The closure of Post-Study Work has left many students thinking that the United Kingdom has closed its doors to them. However, that is not entirely the case. Even though the work-options are monitored, assessed and approved differently, there are opportunities available for students to work in the UK after study in UK. Here, it is worth mentioning that the processes are much stricter and opportunities are fewer as compared to what they were under policies adopted
Here a few options that you as a student have to work in the UK after your graduation
Tier 1 – Entrepreneur
This route is for non-European migrants who want to invest in the UK by setting up or taking over, and being actively involved in the running of, a business or businesses in the UK. You need to check the eligibility criteria before you apply. As with the other visa categories, you will need to accumulate 95 points between capital funds, maintenance funds, industry you are working on and English requirements.
The major setback is the amount of money that you need to demonstrate in order to apply as the UKBA needs to confirm that you have £50,000 available for your investment. But if you have been working on a small business, you can prove experience and commitment.
Tier 1 - Graduate Entrepreneur
As a way to replace the now closed Post study work visa, the government introduced a new visa route, the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category. This category allows the UK to retain (non-European) graduates identified by UK higher education institutions as having developed world class innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills, to extend their stay in the UK after graduation to establish business.
The great advantage is that applicants of this category do not have to comply with the criteria requested for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route. However, your business idea will need to be assessed by an authorised UK higher education institution, which will often be your university. They will also endorse your intention to spend the majority of your working time on developing business ventures.
Only those who graduate from a university, and have an offer of a skilled job at a salary of at least £20,000 (or more in some cases) from a reputable employer accredited by the UK Border Agency, will be able to continue living and working in the UK in order to benefit the British economy.
Before anything, you need to make sure you meet the eligibility criteria. There is a limit of 1,000 places for each of the periods 6 April to 5 April for the next couple of years. These places are equally divided between highly trusted sponsors, up to a maximum of 10 places per institutions. You cannot apply under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category if you are outside the UK.
Tier 2 – Skilled Migrant
The Tier 2 (General) category is for foreign nationals who have been offered a skilled job to fill a gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a settled worker. You need to prove that a sponsor holds a ‘highly trusted status’ and that is willing to support your visa application. You need to demonstrate you have at least £900 saved in your account for to fulfil the maintenance requirement.
If you are already in the UK you can easily switch to this category as long as you get the Certificate of Sponsorship and fulfil the English and maintenance requirements. Check the criteria to apply for it.
The work-after-study options for the UK require you to plan and take action well in advance. You can no longer wait to graduate before you can apply for jobs or start a business venture. Having a job sponsorship by the end of your student visa means your job applications need to be sent out starting in October of your final year of degree.
In terms of entrepreneur visa, take guidance from your career counsellors or lecturers that specialise in relevant fields. They cannot only guide you on legal matters but help you to come up with the right strategies and tactics for establishing your own start-up business.