants who can then apply for a visa before entering Britain.

On this new internship programme, participants are required to arrange the position before applying for the visa. Unfortunately BUNAC do not assist with securing an internship.

To be eligible for the scheme, you must be a non-EEA student and currently enrolled on a degree course, or a recent graduate (starting an internship within 12 months of completing your studies).

The internship must be:

  • Supernumerary
  • Set at NVQ Level 3 or above
  • Compliant with National Minimum Wage Legislation

If you are interested in finding out more about this scheme, please see the BUNAC website or contact Caroline Cooper by email or telephone on 020 7251 3472.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the working visa options available to you after your studies please contact Sophie Pandey, Student Support Officer, in Room Q09, (available Monday to Friday 2-4pm)
Telephone: +442920 870962

Contact Us

Cardiff Business School,
Cardiff University,
Aberconway Building,
Colum Drive,
CF10 3EU
United Kingdom

Phone: +44(0)29 2087 6013
Fax: +44 (0)29 2087 4419