Students/ Post-study Visas

Tier 4 Students

People who have secured a place to study on a full-time basis at some form of educational institution may enter the UK as a student.   The new Tier 4 rules stipulate that the educational institution must hold a license to sponsor students.  In practice, at least 15 hours a week must be spent in study and the student must be able to meet the cost of the course, maintenance and accommodation without working. However, those on student visas may work 20 hours/week during term time and 40 hours/week during holidays. Normally there are no restrictions on a spouse and children working in the UK, if the student will be studying longer than one year.

Unless the entry clearance given to a student prohibits employment, students may work for up to 20 hours per week during term time and may also work full-time in the holidays. Higher term time hours may apply when agreed to by the college. Students are not permitted to be self-employed or work full-time in a permanent job.

Tier 1 Post-Study Worker

The Post-Study Worker sub-category is meant to retain the brightest foreign students who have studied in the UK (under the Tier 4 system). It is part of Tier 1 because successful applicants will be able to find work after graduation without having a sponsor.

However, it is only designed to be a bridge to highly skilled or skilled work, much like the current International Graduates Scheme it will replace. Those with student visas in the UK under Post-Study Work are expected to switch into another part of the points system (whether Tier 1 or another Tier) as soon as they are able to do so.  The new rules only allow applicants with Master’s degree or higher to apply under this category.

To encourage individuals to switch over, leave will only be granted under Post-Study Worker for a maximum of 2 years and is non-renewable. Time spent in the UK under Post-Study Worker will not count towards permanent residence. Students must apply for the Post-Study Worker sub-category within 12 months of receiving their qualification.

To apply under the points-based system and be accepted into the post-study worker category, you must pass a points-based assessment.

You must score:

  • 75 points for your attributes, which are a United Kingdom qualification, study at a United Kingdom institution, your immigration status during United Kingdom study and/or research, and the date of award of the qualification; and
  • 10 points for English language; and
  • 10 points for available maintenance (funds).