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 Masters, Bachelors and PhD graduates

    The Graduate route was launched by the Home Office on the 1 July 2021 and gives eligible sponsored students (student visa holders), the chance to apply for permission to stay in the UK for a further 2 years (3 for PhD students) to work or seek work.

    The University of Essex is a Higher Education provider that is listed on the Register of Student Sponsors as a "Student Sponsor - Track Record".

    If you are thinking of going onto further study in the UK, you may need to request a new CAS from your education provider to apply for a new Student visa. This is because the type of study you can do in the UK with permission to stay as a Graduate is restricted, for instance you wouldn’t be able to study a full or part-time Masters or PhD with a Student Sponsor. You can only have Graduate permission once, even if you apply to switch into another immigration route before your 2 or 3 years is up, so don’t waste it.

    Please be aware that, if you aren’t able to successfully complete your course by the course end date stated on the CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) you made to make your student visa application, you may not be eligible for further sponsorship under the Student route or to apply to the Graduate route.

    Which Essex qualifications are eligible qualifications for the Graduate route?

    Most Masters, Bachelors and PhD qualifications awarded by the University of Essex are eligible qualifications.

    If you are studying for a qualification that is below degree level or for a PG Diploma or Certificate you will not be eligible.

    Where can I apply for the Graduate route?

    It is only possible to apply from inside the UK for permission to stay under the Graduate route. You must be able to meet all the Graduate route requirements, including those on UK residency.

    How long do I have to be in the UK for?

    If you have completed a course lasting 12 months or less, the whole of the course must have been studied inside the UK on a valid student visa.

    If your course lasts longer than 12 months, you will need to have been granted student immigration permission for at least 12 months and have spent that time studying in the UK.

    However, there are Home Office concessions relating to residence in the UK due to the impact of Covid. You must make sure you are inside the UK by the date the Home Office have specified, you can find these dates in the Home Office Graduate route caseworker guidance and the Home Office Covid-19 concessions guidance, links to the Immigration Rules and Guidance can be found in the ‘Advice and Guidance’ section below.

    If you started an eligible course in 2020/2021 and it is up to 12 months long, you’ll need to be in the UK by the 27 September 2021 or before your student visa expires, whichever date is earlier. If you have already entered the UK on your student visa to study but have since returned overseas to study remotely, you must be back in the UK before your student visa expires.

    When can I apply?

    You must have a valid student visa (Tier 4 or Student route) on the date you apply, meet all the Graduate route rules and requirements and have received confirmation that your successful completion has been reported to the Home Office by the University, before your student visa expires.

    When will my successful completion be reported to the Home Office?

    Once the Exam Board of Examiners has awarded you your qualification, if it is a qualification that meets the requirements of the Graduate route, we will carry out other necessary checks as outlined in Document 2 of the Student Sponsor Guidance and if we are satisfied, your successful completion will be reported to the Home Office via their Sponsor Management System.

    You will receive a notification from the International Services Team that the successful completion report has been sent to the Home Office. It will take a few days for checks to be completed and your successful completion to be reported to the Home Office so please do not contact us as soon as you receive your award.

    If you do not receive an email to your essex.ac.uk address confirming the report to the Home Office within 10 working days of receiving your final exam board results awarding your Masters, Bachelors or PhD qualification, please contact our International Services Team via the online enquiry form for current students so we can check our records.

    If you are a Masters, Bachelors or PhD student, your student visa expires within 10 days of your final results being released and you haven’t yet received an email from us telling us we’ve reported your successful completion to the Home Office, contact our International Services Team via the online enquiry form for current students.

    Essex Undergraduates who were awarded their degree in July 2021 - we are currently working on identifying those we need to report to the Home Office and will be emailing you as soon as we’ve reported your successful completion. Please hold off applying until you’ve received our confirmation. We hope to have completed this work by the end of July 2021. If your student visa expires before then please contact us.

    I have reassessment, will I be able to apply?

