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UK Visas | The Careers Service UK Visas – Oxford University Careers Service
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General information
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If you are thinking about staying in the UK after your studies to work, you will need to apply for a visa unless you are an EEA or Swiss national.

The rules about working in the UK are complex and change frequently. This is a brief guide to some of the options, but for full and up-to-date information, follow the web-links at the end of the page.

The Points Based System for immigration consists of different tiers (categories) of visas which allow people from outside the EEA/EU to work or study in the UK.

Working in the UK while a student

Depending on your status, it is possible to work in the UK whilst you are studying, and there are routes to work in the UK upon completion of your Oxford degree.

Tier 2 visas
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Under Tier 2, licensed employers can sponsor applicants for a specific graduate-level job. There are special arrangements for applying in the UK for a Tier 2 visa for recent graduates, and DPhil students who have completed at least a year of their course. To qualify under this scheme you must have a suitable job offer from a licensed sponsor, have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship, and meet financial and language requirements. The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provides useful information about applying under Tier 2.

You can check whether an employer is a Tier 2 licensed sponsor by looking at the Home Office’s register. You will need to discuss with a prospective employer whether they are willing and able to sponsor you. The salary offered must be both at the appropriate level for the job and at least £20,800 per annum, whichever is higher. If you apply under the special arrangements for students, your employer is exempt from undertaking a Resident Labour Market Test.

It is also possible to apply under Tier 2 later from outside the UK, but this is more restrictive for both you and the employer.

Tier 4 - Doctorate Extension Scheme
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The Tier 4 visa under the Doctorate Extension Scheme allows DPhil students nearing the end of their studies to stay in the UK for one year afterwards – to seek and take work, or to be self-employed. You must be sponsored by the University and apply in the UK before you officially complete your studies. See the University’s ‘After Your Studies’ webpage for further advice.

Start-up Visa endorsement
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The University of Oxford may endorse up to thirty applicants annually whose business proposals demonstrate innovation, viability, and scalability. The endorsement process is run by the Careers Service. It is separate from the visa application, which is the second stage of the process and is administered by the Student Immigration team.

Successful endorsement applicants can apply for a visa for two years to develop their business idea. Proof of satisfactory progression within the business is required to keep an endorsement. Additional employment is allowed to supplement income whilst the business is in development. The applicant’s dependent partner and any children can also apply to come to or remain in the UK.

The University of Oxford Careers Service invites all those who wish to stay in the UK to develop their business ideas and who meet the eligibility criteria, to apply for University endorsement.  We are keen to support entrepreneurial activity at all levels, from any discipline, and with any sort of business idea. Previously endorsed businesses include:

  • Social enterprises and not-for-profits
  • Technology start-ups
  • Funding generation and investment organisations
  • Digital education tools
  • Energy research

Applications for endorsement are invited four times a year. For dates of the current call for applications, please see CareerConnect or our blog, or email us.

Who is eligible?

  1. Applicants must be non-EEA nationals.
  2. Meet one of the following requirements:
    • Have received, or will receive, their degree from the University of Oxford.
    • Are working at Oxford as a postgraduate with a Tier 2 visa.
    • Are working at the University as research staff.
    • For all non-graduates or those without any association with the University of Oxford, they must currently be living in the UK and intend to establish their business in Oxfordshire.
  3. They must also:
    • have a business plan that demonstrates innovation, viability, and scalability.
    • not have previously been granted a Post Study Work visa
    • not have previously established a business in the UK
    • fulfil an English language requirement (automatically qualified by completing a degree taught in English at Oxford or another UK university; applicants who have not completed a degree taught in English will need to provide other formal proof)

Information for existing visa holders

Be aware that Tier 4 and Tier 2 visa conditions do not allow holders of said visas to be self employed or engage in business. Be careful whilst working on any business idea for a Start-up visa endorsement application to avoid breaching the conditions of an existing visa.

How to apply

Applicants must apply by email to brianna.thompson@careers.ox.ac.uk. Endorsement is a competitive process and applicants will be required to show evidence that they have a innovative, scalable and viable idea.

Application Template

1. Business Plan and Summary Information

You can download the application template by clicking here.  Please pay attention to the maximum number of pages allowed for each part, any pages in excess of these limits will not be reviewed. 

2. CV

A termly call for applications will be announced on our blog.  All applications should be submitted as a single PDF.

If we receive too many applications for one round, we may ask those applicants whose current visas are not in danger of expiring to resubmit for the following round of applications.

What should you bear in mind when making an application?

