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Advice and Counselling Service

Visas for working after your studies

Below are the main immigration categories for international students who want to remain in the UK to work in the UK right after their studies, or in the future. 

The Advice and Counselling Service at Queen Mary also runs joint briefing sessions with the QM Careers & Enterprise Service each semester, to explain the main possible immigration routes for international students who wish to remain in the UK to work.  Book a place on the Careers website.

Skilled Worker Route

Skilled Worker Route

Under the Skilled Worker Route you would be sponsored by an employer to undertake a specific job in the UK. In order to sponsor you under the Skilled Worker Route, your employer must be listed on the UKVI Register of Sponsors (please note this is updated daily). You can switch to this route from your Student immigration permission in the UK once you have completed your course, and you can also apply outside the UK.  

The Skilled Worker Route is part of the Points Based System. There are 50 non-tradable (mandatory) points as follows: 

  • Certificate of Sponsorship from a Sponsor listed on UKVI’s register of sponsors (20 points) 
  • Job at appropriate skill level (RQF level 3 or above) (20 points) 
  • English language at B1 level or above (10 points) Your degree from Queen Mary will evidence that you meet the English language requirement. 

You must meet all of the above requirements in order to be eligible for the Skilled Worker Route. 

You will also need to obtain an additional 20 points from the list of tradeable points. See the section 'attributes' for further details about the tradeable points, the minimum salary you need to earn, the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) issued by your employer and the funds which you may to show in your bank account.  

Eligible family members can come to or stay in the UK as your dependants.  

If you are intending to work at Queen Mary, see the guidance from Queen Mary's Human Resources department and contact HR if you have questions about eligibility or the Skilled Worker visa application process.  

Attributes: CoS, salary

Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) 

If you are successfully recruited to a post, and you are eligible for the Skilled Worker Route, your employer will issue you with a CoS number. You will need to write the CoS number in your Skilled Worker application. 


In addition to the mandatory 50 points, you will also need to obtain an additional 20 points from the list of tradeable points. Many students will meet option E, wording copied below, but you can check paragraph SW 4.2 of Appendix Skilled Worker for the full list of tradeable points available. 

E Applicant is a new entrant to the labour market and their salary equals or exceeds both: 
• £20,480 per year; and 
• 70% of the going rate for the occupation code 

There are a number of criteria which you can meet to be considered a 'new entrant' including being under the age of 26 on the date of application, or meeting all of the below conditions: 

'(i) the applicant’s most recent permission was as a Student: and 

(ii) that permission expired less than 2 years before the date of application; and 

(iii) in that permission or any previous permission as a Student, the applicant was sponsored to study one of the following courses (not any other qualifications of an equivalent level): 

  • a UK bachelor’s degree; or 
  • a UK master’s degree; or 
  • a UK PhD or other doctoral qualification; or 
  • a Postgraduate Certificate in Education; or 
  • a Professional Graduate Diploma of Education; and 

(iv) the applicant has completed (or is applying no more than 3 months before they are expected to complete) the course in (iii) above, or the applicant is studying a PhD and has completed at least 12 months study in the UK towards the PhD. 

Granting the application must not mean the applicant’s combined permission as a Skilled Worker and/or Tier 2 Migrant would be more than 4 years in total, whether or not the permission is for a continuous period.' 

If you meet the option E requirements, your salary should be above £20,480 and also above 70% of the salary listed for your job in the Occupation Codes. The salary needs to be above whichever is highest out of these two. 

The Occupation Codes can be found in Appendix Skilled Occupationsof the Immigration Rules. You can ask your employer for the occupation code, so that you can calculate the required salary level for that job.

Attributes: Maintenance, English language


If you have been in the UK with immigration permission for the previous 12 months before you apply under the Skilled Worker Route, then you automatically meet the financial requirement and do not need to show funds. 

If you are applying outside the UK, or have been in the UK less than 12 months you must show either £1270 for at least 28 days in line with Appendix Finance of the Immigration Rules, or your sponsor can certify the maintenance for you.  

