Working after your studies

Once you have completed your course and whilst your visa remains valid, the Home Office allows you to work full-time, within the following limits.

  • You cannot fill a full-time permanent vacancy (other than on a recognised Foundation Programme).
  • You cannot be self-employed.
  • You cannot be employed as a Doctor in training (except on a recognised Foundation Programme) or as a professional sportsperson, coach or entertainer.

For Undergraduate and Master students, course completion means either receiving official notification of approval of your degree OR the course end date as stated on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) as long as you have completed all required assessment by this date, whichever is earlier.

For PhD students, course completion means receiving the official notification of unconditional approval of your degree.

If your course has finished earlier than planned (early completion) or you changed to a shorter course please contact the IST as different rules may apply to you.

Student Sabbatical Union Officer

Within the Student Route visa, the Student Union Sabbatical Officer job is a full-time, salaried, elected executive union position. The job may be either at your Student sponsor’s institution or with the National Union of Students of the UK. You may take this job during your studies or in the academic year immediately after you graduate.

If you take a Student Union Sabbatical Officer job while you still have time left in your permission to stay as a Student visa holder, your Student sponsor must let us know as they are responsible for you until your permission to stay (known as leave to remain) runs out.

If you want to do the job at the end of your course, and you have no more time left in your permission to stay as a Student visa holder, you must apply for further leave to remain and meet the requirements of the category.

A Sabbatical job is normally for one academic year and you may be given permission to stay to cover this time. If you are re-elected after one year, you will have to apply again for further leave to remain in this category. You can only have a Student Union Sabbatical Officer job for a maximum of two years.

Graduate Route & other visa options

The Graduate route is for those who have a degree or other relevant qualification from an approved UK Higher Education provider. Applications opened on 1 July 2021. 

The Graduate route is an unsponsored route, meaning you do not need a job offer to apply for the route. You will be able to work flexibly, switch jobs and develop your career in the UK as required.

For further details on this route see our guidance and FAQs webpage.

There are other routes available if you are wishing to work after your studies. Please check the UKCISA dedicated advice webpage which contains details information about the options for switching within the UK from a Student visa to a work visa. 


Sponsored students

If you are sponsored by Government, your home university or an International Scholarship Agency, you should check with your sponsor to confirm that they will allow you to stay in the UK after your studies. In many cases sponsors will want students to return to their home country as soon as their studies are completed.

The time that you spend employed as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer will not count towards the maximum period that you are permitted to spend in this category. For example, it will be acceptable for a Student Route visa holder to spend 5 years studying at degree level, as well as spending 1 year working in a Student Union Sabbatical Officer role.

The requirement that a work placement be no more than 50% or 33% (depending upon the course/sponsor) of your course in the UK does not include any period that you are in post as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer. You are permitted to do additional work but it is restricted to part-time work during term-time (of no more than 20 hours a week) and full-time work during vacations, if you are not working full-time for the Students’ Union in the vacations.

Looking for a job

If you need help looking for a job, you can contact the Careers Network who are available to help all students looking for graduate employment, work experience and training. You can talk to staff and use reference material and take-away literature to help you with your career planning. Whatever your course, and whichever country you wish to work in when you graduate, they will try to help.

For advice regarding your visa or work permit applications, you must contact the IST.


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