Students Staff

Working in the UK after your studies

It may be possible for you to stay on in the UK for practical training or work experience or for full-time employment depending on your circumstances. Read the UKCISA Information and guidance on all current schemes and contact their student advice line if you have any questions.

As an Essex Graduate or student the schemes mentioned below may be of interest to you.

  • Graduate route – Essex students graduating from the summer of 2021

    The scheme is not available to apply to at the current time and the Immigration Rules have not been published so no further guidance is available other than stated below.

    The Home Office released a fact sheet shortly after they announced the introduction of the Graduate route and the "UK points-based immigration system: further details statement", released on 13 July 2020. When this is introduced the Tier 4 (DES) scheme will be removed.

    You will not need to be sponsored by an employer or by the University, but your degree must be awarded by a Higher Education provider that is listed on the Register of Student Sponsors as a "Student Sponsor - Track Record". Eligible qualifications awarded by the University of Essex will qualify for the scheme.

    We understand that the University will be required to let the Home Office know who has successfully completed their course but we do not know how we will be expected to do this.

    Here’s what we understand so far:

    The route is for students with a Tier 4 or Student route visa who will complete an eligible degree in or after the summer of 2021 (exact date unknown). From information published so far, it does not appear that those completing certificates, diplomas or other non-degree qualifications will be eligible, even if they are "degree-level".

    Study must be undertaken in the UK, but there are concessions for people who have been distance learning outside the UK due to the COVID-19 pandemic. See below:

    • Undergraduate and master's degree students will be able to apply to stay for two years.
    • PhD students will be able to apply to stay for three years.
    • If you change your course, other than to add a year abroad or work placement, you may not be eligible to apply.
    • It will not be possible to extend this type of immigration permission but it will be possible to switch into another route if you meet the requirements, for example Skilled Worker.
    • There will not be a requirement to show you have a certain amount of money (known as the 'maintenance requirement').
    • The further details statement published on 13 July 2020 says in paragraph 98 that a dependant who is already in the UK as your Tier 4 or Student route dependant can apply as your Graduate route dependant. It appears to be the intention that dependants who are not already in the UK will not be able to apply.
    • The further details statement also says in paragraph 98 that "Supplementary study is allowed, but not at a Student route sponsor". This suggests that the government intends to restrict study under the Graduate route to recreational or informal study, and prohibit study at a college or university that is on the Register of Student Sponsors.
    • There will be an application fee and you will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).
    • There will be restrictions on the type of work you can do.
    • We believe that those with Tier 4 (DES) permission will not be able to apply to stay longer under the Graduate route.

    If you are studying remotely overseas (distance learner) – 2020/2021 academic year

    If you are studying outside the UK through distance learning because of Covid-19 in 2020/2021, the Home Office have specified when you must be inside the UK studying to qualify for the Graduate route. Read the Coronavirus (COVID-19): Student sponsors, migrants and short-term students guidance for more information.

    In all cases, you must have a valid Student/Tier 4 visa when you apply for permission to stay in the UK under the Graduate route and; you must meet all the requirements (not yet known) and;

    • If your course finishes in summer 2021, you need to be in the UK on or before 6 April 2021 and you must study your last semester in the UK; this includes you if you started a one-year Master's course in October 2020.
    • If you start a one-year Master's course in January 2021, you must be in the UK before 27 September 2021 and complete the final semester of your course in the UK.
    • If your course is longer than one year and does not end in summer 2021, any period of time you have spent studying by distance learning outside the UK will not affect an application under the Graduate route.
  • Tier 4 (DES) - for Essex PhD students nearing completion

    This scheme is designed to give Tier 4 students who have almost finished their UK PhD or other doctorate qualification, an additional 12 months of Tier 4 (General) immigration permission to remain in the UK. Our University is participating in this scheme so, if you haven’t yet completed your University of Essex PhD and have a valid Tier 4 (General) visa, read the details in our Tier 4 (DES) web page to find out more.

    This scheme will be removed when the new Graduate route comes into force.

  • Essex Start-up scheme - for recent Essex Graduates and final year students

    The Start-up scheme is for those wishing to remain in the UK for 2 years to set up a new UK business which is innovative, viable and scalable. The University of Essex is an authorised Start-up endorsing body.

    Our Essex Startups Team based at Studio X administer the Essex Start-up scheme and will assess if you and your business meet the criteria to be considered for endorsement. Endorsements are limited and this scheme is a competitive one. Only recent Essex Graduates who studied a full time degree course and Essex students in the final year of their full time degree course will be able to apply to the Essex scheme.

    You can find out more about how to meet the criteria to apply to the Essex scheme.

    To be eligible to make an immigration application under this scheme you must be able to meet all the Immigration Rules and requirements in force at the time, these include but are not limited to:

    • Applicants must not have previously established a business in the UK and;
    • Must not have already had 2 years leave in the Start-up or Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category and;
    • Must have a valid Tier 4/Student visa and be able to make a valid Start-up application before that permissions expires.

    Read the Home Office guidance and Immigration rules for more information about applying for permission to stay.

    If you have been endorsed and would like guidance about making your Start-up application please read the UKCISA guidance and contact their student advice line or SUAdvice if you have any questions.

    Extending your permission to stay – Innovator scheme

    It isn’t possible to apply for further permission to stay under the Start-up scheme but you may be eligible to apply to the Innovator scheme. The University is not an endorsing body for this scheme. We recommend you read the Immigration Rules Appendix Innovator. For details of the Innovator scheme, see the guide to the Innovator scheme on the Home Office website.

    If you require immigration advice about this scheme you will need to contact an immigration lawyer.

  • Skilled Worker

    The Skilled Worker route replaces Tier 2. You will need to be sponsored by your employer to apply under this route. We recommend reading the UKCISA guidance and the Home Office website for more information.

    If you are offered sponsorship by an employer under this immigration route and are within 3 months of completing your Essex course or are a PhD student who has studied for 12 months or more, you may require a letter from the University. You can request a letter from our International Services Team by filling in our online enquiry form for current students., When requesting a letter, please confirm your intended start date, your employer’s details and whether they have issued you with a Certificate of Sponsorship.

    Our International Services Team aren’t authorised to provide immigration advice about applying to the Skilled Worker route. If you require immigration advice you can ask your sponsor, contact the UKCISA student advice line or an immigration lawyer.

Other work categories

To read about all the current immigration routes that allow work and find out if you might be eligible read the UKCISA Information and guidance on working after studies.

For further immigration advice about applying for permission to stay in the UK to work after you’ve finished studying, contact the UKCISA student advice line or SUAdvice for guidance about Tier 4 (DES) or Start-up.

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