English language 

There are a number of ways which you can meet the English language requirement, including if your degree was taught in English. Your QMUL degree will meet this requirement. 

Where can I find out more information about the Skilled Worker Route?

Government Authorised Exchange

Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) is a temporary worker route. The GAE strand allows you to spend up to 2 years in the UK.

You can normally switch from Student to GAE in the UK if you have completed your degree. Sponsorship is required for this route, but you do not have to meet the salary requirements of the Skilled Worker Route, and you would usually be sponsored by an umbrella organisation, rather than the company you are working for.  

  • You must show a minimum of £1270 for at least 28 days before you apply or your sponsor could certify the maintenance for you. 
  • You must meet the sponsor's requirements including the level of the job. 

Some GAE sponsors are organisations which allow you to find a job, and will liaise with you and your employer to arrange the Certificate of Sponsorship. Please note that these companies are likely to charge a fee to either you or your potential employer.

These organisations include GTI Intern and Access Tier 5. We recommend that you read the requirements of the scheme carefully before applying for one of the schemes.  

If you are interested in working for Queen Mary under the GAE route as a sponsored researcher, then you should refer to Queen Mary's Human Resources department for more details and contact information.  

India Young Professionals Scheme visa

The India Young Professionals Visa Scheme allows Indian nationals aged 18 - 30 to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years.

Main requirements:

  • You must be aged between 18 and 30
  • You have an eligible qualification at degree level or above
  • You must have at least £2530 in your personal bank account for at least 28 consecutive days before you apply.  

Visa Ballot System:

You need to enter a ballot if you want to apply for the Young India Professionals Visa Scheme

  • First ballot opens on 28 February 2023 and closes on 2 March 2023
  • The next ballot is planned for July 2023
  • You enter the ballot online through the Gov.UK website
  • The ballot is free to enter
  • Results are normally notified within 2 weeks of ballot close
  • There are 2,400 places available in the February 2023 ballot
  • If successful in the ballot, you have 30 days to apply for the visa (if you all meet the requirements).
  • If unsuccessful in the ballot, you cannot appeal the result but you can apply in the next ballot (subject to meeting all the requirements)

You cannot switch into this immigration category from within the UK. Instead, you need to leave the UK and apply for entry clearance from your home country.

More information on the India Young Professions Visa Scheme can be found on the Gov.UK website

Other immigration categories

There may be other immigration categories you can apply to that allows you to stay in the UK and work at the end of your studies.

Of particular interest to some students may be the following categories:

  • Innovator Route Visa - For people who wish to set up and run an "innovative" business in the UK - it must be something that’s different from anything else on the market. This visa requires an 'endorsement' by an approved body (an endorsement is similar to sponsorship). The visa is granted for up to 3 years and can lead to settlement in the UK eligibility.
  • Ancestry Visa - Aimed at  Commonwealth citizens who have a grandparent born in the United Kingdom to come to the UK. This visa is granted for up to 5 years and can lead to settlement in the UK eligibility.
  • Global Talent Visa - Aimed at people who are identified as leaders or potential leaders in academia or research, arts and culture or digital technology. This visa requires an 'endorsement' by an approved body. The visa is granted for up to 5 years and can lead to settlement in the UK eligibility.
  • Youth Mobility Scheme visa - The scheme is available to nationals of Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea and Taiwan, and to British Overseas Citizens, British Overseas Territories Citizens and British Nationals (Overseas). You cannot switch into this immigration category from within the UK. Instead, you need to leave the UK and apply for entry clearance from your home country. You must be aged between 18 and 30, and you must have at least £2530 in your personal bank account for at least 28 consecutive days before you apply.  This visa is granted for up to 2 years.

You can find a summary of information about some other categories  of visa which permit work on the website of the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA). 

The UK Government website has a work visas sub section with their Visas & Immigration section, in which you can find information about all the different work visa options.

If you need specialised immigration advice about one of these other categories, you can get legal advice by contacting an immigration adviser. Make sure that the immigration adviser you choose is authorised to provide immigration advice and services by the Office for the Immigration Services Commissioner or other regulatory body. 
You can find other regulated advisers through: 

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