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Durham University


Working in the UK after study

Once your programme has officialy ended* and you are waiting for your results you can work full time (over 20 hours per week) in the UK if you have time left on your Tier 4 visa.

Working on your Tier 4 (General) visa

Once your programme has officially ended*, you can work full time (over 20 hours per week) on a temporary contract until the date your Tier 4 visa expires. You cannot engage in business or self employment, take up employment as a professional sportsperson or entertainer or pursue a career by filling a permanent full-time vacancy.

*After the official programme end date (Undergraduate and Masters students); after the pass list has been issued following the final submission of e-thesis (PhD students)

Details of the types of work that are and are not permitted can be found in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance

Completing your programme earlier than 'course end date' stated on your CAS

If you succesfully complete your programme earlier than the 'course end date' stated on your CAS, you can continue to work in the UK as stated above, however, your BRP / visa will be curtailed to 4 months and will become invalid if you leave the UK during that time.

If you withdraw from or suspend study

If you withdraw from your programme or suspend your study you will no longer be allowed to work in the UK: Full implications of withdrawing or suspending your study.

Post-study work: 'Graduate Immigration Route' available from Summer 2021

On 11.09.19 the UK Home Office announced the creation of a 'Graduate Immigration Route' which will enable students graduating in Summer 2021 onwards, to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies in order to workl or look for work at any skill level.

Details of the scheme on the government Fact Sheet: Graduate Immigration Route

Further information will be posted here as it becomes available.

Tier 2 (General)

Tier 2 (General) of the UK Points Based Immigration System (PBS) is open to graduates with a UK Bachelor's or Master's Degree (or students who have completed at least 12 months of a PhD) from a registered UK institution. The normal Tier 2 (General) requirements have been relaxed to allow graduates greater opportunity to apply.

**A graduate switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 visa can meet the 'new entrant' salary rate of £20,800 (though could be more than this in some cases)

Switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2

'Switching' to Tier 2 means applying in the UK whilst you still have time left on your current Tier 4 visa (BRP). If you leave the UK and apply from your home country you will be given fresh entry clearance and this is not considered 'switching'. Applications made outside the UK may have different criteria including a higher salary threshold.

UK Visas & Immigration about Tier 2 (General) and how to apply

Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES)

The Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) enables the University to sponsor completing PhD students for a further 12 months, to remain in the UK and work in either paid employment or on a self employed basis. 

Tier 4 DES information and how to apply

Tier 1 Start Up Scheme

  • Durham University recently became an endorsing body for the UKVI Tier 1 Start-up Scheme and is piloting the scheme this year to Durham University International students graduating in 2019/20. This new scheme is for people wishing to remain in the UK for 2 years to set up a new UK business that must be innovative, viable and scalable.
  • Applicants must not have previously established a business in the UK and
  • Must be able to fulfil all the Immigration rules and requirements under the Tier 1 Start Up scheme and be in a position to make a valid immigration application

The University is opening up a limited number of endorsements , to eligible Durham University international students, and recent graduates from Durham University. Set application deadlines will apply.

If you are a final year international student , interested in starting a business under the Start- up Scheme in the UK, please contact the Careers & Enterprise Team who can provide guidance on the endorsement process and details of briefings run jointly by the Careers and Enterprise Centre and the Student Immigration Service:

For guidance on the immigration requirements and visa application process please also refer to the UKVI guidance:

Tier 5 (Temporary Worker)

Schemes under Tier 5 may allow you to undertake very specific types of work in the UK for up to two years in some instances.

Your sponsor / potential employer must issue a certificate of sponsorship to you before you can apply for a Tier 5 visa.

Further information from the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA)

The University of Durham makes every effort to ensure that the information published on this page is accurate. However, the University cannot guarantee the information may not be altered owing to circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) change in Government policy, or change of law. Any changes will be incorporated into the University’s website as early as possible.