If you came to the UK to study and are coming to the end of those studies, you may be wondering what’s next. While, clearly, the Tier 4 Student Visa is somewhat prohibitive when it comes to the world of work, there are other visa options which are much more liberal.
The time at the end of your study is likely to be fraught with concerns about your future, and with this in mind, this guide has been created to help you to figure out what to do next if you have studied in the UK and are looking to stay in order to enter the world of work.
Switching Visas After Studying
You can, under certain circumstances, switch out from the Tier 4 Student Visa at the end of your studies to a more suitable work visa such as the Tier 2 General Visa, as long as you meet the conditions laid out in the visa guidance (you will need to have completed your degree – or be within 3 months of completion – or have completed at least one year of a PhD).
If you qualify, you will be able to apply for a role with a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder for a graduate-level job. There is a huge benefit for those applying from within the UK who are switching from a Tier 4 Student Visa to a Tier 2 General Visa. This benefit is mainly that a prospective employer will not need to complete a resident labour market test. This test is usually applied to jobs that are using the Tier 2 General Visa route and requires employers to advertise a role to domestic workers before offering them to those from overseas.
As well as skipping this requirement, Tier 4 Student Visa holders switching to the Tier 2 General Visa route are also not considered part of the annual limit on visas and therefore do not have to worry about limitations being reached.
Switching visa best option
Switching your visa offers the best option for those who have studied in the UK and wish to remain in the UK for the long-term. The Tier 2 General Visa is the ideal visa for those who are switching, as it allows a long length of stay and even the ability to settle in the UK after meeting the minimum 5-year requirement.
You have not always been able to do this, and the rule change is a pragmatic one as it keeps highly talented graduates in the country rather than letting them go back to their country of origin and losing those skills. With the UK facing an uncertain future, the ability to keep skills in the country is going to be vital.
Settling In The UK After Studying As A Migrant
Of course, for many people, the UK is the ideal place to live for the long-term. It is one of the world’s leading economies and has high levels of employment. It is also one of the world’s safest places to live. For many people, the UK offers a level of stability that they may not be able to reach in their country of origin.
The UK also offers a significant opportunity for these migrants to go on and create not only an amazing and diverse career but also a fantastic life. It isn’t only the Tier 2 General Visa that student migrants can switch to, there are also others such as the Start-Up and Innovator visas and also the Tier 1 Investor Visa. The first two (Start-Up and Innovator Visa routes) require an entrepreneurial business idea, while the latter requires significant funds to invest.
The main reason that the Tier 2 General visa is so popular is that it offers an opportunity for the vast majority of students, no matter their skill set or available funding.
If you do choose to use the Tier 2 General Visa route and want to settle in the UK for long-term then you will need to remain in the UK for a minimum of 5 years on an appropriate visa route to be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Gaining Indefinite Leave to Remain gives you the option to settle your stay in the UK for the long-term without being under immigration control. Indefinite Leave to Remain also gives you the option to apply for British citizenship after holding it for 12 months. This is ideal for many people, as Britain allows for its citizens to be dual nationality holders. Having this flexibility opens up a whole world of opportunity.
So if you are coming to the end of your studies on your Tier 4 Student Visa you will likely be considering what to do next. This next step will be one of the most important ones they ever take in their life. This is where it is advisable to get as much information and help as possible.
The UK has some of the best immigration advisers available, and it is well worth speaking to a reputable firm in order to discover what your next best step should be. Some of you may have a very clear plan, but others may be struggling to decide what to do next. For those, we would certainly suggest you speaking to the best immigration lawyers London as probably the next best step.
If you do decide to switch your visa then you need to ensure that you research the eligibility criteria for any visa you wish to take on, and ensure that you meet it completely. By doing this research, you can ensure that your application is much more likely to succeed. This is especially important if you are coming towards the end of your visa and need a quick resolution.
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