Working after your studies

For guidance on working after the end of your course with a student visa, go to our webpage:

Working during your studies|

IMPORTANT: There will be changes to the immigration rules on the 6 April 2015 including of the Immigration Health Charge.  Find out more on our news page:


Information Workshops

Working after your studies| [pdf] This took place on 24 October 2013.

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Workshop|. [pdf]  This took place in June 2014.

General guidance on Applications and Employers

UKCISA, the UK Council for International Student Affairs has provided guidance for students on interpreting employers' sometimes confusing wording of advertisements, job specs and application forms:

  • Advertisement or job spec says "You must have permission to work"
  • Application form asks "Do you have a work permit?"
  • Employer does not understand that a Tier 4 migrant switching to Tier 2 is exempt from RLMT and/or has a unrestricted CoS
  • Starting your Tier 2 job before you have the result of the application

See UKCISA's guidance for job applicants|.

AGCAS, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, has produced some parallel information aimed at employers.


LSE specific information can be found in the leaflet below.

Summary of the rules for employing LSE students [pdf]|

Doctorate Extension Scheme

Students studying for a PhD at LSE with Tier 4 (General) Student visas are eligible to apply for permission to work for 12 months at the end of their studies.  

As the scheme is under Tier 4, you will have to apply for the additional 12 months before you complete your studies at LSE - ideally up to 60 days before (The completion date will be the date you are expected to receive your results in writing). 

When to apply:

  • after you complete your viva with no corrections and before you receive confirmation of your award in writing, or
  • after your corrections have been submitted and before you receive confirmation of your award in writing.

How to apply:

  • Read the Doctorate Extension Scheme guidance note to students
  • contact the Research Degrees Unit at LSE as early as possible to inform them that you wish to apply.
  • request a CAS from LSE confirming that you wish to seek or take work in the 12 months after the end of your studies: in requesting a CAS you are confirming that you agree to the conditions of the visa which includes maintaining contact with the RDU during the 12 months 
  • Speak to ISIS for advice on applying for the Doctorate Extension Scheme. Registry will not issue your CAS until you have spoken to ISIS.
  • you will be required to formally keep in touch with the School during this period
  • you will need to provide evidence of funds (£2,040 = 2 months maintenance funds) plus any outstanding tuition fees.  
  • you will have to hold a Tier 4 (General) Student visa or Student immigration permission
  • you can only apply from inside the UK
  • if you previously held a Post Study Work visa, International Graduates Scheme, Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme or Fresh Talent visa, you are still eligible to apply

Conditions of the scheme:

  • you will be able to take any kind of work including self employment (except work as a doctor or dentist or training or as a professional sports coach or sportsperson) - it does not need to be connected to your research
  • you will be permitted to work full time from the date you complete your programme at LSE - this means as long as you have applied before you complete your studies, you can start working full time before you receive your decision from the Home Office
  • you can do supplementary study

If you do not obtain the PhD level qualification, you will not be able to use the Doctorate Extension Scheme visa and your Tier 4 visa will be curtailed back to the end date of your programme plus four months.

If you would like to apply for this permission, please inform the Research Degrees Unit| as early as possible.

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur

updated 02/03/2015

The current competition has now closed. Details of the next competition will be publicised when available. As yet, we have not received any confirmation of endorsements for the April 2015 - 2016 period.

Summary of Scheme

The government introduced a scheme to allow students who have been identified by their institution as having developed innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills to extend their stay in the UK to establish a business in the UK.  LSE is part of this scheme and we were able to sponsor 20 students who completed their studies between April 2014-15.

If you are successful, you will be able to remain in the UK for 12 months to set up your business. During this time you are also permitted to take work with an employer.  You will be required to attend meetings at LSE during this period to monitor your progress and if progress is sufficient, LSE may endorse you to apply for a further 12 month period. 

Before you apply

While you are in the UK with a Tier 4 (General) student visa, you are permitted to work part time (max 20 hours) during term time and full time during the vacations but you are not permitted to be self-employed. This means that you cannot actually start your business until you have submitted an application for Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur.  You can attend events organized by LSE Careers, you can seek funding and make plans for your business but you cannot actually start your business or use funding while you hold your Tier 4 visa.

