This is an opportunity to apply for a visa to allow you to remain in the UK to work, look for work, be self-employed, or engage in business for 2 years if you have completed an undergraduate, PGCE, or Master's degree, or 3 years if you have completed a DPhil. You do not need a job offer and you do not need to be sponsored by the University or an employer. This new route is a great opportunity to build experience in the UK across a variety of sectors. Some describe it as a way for employers and students to ‘try before you buy’ unlike the Skilled Worker visa which requires sponsorship. However, some employers may prefer to invest longer term in international students and so may prefer the Skilled Worker Visa (see below). To be eligible for the Graduate Route, you will need to have completed your course and be in the UK with a valid Tier 4 or Student visa.
The University of Oxford has endorsed applicants whose business proposals demonstrate innovation, viability, and scalability. The Start-Up Visa scheme will be ending on 13 April 2023 and the final round of applications for endorsement has now taken place.
The Start-Up route will be merged into the Innovator visa from 13 April 2023 and for further information about the requirements, see the Home Office guidance.
Applicants who have been offered a job by an employer who holds a license and have been issued a Certificate of Sponsorship are eligible for the Skilled worker visa category.
For a Skilled worker visa application, the salary offered must be appropriate to the type of work and meet the minimum salary requirement depending on the type of work. If you switch into this category from a student visa. or within 3 months of completing your degree, your qualifying salary could be lower than the usual level for the type of work. Many graduate employers who invest long term in hiring graduates are likely to use the skilled worker visa instead of Graduate Route since the latter is more time limited.
In order to apply for skilled worker visa from within the UK, if your last visa granted was as a student, you will have to show that you have completed, during the period of that visa, or a previous visa which you have now extended, a degree or at least one year of your DPhil. If you have finished your course at the University you can include a Degree Certificate, Final Academic Transcript or a Degree Confirmation Letter to prove that that you meet this requirement. You will not need to meet the maintenance requirement if you apply to switch into this visa in the UK and have held a student visa for the last 12 months. For further information, see the Home Office requirements.
We regularly host visa talks with the Oxford Student Immigration team. For details of our next talk please visit CareerConnect and search ‘Staying to work in the UK’. Access latest copy of advice and guidance on staying to work in the UK:
Careers Advisers can support you to make competitive applications for jobs but are not legally able to advise you on individual visa questions. However, we often help international applicants think strategically about their options and the sectors they are applying to and how the various visa options fit with your career interests. Julia Hilton, Careers Adviser, regularly speaks with international students on this topic and is Co-Chair of the AGCAS Internalisation Task Group in the UK.