Working in the UK after studies - your visa

This section offers some information on the Tier 4 / Student Visa work conditions and possible visa routes for working in the UK after your course has ended.

Student / Tier 4 (General) Visa holders

Student Visa work conditions

Always check your visa decision e-mail and your visa (BRP, digital visa status or visa sticker) for confirmation of the employment permissions granted to you before undertaking any work.

If you hold a Student / Tier 4 (General) Visa for full-time degree-level study, you may find one of the following restrictions noted on your BRP card / visa sticker / digital visa details, or discussed in your visa application decision e-mail:

  • "Work 20 hrs max in term time" or
  • "T4G Student Work limit 20 hrs p/w in term time"

If you have one of these conditions on your BRP or visa sticker, you can work more than 20 hours per week in vacation periods for your programme and after completing the course.  Your visa's work conditions apply until the visa expiry date.


UKVI's information on work conditions (including work placements): See the information under the sub heading "Work Conditions" in the Student Guidance and Appendix Student in the Immigration Rules (ST26.1 - ST26.8) for details of the work and work placement conditions for a Student / Tier 4 (General) Visa.


Prohibited work: The work conditions attached to a Student / Tier 4 (General) Visa explain what work is prohibited (not allowed) on your visa type.  This includes:

  • Self-employment or business activity
  • Professional sportsperson (incluidng sports coach)
  • Entertainer
  • Undertaking a "permanent" job (i.e. employment with no end date)

If however your visa states that all work is prohibited, you cannot work while in the UK on your visa.  For example, "No work permitted" or "No work or recourse to public funds".


When you can more than 20 hours per week

You can work more than 20 hours per week (e.g. "full time") on your Student / Tier 4 (General) Visa where:

  • you have completed your course (all parts of your programme, including exams, coursework, submission of final dissertation/project/PhD thesis after corrections), and
  • where the course end date on the CAS you used to apply for your current Student / Tier 4 (General) Visa has passed. 

Speak with your School Office / Graduate School if you are unsure of whether you still have work to undertake or submit for your course, or to ask about when they will record course completion on your student record. 


Evidence of your right to work for employers

Prepare the following to demonstrate when you are able to work more than 20 hours per week as per your Student / Tier 4 (General) Visa's work conditions:

Passport and Student Visa: If you have a BRP or visa sticker this may state information about your work conditions in the "Remarks" section.  The visa decision e-mail you received from UKVI will also usually give information about your work conditions.   

Share code: if your decision e-mail says you need to prove your right to work by creating a share code refer to the instructions on the decision letter and the UKVI webpages.

Student status / course end date: Print off a Certifying Letter for former students from your My Campus account or request one from the Student Services Enquiry Team.  This will show the date you completed your course. 

If you think the course end date on your Certifying Letter is incorrect, contact your School Office / Graduate School.  They can update your student record if necessary for the Certifying Letter to show the correct end date.

CAS used to apply for your current Student / Tier 4 (General) Visa: to show the course end date that is stated on your CAS. 

Right to work checks: Your employer / potential employer must undertake any right to work checks required by UKVI, including checking when you can work more than 20 hours per week. You will prepare documents (such as those we have discussed here) to give to your employer so they can check your right to work.  Your right to work cannot be confirmed to an employer by the university (e.g. we cannot provide a letter that confirms you right to work in the UK or work conditions).  

UKCISA offer useful information about employers undertaking right to work checks on their webpages - you can refer to these yourself or signpost an employer to these where you think this would be helpful. 

You may also wish to signpost your employer to the vast, useful online resources offered by the International Student Employability Group (see under the "Resources" sub-heading).


Applying to switch to a work visa

If you will apply to switch from a Student / Tier 4 (General) Visa into a UK work visa: (e.g. Graduate Visa or Skilled Worker) - check the UKVI's information to see if any additional work conditions would result from making an in-time visa application for that visa route.  

UKCISA discuss information about this on their "Work when you are no longer studying" webpages here.  You should always submit a visa application either on or before your current visa expiry date when applying in the UK.

Applying for a Graduate Visa: Appendix Student (ST26.6) confirms that where you have made an in-time Graduate Visa application (i.e. you submitted the Graduate Visa application form on or before your Student / Tier 4 Visa expiry date) you can undertake permanent, full-time employment. 

You will retain the other work conditions of your Student / Tier 4 (General) visa while you wait for UKVI to make a decision on your Graduate Visa application.  

You would only be able to work under the Graduate Visa work conditions once you have received a decision from UKVI confirming your Graduate Visa application has been successful.  You can see the work conditions for a Graduate Visa holder in the UKVI's Immigration Rules, Appendix Graduate.