How to apply

To apply for sponsorship from LSE, you can only do so by competing in the LSE Entrepreneur of the Year, LSE Social Entrepreneur of the Year competition or Seed Funding competition. For details go to the Careers Website:

Generate| at LSE

If you are selected by the LSE panel, you can request an endorsement letter when you successfully complete your programme and your are planning to apply.  Complete the form to request an endorsement:

Endorsement letter request|

LSE will issue you an endorsement letter confirming that you and your business idea have been assessed by LSE.  You will also have to meet the following requirements:

  • hold a Tier 4 (General) Student visa or student visa
  • successfully complete your degree programme at LSE (PG Certificate or Diplomas are not eligible)
  • if you are applying in the UK, show evidence that you have held £945 in your bank account for a consecutive 90 day period
  • if you are applying overseas, show evidence that you have held £1890 in your bank account for a consecutive 90 day period 
  • if you have been wholly sponsored (full tuition fees and living costs) by a government or an international scholarship agency in the last 12 months, evidence that you have their unconditional consent to remain in the UK to set up your business

You will have to complete an application form:

Applying in the UK: Form  Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
|Applying outside the UK: Online application form and Appendix 4|

The current application fees in the UK are:

  • £422 by post
  • £367 (nationals of Macedonia, Croatia or Turkey)
  • £422 (dependants)

The application fees to apply outside the UK are:

  • £310

It is not currently possible to apply in person.

ISIS will advise successful students on completing the application form.

If your family are in the UK with you as your dependants, they can apply to remain in the UK as your dependants under Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur).

Extending your Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa

It may be possible for you to extend your Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa for a second year.  It is important that if you are considering this as an option, ensure you contact us well in advance of your visa expiring for advice on extending. 

Who cannot apply?

If you have previously stayed in the UK under Tier 1 (Post Study Work), Fresh Talent, International Graduates Scheme or the Science and Engineering Graduates Scheme, you are not eligible to apply.

You can read the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Policy Guidance on the UK Border Agency website:

UK Visas and Immigration|

Sirus Programme

The UK Trade and Investment department also have a programme for sponsoring entrepreneurs in the UK.  For details go to:

Sirius Programme|

Tier 2 (General)

updated  02/03/2015

To sponsor you for a Tier 2 (General) visa, your employer must

  • have a Tier 2 sponsor licence. See the Register of Tier 2 sponsors
  • offer you a 'graduate level' job, or a job on the Shortage Occupation list
  • offer a minimum salary of £20,500 per year (changing to £20,800 from 6 April 2015)
  • allocate a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) to you

You can apply to switch to Tier 2 inside the UK if your current and unexpired visa is:

  • Tier 4 (General)
  • pre-Tier 4 Student Visa
  • Tier 1 (Post Study Work)
  • Tier 1 (Graduate Enterpreneur) 

If you apply from inside the UK, your employer does not need to pass the 'Resident Labour Market test' (RLMT), where the post must be advertised in a certain way for a minimum period and the employer has to prove that no other settled worker can do the job).  Your Certificate of Sponsorship is not subject to any cap or restriction. These are the key differences between applying for Tier 2 after your studies and applying from outside the UK.

Tier 4 Dependants and Tier 2

If your dependant is in the UK with you and they want to apply to continue in the UK as your dependant when you switch to Tier 2, they can apply to extend their stay in the UK.

If your dependant is in the UK with you and they want to switch to Tier 2 themselves, they can apply inside the UK but they must meet all the other requirements of Tier 2 (including passing the Resident Labour Market Test) and the employer has to issue a 'restricted' COS (see the details below on COS).

If your dependant applies to switch from Tier 4 Dependant to Tier 2, you can apply to switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2 dependant. 

When to apply for Tier 2 (General)

If you want to switch from Tier 4 or a student visa, 

  • you must have "successfully completed" your undergraduate or postgraduate degree programme.  This means you have passed, and you have your results, or
  • you must have completed a minimum of 12 months study towards a PhD programme.  Your Tier 2 sponsor will need to see evidence of this.  

