Advice for living in Cardiff and the UK, Before you graduate, More

Visa options for international students who would like to stay in the UK

International Student Adviser, Abbie, shares some information for international students who want to stay in the UK after graduation.

Wondering what the future holds after graduation? Well, there are a number of opportunities out there for international students to stay in the UK and work.

International Student Support (ISS) is here to help with your visa needs. If you are thinking of working in the UK, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the different types of visas available as early as possible so that you know which ones you’ll be eligible for and so that you can spend enough time preparing well in advance of your Tier 4 visa expiring. Some of the most popular visa routes are summarised below.


Find an employer or organisation to sponsor you

The Tier 2 (General) visa category requires you to have a job offer from an employer that is registered with the Home Office to sponsor non-EU/EEA nationals before you can start the visa application process.

The Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) visa category allows you to do a work placement or internship with an employer that is not registered as sponsor with the Home Office. Instead you will be sponsored by an organisation that runs an approved Tier 5 (GAE) scheme.

For help finding and applying for jobs or internships you should certainly make the most of our Careers and Employability service. Trained advisers are here to help you make the most of your degree and your future beyond Cardiff University. The Career Central pages have some really useful tools to help you identify and explore interests, skills and competencies which will help you decide on the type of career path you’d like to follow.

Once you know what type of career you are looking for or the type of organisations you’d like to work for, it’s time to look for jobs and start applying! You may already have a particular employer in mind and be checking their recruitment pages regularly but if not, then the careers service Jobs Board has very useful links.

Do you feel a bit daunted by the job application process? Don’t worry! Careers Central also has lots of guidance about how to write a CV, tips on how to complete job application forms as well as practice tests and advice on interview technique. All this will help you land your perfect job! Once you have that job offer from a Home Office registered sponsor, you will need to make the relevant visa application. If you would like guidance on this, please contact International Student Support.


Be your own boss

Don’t like the idea of working for an employer? Want to set up a business and be your own boss? Then the Cardiff University Enterprise team are here to advise you about developing your business idea and to support international graduates who may be eligible to apply for the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa.


Doctorate Extension Scheme

If you are a PhD student at Cardiff and you would like to stay in the UK for 12 months following completion of your doctoral qualification, then you can apply to extend your Tier 4 visa under the Doctoral Extension Scheme (DES). You don’t have to have a job offer to apply for this visa.  If you apply for this visa, you will still be sponsored by Cardiff University but you will be able to look for work and/or work full-time, gain further experience in your chosen field or explore and set up a business for a year after you complete your PhD. Please note that you must apply for a DES visa before you complete your PhD and you must be in the UK with valid Tier 4 (General) leave so it is essential that you contact International Student Support as soon as you know when your viva will take place so that we can give you individual advice and guidance.

So as you can see – there are quite a lot of options when it comes to working in the UK after your studies. The key is to do your research in advance so the process can be as straightforward and stress-free as possible.

You can find information about the different categories of working visa on our intranet pages as well as via the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).


Contacting International Student Support

International Student Support are always here if things get too much, or if you have any questions. Call us on 029 2087 6009, email: or come and see us in the Students’ Union.


Your feedback and help please

Have you found this blog post useful?  Please help us by commenting in the bar below, and note any questions there too.

To help us aid more of your fellow students please re-tweet or share this post by using the share buttons or via twitter and facebook.


Good luck and enjoy Graduation! 


Best wishes,

Abbie, International Adviser.

Your Student Life, Supported.

The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice and MoneyCareers and EmployabilityCounselling, Health and Wellbeing, Disability and Dyslexia and International Student Support. The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.

For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.


No comments.

Leave a Reply