Useful links and resources

UKCISA information on working after studies

UKVI's Student Guidance  and Immigration Rules (Appendix Student) - these online documents list the work conditions and restrictions for Student / Tier 4 (General) Visa holders.


National Insurance Number

A National Insurance (NIN) Number is a personal number which is used to record your National Insurance contributions. You can only apply for a National Insurance Number once you have arrived in the UK:

  • your visa gives you the right to work in the UK, and
  • you’re planning to work in the UK. 


To apply:

  • You will be asked to prove your identity as part of the application process. You will receive an email after you apply telling you how to do this. You may be asked to post photocopies of your documents or to attend an appointment.


Please note: It can take up to 16 weeks, after you prove your identity, to receive your National Insurance Number.  You can start work however before you receive the National Insurance number if you can prove you have the right to work in the UK.  You can see information on the work conditions for Student and Tier 4 Visa holders discussed in the section above.

There is no charge to apply for / obtain a National Insurance Number.  For full details on the application process, please see the webpages .

Graduate Visa

Please read the Graduate Visa information on our webpages, including our online guide, which covers:

  • The eligibility requirements you need to meet to apply
  • When you can apply
  • How to apply

Skilled Worker

General information:

To apply under the Skilled Worker visa route, you need an offer of employment from a UK employer who is on the Register of licensed sponsors to do a specific job, and a "Certificate of Sponsorship" from that employer to use to make a Skilled Worker visa application. 

The job must also meet the UKVI's minimum salary requirements and minimum skill level requirements - these are discussed on the UKVI's webpages and in the Immigration Rules.

Please note: International Student Support can only offer general information and guidance about the Skilled Worker visa and cannot offer advice or a visa application check.  The employer sponsoring you under the Skilled Worker visa route should be able to assist you with your visa application queries.

Switching into a Skilled Worker visa:

Appendix Skilled Worker confirms then you can submit an application for a Skilled Worker Visa where you are "switching" (applying in the UK) and hold a valid Student Visa (University of Glasgow is a higher education provider with track record of compliance):

SW 1.5A. An applicant who is applying for permission to stay and has, or last had, permission as a Student, must fulfil one of the Conditions A, B or C below on the date of application:

(a) Condition A: the applicant must have completed the course of study for which the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies was assigned (or a course to which ST 27.3 of Appendix Student applies); or

(b) Condition B:

(i) the applicant must be studying a full-time course of study at degree level or above with a higher education provider which has a track record of compliance; and

(ii) the Certificate of Sponsorship in SW 1.2(d) must have a start date no earlier than the course completion date; or

(c) Condition C:

(i) the applicant must be studying a full-time course of study leading to the award of a PhD with a higher education provider which has a track record of compliance; and

(ii) the Certificate of Sponsorship in SW 1.2(d) must have a start date no earlier than 24 months after the start date of that course.


Useful links and resources:

UKVI Skilled Worker visa information

Immigration Rules: Appendix Skilled Worker

Register of licensed sponsors: Workers

UKCISA's Skilled Worker information

Innovator Founder / Start-up visa

Please note: The Start-up route closed on 13 July 2023. If you hold a Start-Up visa endorsed by UoG and have queries about your visa, please contact International Student Support with these.

The Start-Up visa route was for those who wished to establish a business in the UK and had a business plan endorsed by an authorised body approved by the Home Office (such as UoG).  University of Glasgow offered endorsements (until the closure of the visa route) and business development support for the Start-Up visa route to our students and graduates. 

Useful links and resources:

UKVI Start-up visa information

Appendix Start-up (Immigration Rules)

UKCISA information


Innovator Founder visa:

The Innovator Founder visa replaced the Start-Up visa route - please note that UoG is not an endorsing body for the Innovator Founder route.  

The Innovator Founder visa is for migrants either seeking to start a business in the UK, or for those with existing businesses endorsed by an approved body. Existing Start-Up visa holders may consider switching to this visa route.

While ISS cannot offer advice on applying for this visa type or a visa application check, please see the information below:

Innovator Founder information:

UKVI: Innovator Founder information

UKVI: Immigration Rules - Appendix Innovator Founder

UKVI: Innovator Founder - caseworker guidance 

UKCISA: Innovator Founder information

Other visa categories and useful links

UKCISA have a useful summary of other work after study immigration options.  Please note that International Student Support can only offer general information and guidance about these other visa categories and cannot offer advice or a visa application check.

The webpage has some great information to help you if your Student Visa is ending and you want to say in Scotland after completing your studies.