// Post-Study Work Visa (Graduate Route)

On 11 September 2019 the UK Government announced the creation of a new graduate immigration route. Post-Study Work (PSW) visa allows international students who achieve a qualification at undergraduate level or above to remain in the UK for up to two years to seek or do work. 

The route will be open to international students who entered the UK in the academic year 2020/21 onwards and have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at reputable higher education institutions. 

Successful applicants on this route will be able to stay and work, or look for work, in the UK for a maximum period of two years. Graduates will also be able to switch into skilled work visas once they have found a suitable job. 

This route replaces the old route which allowed international students to remain and work for two years after study, and closed in 2012.

Who is eligible to apply?

The Graduate route is available to international students, who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above (or one of the limited number of professional qualifications at degree level or above) at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance, and who have a valid Tier 4 or Student visa at the time of application.

You will need to have completed the entirety of your course in the UK as a student, apart from permitted study abroad programmes or remote study due to COVID-19, for which specific concessions have been agreed. The route does not require you to show funds or finance, and you do not need to demonstrate English language ability when applying, as you will have already proved English language ability by successfully completing your degree at a UK university. You must have completed the qualification that was named on the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) associated with your Student (or Tier 4) visa, or following a change of course which was allowed without applying for further permission 


The cost to apply to the Graduate route is £700 (for both two and three-year Graduate route applications) and you will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of your application. This gives you access to the UK’s National Health Service
on generally the same basis as a UK permanent resident. The Immigration Health Surcharge costs £624 per year and the full amount needs to be paid when applying. Dependants will also be required to pay the application fee of £700, as well as the
Immigration Health Surcharge. 

When should I apply?

You should apply to the Graduate route once your university has sent you your final course results, and not before this. You do not have to wait until you have graduated to apply. You must be in the UK when you apply. Those who apply from outside of the UK will be rejected and refused entry to the UK and could lose their eligibility to apply for the Graduate route as a whole. In addition, application fees may not be refunded. You should not leave the UK or Common Travel Area whilst you are waiting for a
decision on your application. Doing so may affect your eligibility for the Graduate route and result in you being unable to re-enter the UK. If your visa expires after you have applied to the Graduate route, you will be permitted to remain in the UK whilst your application is being considered.

How do I apply?

The application process will be slightly different to what you experienced when you first applied to study in the UK. For the vast majority of applicants, the process will be entirely digital, and if your application is successful, you will be issued with an eVisa. You will start your application at GOV.UK where you will create a UK Visas and Immigration account and use the ‘UK Immigration ID Check’ app to verify your identity. To do this, you will need your Biometric Residence Card or Permit (BRC/P), which would have been given to you when you were granted your Student (or Tier 4) visa. If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you can use your biometric passport to verify your identity on the app. 

Those unable to use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app, will need to visit a UK Visas and Citizenship Application Services centre (UKVCAS) to complete the application process. You’ll be told how to book this when you apply. You will need the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number from your current Student (or Tier 4) visa to apply under this route so make sure you have this to hand. If you do not know your CAS number, contact your university. You do not need a new CAS to apply, you should use your existing one. Receiving your decision and accessing your eVisa If you have applied using the digital route, as soon as you get notification of the decision on your Graduate route application, you will be able to view your immigration status digitally (eVisa) and prove your rights in the UK.

You will use your UKVI account credentials to sign into the online View and Prove service on GOV.UK, which is where you can access your eVisa.

To sign in to view your eVisa, you’ll need:
• Details of your passport or BRC/P you used to apply
• Your date of birth
• Access to the mobile number or email address you used when you applied -
you’ll then be sent a code for logging in.

What are the conditions of the Graduate route?

Under the Graduate route, you are allowed to take up extra study, but you cannot study with a student sponsor on a course which would meet the requirements of a Student visa, and you cannot study at a state school. You are not allowed to bring new dependants. Dependants already in the UK as a Student dependant may apply as a dependant of a Graduate at the same time the Graduate applies to the route. The Graduate route is non-extendable and does not count towards settlement. However, if you find suitable employment, you will be able to switch into various work routes from the Graduate route.

Can I switch into the Skilled Worker Route?

From the Graduate route, you may be able to switch to the Skilled Worker route if you meet the relevant requirements, which allows you to stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer. It is for a maximum of five years, and contributes to
settlement rights – meaning you may be able to apply to live permanently in the UK. The Graduate route does not count towards settlement rights. 

To be eligible for the Skilled Worker route, you must demonstrate:
• you have a job offer from a Home Office-licensed sponsor at the
required skill level
• you will be paid the relevant minimum salary threshold by your sponsor
(normally £25,600 or the going rate for that particular job, whichever is higher)
• you can speak English at the intermediate level at B1 (on the Common European
Framework of Reference for languages).

Find out more information on the Skilled Worker route on GOV.UK. 

You may also be able to switch into various other work routes including the Global Talent and Innovator routes, more information can be found on GOV.UK.

Find out more about the Graduate route and apply on GOV.UK

Get in Touch with Us

To know more about the next steps you should take, you can book a free 1:1 consultation with one of CIUK’s expert consultants. Just send your CV to info@careerinteractive.org with the header, “PSW Visa”. To find the right program that could guide you best in your job applications, register to CIUK’s platform today.


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