Your Tier 2 employer cannot issue a COS for an application in the UK if you only have provisional results.

Your employer may ask if it is possible for you to extend your student visa to give you more time in the UK before being sponsored.  Unless you are a PhD student applying under the Doctorate Extension Scheme (see above), you can only extend your student stay if you are continuing to study in the UK.

Points required to apply for Tier 2 (General)

You need 70 points to apply:

  • Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) - 30 points
  • Maintenance funds – 10 points
  • English language – 10 points
  • Salary – 20 points

Certificate of Sponsorship (COS)

There is an annual cap| on the number of migrants who can enter the UK to work.  These are referred to as 'restricted COS'.

Employers in the UK will also be allocated a number of their own COSs which they can use to employ people already in the UK. These are referred to as 'unrestricted COS'.  This means that if you are able to apply for Tier 2 (General) before your current immigration permission expires, your employer can use an unrestricted COS from their own allocation to apply for you.

You must apply within three months from the date your COS was assigned and no more than three months before the start date.


An employer must show that the job is at graduate level and the starting salary is at least £20,500 (£20,800 from 6 April 2015).  However, the Home Office does provide guidance on the expected pay scales for some roles.  You should ask your employer to check if your salary is sufficient under the Codes of Practice for you to apply for Tier 2.

A 'new entrant' is outlined in Codes of Practice document:

Home Office website - How do I sponsor a migrant worker?|

The new entrant salaries apply to:

  • graduates switching from Tier 4 into Tier 2 under post study provisions
  • graduate recruits where the employer has used a university 'milkround' to satisfy the resident labour market test
  • anyone aged 2 or under on the date of their initial Tier 2 application

If you will be working for less than 12 months, your points will be calculated pro-rata. If you will be working part time, you will get points for your actual earnings, not for the equivalent full time earnings.  The earnings are calculated up to a maximum of 48 hours per week so even if you are going to work more than this, your earnings will be calculated based on a 48 hour week.

Documents required from LSE

To switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2 inside the UK, you need to show evidence that you have completed and passed your programme.  When you apply you can show this by including:

  • your original degree certificate, academic transcript or
  • an academic reference on LSE headed paper from the Registry

Only the Registry are able to confirm that you have been awarded your degree, so you should not request a reference from your department. The academic reference will confirm:

  • your name;
  • title of qualification;
  • date of award;
  • the body awarding the qualification;
  • the reason why you are unable to provide your original certificate of award
  • that the certificate will be issued.

Paragraph 100 of the Tier 2 Policy Guidance| (version 03/14) states:

A qualification will have been deemed to have been ‘obtained’ on the date on which you were first notified in writing, by the awarding institution of the award.

This means the dates that your final results are posted on LSE for You. If you want to apply for Tier 2 before you obtain your official degree certificate, you can request a letter by emailing|.

If you request a letter from the Registry before your results have been ratified, they are unable to confirm that you have successfully completed and passed your degree.  Therefore, you do not meet the requirements to switch into Tier 2.

Students with full scholarships

If you were fully funded (tuition fees and living costs) for your studies in the UK by the UK government, your home government, the British Council or any international scholarship agency in the last 12 months you also need to submit a letter from the financial sponsor confirming you can remain in the UK to work.

English language

You automatically get 10 points for English language if you have obtained your degree from LSE (and you must provide evidence of this).

If you are a PhD student applying after studying for 12 months, you can obtain 10 points if you have a previous qualification from the UK at degree level or above.  If you do not have a UK degree qualification, you will need to complete an English Language test. (If you started your PhD study at LSE and have obtained the MRes, you can use the MRes transcript as evidence of your English Language level). 

Maintenance funds

To obtain 10 points for maintenance, you must show:

  • £945 fin your account for a consecutive 90 day period ending no more than 31 days before the date of your application
  • Alternatively, your employer may state on the COS that they will 'maintain and accommodate you' up to the end of your first month of employment in the UK to a minimum of £945  

The Home Office is extremely strict on the kind of documents that they will accept as evidence of your funds.  For guidance on the kind of documents that the Home Office will accept see paragraphs 162-167 of the Tier 2 policy Guidance (version 04/14). 