When writing your application, it is worth bearing in mind that the panel will be looking for evidence that you have an innovative, viable, and scalable business idea, specifically:

  • Innovative: a genuinely new idea, perhaps based on a combination of existing technology and a new market. For example, proposing to expand an existing business currently based in another country into an established UK market would not meet this criterion.
  • Viable: how sustainable is the business? Will it rely purely on the goodwill of your friends, or will your funding be crowdsourced? How will it reach the relevant financial thresholds within 2 years so that you can transition to another visa?
  • Scalable: attractive business ideas will employ people (and pay taxes!). Proposals for single person tutoring businesses are not necessarily scalable and would be rejected.

The panel will also want to understand why your business will benefit from being based in the UK and the potential reward for local and/or national economy to having said business based here. Some of the criteria the panel look for in an application include those listed below. It is beneficial to provide evidence you meet as many of these as possible.

  • Minimum UK Home Office criteria to apply for Start- up visa
  • Personal commitment to the business
  • Support from the university and elsewhere
  • Previous relevant experience
  • Innovative, viable, and scalable idea
  • Ownership, or co-ownership, of said idea
  • Feedback from current or potential users
  • Financing – actual and/or promised
  • Contracts and/or agreements in place
  • Formalising of the business
  • Realistic business plan
  • Realistic and useful performance measures

If your application is unsuccessful

We aim to provide feedback for each applicant that is invited to attend an interview and all applicants are welcome to apply again.

If you feel that your application was not judged fairly or was assessed using criteria not clearly stated in the guidelines you can request a review of the decision.

Further information

For information on the Start-up visa application process (post endorsement) and eligibility please visit the UKVI website:

If you would like to receive email updates on upcoming deadlines as well as information sessions you can sign up to our Start-up Visa mailing list.

Other options
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Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa

Nationals aged under 31 of Australia, Canada, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, South Korea or Taiwan and non-citizen British nationals might be eligible to apply under the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) for a two year visa to experience life in the UK, including taking employment. Visas are issued under a quota system, and you have to apply from your home country. More information can be found on the UK government website.

Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange visa

You may be able to remain in the UK after completing a degree for an internship. The intern needs to be sponsored through a scheme for the placement. A separate organisation normally acts as sponsor for the employer’s internship programme. For information, visit the UKVI website.

UK Ancestry Visa

If you are a Commonwealth citizen with a grandparent born in the UK, you may be able to apply from your home country for a visa for five years to look for a job and work, on the basis of UK ancestry. See the UKVI website: UK Ancestry visa for more information.

Our resources
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Regrettably, Careers Advisers cannot offer advice to students about their visa options beyond the information on this page.

We do, however, host regular talks at the Careers Service delivered by the Student Information and Advisory Service – for international students wanting to find out more about their visa options.

External resources
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Post-Brexit visa information
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Although the Careers Service is not able to provide individual visa advice, there are useful resources elsewhere in the University which may help students and their situations. The Student Visa Office has sent through the very latest re any changes post 29 March, although it is obviously an ever-developing situation.

There is an EU Settlement Scheme already available and there will be eligibility changes to this if there is a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. Plus, in a no-deal scenario, totally new entrants to the UK after 29 March who want to remain in the UK for more than 3 months will have to apply for ‘European Temporary Leave to Remain’ which will be valid for a further 3 years.

Here are the main sites. There are many links to further information and other websites within these pages too:

There was also a Government White Paper issued in December about plans for the immigration system post Brexit:

Information about applying for settled or pre-settled status can be found on the UK Government website.


Please note that the latest information about the possible impact of Brexit on Oxford students will be published first on the University website here.

You can download your enrolment certificate from Student self-service.

For previous completed Oxford courses you could request a degree confirmation letter.

If you have further queries, please contact:

This information was last updated on 11 November 2019.
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Recent blogs about UK Visas

Start-up Visa Endorsement Application – Information Session

Blogged by Brianna Thompson on 16/10/2019.

This information session (with the Student Visa and Immigration Office and Endorsement Panel Chair) is an opportunity to better understand what the endorsement panel at Oxford are looking for, and the process of making your application. We strongly advise anyone thinking of making an application for endorsement to attend.

When: 7 November 2019, 9:15-10:00
Where: The Careers Service, 56 Banbury Road
TO BOOK A PLACE at this discussion contact brianna.thompson@careers.ox.ac.uk with your name and, if applicable, the course and year(s) of study at the University of Oxford.

We are keen to support entrepreneurial activity at all levels and encourage people from any discipline and with any sort of business idea to apply.

More information can be found on our visas page or you can sign up to our Start-up Visa mailing list.

