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Want to Stay in the UK After Study?

Kelli Kennedy

Time to brush up for your next exam: Visas 101.

You have taken your last spring term exams and now you’re in the depths of your dissertation. You are citing what seems like a thousand sources; sorting through the 10s of dozens of articles you’ve printed out; and embracing the sporadic British sunshine when you can. As the summer approaches and dissertation deadlines near, you’re starting to become painfully aware that the end of your master’s course is approaching. For most, this is exciting, scary and beautiful. For you? There’s a whole added layer: What if I want to stay in the U.K. after my degree?

Good honey lord child, you have a feat ahead of you. But with this guide you'll have a bit of a head's up of the visa requirements ahead of you.

Currently, I’m riding this wave and must admit without much success yet. The process of job hunting abroad is foreign and the deadline of my visa looms over me. However, something that has been crucial in this process has been understanding what the rules are regarding visa status and job hunting.

So here’s your beginner’s guide to post-master's UK job hunting to help ease the stress and allow more of the sunny days to be spent over a pint instead of hunching over your computer applying for another application.

The most common visas you’ll be looking into and possibly be chasing after is the Tier 5 Visa and the Tier 2 Visa. The Tier 2 Visa allows for short-term employment specifically intender to allow you to gain work experience and/or an internship related to your master’s degree. Typically, this is up to 12 months and is at least paid the National Minimum wage. Your organization provides the “sponsorship” of your visa and is organization-wide, rather than an individual employer sponsoring you.

Find employment before your student visa expires or it will become exponentially harder to find a job.

Alternatively, the Tier 5 Visa allows you to remain in the U.K. for up to five years. You can gain this through any avenue of employment, even if it is not pertinent to your master’s course. The catch with this option is that you have to be earning at least £20,800 or more commonly £25,000. In terms of sponsorship, the graduate (aka you) has to register with the UKVI and your employer must be licensed by the home office. Importantly, if you gain employment while you still have a student visa, your employer will not have to pass the Resident Labour Market Test. Unfamiliar with this? Well, it is a bit of a bitch so it is worth at all costs securing employment before your student visa expires. Basically your employer must prove they have scoured the UK and EU job market for applicants before you can be considered or hired. If you gain nothing from this, remember that you want to find employment before your student visa expires or it will be exponentially harder if you go past that expiration.

Bearing all this in mind, you should begin job hunting by May to June (aka get off your bum and get to it) since more than likely your visa expires the following January. In the UK, there are a lot of graduate schemes, which you should fully consider. A graduate scheme basically is like an employer offering you a position for when your course ends in September. This is an awesome way to secure a sweet job at the end of your degree. Some courses have more options in this realm but no matter your field, consider this option.

Job hunting is always a tough task. There’s a reason there’s so many millennials out of work or preforming jobs outside their desired sector or are at jobs they are over-qualified for. Adding the whole, “I want to gain employment in the UK after my master’s course” adds a whole other dimension. While it takes some elbow grease, networking and searching the internet high and low, there’s no reason it is not worth a shot.

Happy job hunting (and for the love of god, someone hire me).

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Published in Study Abroad Blogs
Kelli Kennedy

Kelli Kennedy is a graduate student at University of York in Comparative and International Social Policy. After multiple short-term study abroad programs during her undergrad, the California native is taking on the winters of England to learn how to change the world.

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