Home Office  |

Council Tax exemption and reduction

You are only eligible for Council Tax exemption during the time you are registered as a student at LSE. No students are eligible for Council Tax exemption after their course has officially ended.

International students are also unable to benefit from the 25% Council Tax Reduction for single occupancy. This is because this is a "Public Fund".  We advise you to contact your local council about your change of circumstances at the end of your programme.

You can find further information on public funds on the UKCISA web site.


Application forms

The Tier 2 application form is now online.  You can apply in person (£1001) or submit documents by post (£601). For guidance on the application process go to:

Home| Office

Applying for jobs in the UK

Many employers are familiar with Tier 2.  When applying for jobs in the UK, you may have to explain to potential employers that they can issue you an 'unrestricted COS' and that they do not need to meet the Resident Labour Market Test to employ you from inside the UK. 

If there is a question on an application form that asks if you need permission to work in the UK you must answer yes.  This may be the employer checking what they will be required to do if they choose to hire you - it does not mean that you will automatically not be selected if you say that you need sponsorship. It is illegal for an employer not to select you at the application stage simply because you need a visa.

Further advice on applying for Tier 2

ISIS specialises in the student immigration rules and are not trained to advise on Tier 2 and completing the application forms. The guidance on this page is taken from the Tier 2 Policy Guidance which you can read in full at:

Home Office

The Students' Union at LSE do not advise on applying for Tier 2.

However, most employers have a Human Resources department who will be able to advise you. 

Conditions of your stay under Tier 2

In the same way that your Tier 4 visa is tied to LSE, your Tier 2 (General) visa ties you to the employer.  If you change jobs, you will need to obtain a new Tier 2 (General) visa.

Tier 2 is first granted for a maximum of three years. Your employer can continue to employ you for a further three years. After this period you must apply for 'indefinite leave to remain in the UK' (settlement) or leave the UK. You would then have to wait 12 months before you were able to return to work in the UK.

Your employer has duties to monitor your attendance at work. If you fail to attend work without informing your employer or if you leave your job early, your employer will inform the Home Office.  If you leave your job and leave the UK, you will have to wait for 12 months to return to work in the UK. 

Applying for Tier 2 from outside the UK

If you want to benefit from the concessions of being a student, you must apply for Tier 2 from inside the UK before you current visa expires.  If you run out of time, you will have to leave the UK and when you find an employer you can apply from outside the UK.  When applying from outside the UK, the main difference is that your employer will have to pass the Resident Labour Market Test and they will have to use a 'restricted' COS to sponsor you. 

Tier 5 (Youth Mobility)

The Tier 5 (Youth Mobility) visa is only available to nationals from the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Korea
  • Taiwan
  • British Overseas Citizens, British Overseas Territories Citizens, British Nationals Overseas

The Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa allows you to work in the UK for up to two years without a sponsor.  You cannot switch into this visa from Tier 4. You can only apply for this visa outside the UK.

You can find further details on the following web pages:


Home Office|

Other work categories in the UK

Investors need a minimum of £ 2 million

  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
    you need at least £50,00 or £200,000 accessible in the UK depending on your eligibility
  • Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)
    1000 places a year for people who are 'internationally recognized as world leaders in their field'
  • Turkish ECCA business category
    a concession under the European Community Association Agreement

You can only apply for the following schemes outside the UK:

  • UK Ancestry:commonwealth nationals who have a grandparent born in the UK
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker): for charity or religious workers
  • Tier 5 (Government Approved Exchange):this includes internship schemes.  For details of one such scheme go to:
    GTI Solutions Tier 5 Internship Scheme

Keeping in touch with LSE

As you are preparing to graduate from LSE, remember that LSE wants you to keep in touch with us. And you can join the Alumni Association. This currently has 96,000 members worldwide. For information go to:

LSE Alumni Association

More information

For a good summary of the programmes go to:


For full details of all the schemes go to:

Home Office|