    If you have been awarded your qualification and are choosing to take voluntary reassessment, we will report your successful completion to the Home Office when the University reassessment period is over, provided all other requirements are met. If your student visa expires before you are due to complete your reassessment, please contact our International Services Team via our online enquiry form for current students.

    If you haven’t been awarded your qualification and must re-submit coursework, your dissertation or re-take exams, you will not have successfully completed your course. If your student visa is still valid when you have received your final results following reassessment and you meet all criteria, we would report your successful completion at that time.

    If you are required to undertake reassessment inside the UK after your current student visa expires, please contact the International Services Team to request a CAS via our online enquiry form for current students. If you are eligible for a CAS and meet all the Student Immigration Rules and requirements, you will be able to apply for permission to study in the UK under the Student route, we are not able to sponsor students for reassessment that can be undertaken remotely from overseas.

    I have been awarded a lower level qualification than stated on my CAS, will I be able to apply?

    You can only apply if you have successfully completed an eligible Masters, Bachelors or PhD qualification, you can meet all the Graduate route Immigration Rules and requirements and we have reported your successful completion to the Home Office. If you have been awarded a lower level qualification, for instance a PG Diploma or PG Certificate, you won’t have successfully completed an eligible qualification. If you have completed a Masters but were sponsored for a PhD please contact the International Services Team via the online enquiry form for current students.

    Other useful information:

    • If you change to a different course than the one stated on your CAS, this may have an impact on your eligibility for the Graduate route if it is a lower level course or one that you can’t change to without getting a new visa first. You’ll be given guidance about the impact on your student visa when you receive confirmation of your change of course from the University.
    • If you switch into the Student route part way through your course, you may not be able to meet the UK residency requirements to be eligible for the Graduate route.
    • There will not be a requirement to show you have a certain amount of money (known as the 'maintenance requirement').
    • A dependent who is already in the UK as your dependent can apply as your Graduate route dependent. Dependants who are not already in the UK with a dependent visa will not be able to apply, except where a dependent child was born in the UK during a period of Student or Graduate permission.
    • Study will be permitted, provided that it is not study with a student sponsor on a course that would meet the requirements of the Student route.
    • Once your Graduate route permission to stay is granted your work restrictions will change and you’ll be able to do most types of work except be a professional sports person/coach.
    • The Graduate route does not count towards settlement.
    • Those whose Tier 4 or Student visa expires before 1 July 2021 will not be eligible to apply.
    • Those who have had Tier 4 (DES) will not be able to apply to stay longer under the Graduate route.
    • Those who have been granted Exceptional Assurance to stay in the UK after their visa expired due to Covid-19 may be eligible to apply.
    • If you finished your course early and your visa was or should have been curtailed to expire prior to 1 July 2021, you will not be eligible to apply.
    • It will not be possible to apply for further permission under the Graduate route. A Graduate may switch into a relevant skilled work route if suitable employment is found and the requirements of the route are met.
    • You can only apply for permission to stay under the Graduate route once.
    • If you are studying for a Masters you will not complete your course until you have passed all taught elements as well as your dissertation.

    Further Advice and Guidance

    Home Office rules and guidance:

    Please read the UKCISA guidance about working after studies and specifically their Graduate route guidance for more information.

    University advisers are only able to offer immigration advice regarding the UK’s Student Immigration Rules and guidance. If you require further immigration advice you will need to contact UKCISA’s student advice line or an immigration solicitor.

    • 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.

      Find our more about how to qualify to apply to the Essex scheme and contact our Essex Startups Team if you have any questions.

      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.

      As a Tier4/Student visa holder you can work on a business idea but your work conditions do not allow you to engage in business activity so you must not start your business until you have been granted your Start-up visa, unless your most recent Tier4/Student visa was granted on or after 1 October 2019 in which case you can start your business when you have submitted your Start-up visa application to the Home Office. Find out more about what you can and can’t do and when by reading the Home Office guidance for endorsing bodies (.pdf).

      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 Start-up.

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