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London School of Economics and Political Science




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Working after your studies

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Working after your studies on a Tier 4 visa

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

Working during your studies

General guidance on Applications and Employers

LSE specific information can be found in the leaflet below.

Summary of the rules for employing LSE students [pdf]

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


Council Tax exemption at the end of your programme

You are only exempt from paying Council Tax for the period you are registered as a student at the LSE.  Once your official programme end date has passed, you are no longer exempt from paying Council Tax even if your visa is still valid. You should update your council on your change of circumstances at the end of your course.

If you are living with students and are now working, the property is no longer exempt and you must update your borough council of the change in circumstances.

Tier 4 (Doctorate Extension Scheme)

Students studying for a PhD at LSE with Tier 4 (General)  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 expect to be awarded your PhD).  Our team will be able to assist you with the application process.

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:

  • contact the PhD Academy 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 PhD Academyduring the 12 months 
  • attend one of our PhD Acadey drop-in seesions for advice on applying for the Doctorate Extension Scheme. Registry will not issue your CAS until you have spoken to us.
  • you will be required to formally keep in touch with the School during this period
  • you will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge for you and any dependants who are applying with you - speak to us for advice on how to pay this
  • you will need to provide evidence of funds (£2,530 = 2 months maintenance funds)
  • you can only apply from inside the UK with a valid Tier 4 or Student visa.

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) 
  • you will be permitted to work full time from the date you complete your programme at LSE
  • 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. 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 PhD Academy at the point  you submit your thesis. 

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur

Summary of Scheme 

The immigration rules now allow us to sponsor graduates who were awarded their degree more than 12 months ago.  It is also possible for LSE to endorse students from other institutions, although this is only likely to be the case if the student is in business with an LSE graduate.

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

Before you apply

You cannot start your business until you have submitted an application for Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur.  You can attend events organised 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.

Tier 4 Students working for you

Tier 4 students must not be self-employed, including being listed as company directors.  If you have any Tier 4 students working with you on your business, they must employees of the company.

If you intend to employ staff to assist with your business, you will need to ensure you are making the correct employment checks to ensure you are not breaching the immigration rules.

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 you 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)
  • you have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge before applying
  • 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, which we can assist with.

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

It is not possible to apply in person for the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa. 

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). You will need to inform the Registry as they will need to provide information about your dependants on your endorsement letter.

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,  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 Visas and Immigration website:

UK Visas and Immigration

Tier 2 (General)

Advice on applying for Tier 2

ISVAT 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

Most employers have a Human Resources department who will be able to advise you.  If this is not the case you may need to seek advise from an external organisation.

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 £20,800 per year (this can be higher depending on your job title)
  • 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 (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. 

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 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)

A Certificate of Sponsorship is the Tier 2 equivalent of the CAS number for Tier 4.  You cannot apply for Tier 2 without a 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'.

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 £20,800. However, the Home Office does provide guidance on the expected pay scales for some roles under the Codes of Practice. Depending on your role,  your salary may need to be higher than the minimum amount. 

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

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

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 confirming you have successfully completed your degree 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.

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 (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 in 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. 

Application forms

Application forms and the cost of applying can be found on the UKVI web pages.

Applying for jobs in the UK

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.

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 can only apply from outside the UK,  your employer will have to pass the Resident Labour Market Test and they will have to use a 'restricted' COS to sponsor 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.

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. 

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

Tier 5 (Temporary Worker)

There are five schemes under the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) route:

  • Creative and Sporting;
  • Charity Workers;
  • Religious Workers;
  • Government Authorised Exchange;
  • International Agreement

These schemes allow you to undertake specific types of work from one to two years, depending on the scheme.  Most schemes only permit entry clearance applications, In certain circumstances, you may be able to switch to the Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) in the UK.

Full details of all the schemes and when you can apply in the UK can be found on the UKCISA web pages.