Start-up Visa Endorsement – apply now!

Blogged by Brianna Thompson on 15/10/2019.

All applications must be emailed to brianna.thompson@careers.ox.ac.uk by Wednesday 20 November at 12 noon.

If you have an idea for a business, have a venture currently in development, or are piloting a new concept, you may be eligible to apply for our endorsement under the Start-up Visa scheme, which allows non-EEA nationals to reside in the UK in order to develop their business.

Previously endorsed businesses have included:

  • Social enterprises and not-for-profits
  • Technology start-ups
  • Funding generation and investment organisations
  • Digital education tools
  • Energy research

The University of Oxford can endorse up to thirty applicants per year. Calls for applications are held four times a year. The next deadline for applications is Wednesday 20 November at 12 noon. Applications are now open, and you can apply by email to brianna.thompson@careers.ox.ac.uk

You can find more information and details of how to apply on our visas information page or on CareerConnect. Alternatively, you can sign up to our Start-up Visa mailing list.

Interviews for shortlisted applicants will take place on Thursday 5 December at the Careers Service (date and location are subject to change).  You must be able to attend these interviews in person.

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa Endorsement – apply now!

Blogged by Debra Popperwell on 07/11/2018.

All applications must be sent by Monday 3 December at 12 noon.

If you have an idea for a business, have a venture currently in development, or are piloting a new concept, you may be eligible to apply for our endorsement under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa scheme, which allows non-EEA nationals who are graduates or post-doctoral researchers to reside in the UK in order to develop their business.

Previously endorsed businesses have included:

  • Social enterprises and not-for-profits
  • Technology start-ups
  • Funding generation and investment organisations
  • Digital education tools
  • Energy research

The University of Oxford can endorse up to thirty applicants per year. Calls for applications are held four times a year: once in each term, and once during the Long Vacation. The next deadline for applications is Monday 3 December at 12 noon.

You can find more information and details of how to apply on our visa page or on CareerConnect.

Interviews for shortlisted applicants will take place on Thursday 13 December at Careers Service (date and location are subject to change).

KPMG Graduate Scheme for mainland Chinese / Hong Kong students

Posted on behalf of KPMG . Blogged by Julia Hilton on 19/07/2018.

At KPMG, our purpose is to “Inspire Confidence and Empower Change”, helping China to open its doors to the rest of the world and work with our clients to create the future. As one of the world’s leading professional firms offering audit, tax and advisory services, we have around 12,000 partners and staff working across 19 cities in China.

With our first-class learning and development programme for new joiners, you will be able to unleash your potential and become an integral part of a multi-disciplinary team to help our clients excel in the changing market environment. Our reputation as a leading professional service provider is reinforced by the wide range of awards KPMG has received over the years as the employer of choice, for our strong community involvement and our wealth of knowledge in the professional industries. A perfect place to start an extraordinary career!

Early offer opportunity
This year, you have an ‘early offer opportunity’ which will allow you to secure a place on our world-class graduate programme before returning back to university for your final year thus allowing you to focus on your studies. Don’t miss your chance to stay one step ahead of your peers! All degree disciplines are welcome. This unique opportunity means that you can go through the selection process in August. We strongly encourage you to complete the application now or before 5 August to ensure that you don’t miss out on the chance to secure a position for 2019 before you enter your final year, leaving you free to focus on your studies.

If you’re interested in our 2018/19 KPMG graduate programme, please apply here
(select “2019 Graduate Programme” in the system). For further details, please visit
our website. Personal data will be collected for recruitment purposes only.
Should you have any queries, feel free to email us at graduates.hk@kpmg.com or call
our hotline (+852) 2525 5845.

We have a team member – Maria Forrest, dedicated to mainland Chinese / Hong Kong
students wishing to return home after graduation. Please feel free to contact her with
any enquiries at maria.forrest@kpmg.com.

Staying in the UK to Work (Oxford University Student Information & Advisory Service)

Blogged by Claire Chesworth on 23/01/2018.

If you are studying with a Tier 4 visa and are thinking about staying on in the UK to work, come to this talk to hear about the main visa options for this. The talk will focus on the Tier 2 system where a licensed employer can sponsor you for a graduate level job, and the special provisions for switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2.

In addition, the Doctorate Extension Scheme for DPhil students, Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur for those with a business idea, and Tier 5 options for those interested in work experience or an internship in the UK will also be covered.

Meet the University’s student Visa and Immigration Advisers who will explain the advice available from the University and stay for your individual questions after the talk.

  • When: Tuesday 6 February, 12.30-14.00
  • Where: The Careers Service

 

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