The Tier 1 Post-Study Work Visa: How to Get the Best Deal

As an international student, you’ve probably heard repeatedly about the importance of an excellent post-study visa. The perfect visa can help you obtain work opportunities and study abroad experiences you won’t forget. However, as with most things in life, there are gray areas, and some visas may give you a better deal than others.

The Tier 1 Post-Study Work Visa: How to Get the Best Deal

If you are an international student who has graduated from a U.S. school and wants to stay in the U.S., then your post-study work visa is crucial. It not only gives you access to American job opportunities but also means that you qualify for a lower salary than other applicants. But what does it mean when applying for a post-study work visa? Where might it be more advantageous to use? And how can you get the best deal?


The third and final category of visas is Tier 1, a post-study work visa. This means you can come to the U.S. to pursue higher education, take up a full-time job offer from an American company, or study for at least two years. It does not matter where you’re applying for a Tier 1 Visa — in most cases; you need to have graduated from an accredited university or college with a bachelor’s degree or higher. If you plan on staying in the U.S. after your studies are over, it may be worth looking into getting a Tier 1 visa instead of a different visa that will let you remain in the U.S. for extended periods. Depending on your educational history and plans, there are several ways to get the best deal on working toward your dream career in the U.S while still receiving permanent residence status upon graduation. Here's how to do it:
The UK government introduced a new post-study employment visa in September 2019 for overseas students who graduate from UK universities. The key was submitted seven years after the expiration of its predecessor.

The Graduate Immigration Route, as this new immigration policy is formally named, will allow overseas students who graduate in the summer of 2021 or later to stay in the UK for an additional two years.
Graduates will be permitted to work or search for a job in the UK throughout those two years. Once they get employment, they may apply for a work visa and start settling down.

What Are the Requirements for the Graduate Immigration Route in the UK?

The main requirements for obtaining a UK post-study work visa include the following:

    You must be graduating in the summer of 2021 or afterward. This means all students from the 2020/2021 academic year and those on two-year courses that began in 2019 will benefit from the visa.

  •     You must be graduating from an undergraduate-level program or higher.
  •     You must have a track record of compliance.
  •     You must have a valid Tier 4 student visa at the time of application.
  •     You must have a full degree – not from a short-term language course, etc.
  •     You must have a degree from a licensed visa sponsor university.

How to Apply for a Tier 1 Visa after Studying in the U.S.

To apply for a Tier 1 Visa, you’ll need to go through a sponsorship process. The process varies a bit from one university to the next. Still, generally, you’ll apply to the National Student Exchange Service (NEMS) and demonstrate you have a place to stay and financial support for the course of study. Once approved, you can begin your studies in the U.S. and receive a permanent residence card (Green Card). Depending on your situation and the type of visa you’re applying for, you may receive a faster processor or be able to apply for a Green Card as early as six months after you start your studies.

The One thing you need to know before you apply

One of the main things to keep in mind before applying for a Tier 1 Visa is to make sure you have sufficient funds to support yourself while you’re in the U.S. If you don’t have the money to put away while you’re in the U.S., you may have to return to your home country and apply for a different visa type that will allow you more significant time to build up your funds. You can find out more information about how to apply for a Tier 1 Visa and determine your eligibility for each specific visa type at the Department of State’s website.

How to Apply for a Non-Melting-Ice-Based visa

If you’re not interested in going to work for a specific company and want to be able to stay in the U.S. for at least two years, a non-melting-ice-based visa may be for you. There are many non-melting-ice-based visas, and the one you can apply for depends on the length of your study visit and your intended employment. You can find a complete list of non-melting-ice-based visas on the Department of State website. The most common non-melting-ice-based visa types are spouse/partner visa, admission for people accompanying spouse/partner on specific transit or employment-based visas, and investor visa.


Apply for an Optional Practical Training (OPT) visa

If you’re interested in working in the U.S. and want to stay for more extended periods, a long-term visa is the perfect way to go. A long-term visa allows you to stay in the country for six years but is open-ended and can be renewed yearly. OPT visas are often better than non-specific ones that come with the job offer because you can apply for a different type of visa when needed. They are also suitable for people who want to work toward a particular degree, such as if you're going to earn a doctorate and want to work toward that goal while in the U.S. Some of the benefits of an OPT visa are that you can apply for a green card while you’re waiting for your visa to be approved. You can apply for a different visa type if you want to change jobs or earn a higher salary in the U.S.

How to Apply for a UK Post-Study Work Visa?

Although there are still no official guidelines for the application process, if you intend to apply for the UK Post Study Visa in the future, you have to:

  1. Fulfil all the requirements, as detailed above.
  2. Apply before your Tier 4 visa expires.
  3. Submit a new application to the UK Home Office, including payment of all the relevant application fees and an Immigration Health Surcharge. The fees for the Graduate Immigration Route will be disclosed in the meantime.

You will likely not be able to start an application until 2021 when your graduation date nears. In the meantime, you should check with the UK Home Office for the latest developments and updates regarding the post-study visa application.

When Will the UK Post Study Work Visa Be Implemented?

The Graduate Immigration Route is expected to function starting in the summer of 2021. So, students graduating in 2020 won’t be able to apply for it.

Because the new visa policy has yet to be implemented, there are still no detailed guidelines and requirements.

Can I Still Get a UK Post-Study Work Visa If I Was Distance Learning Due to Covid-19?

Yes, students who were forced to undergo distance learning or blended learning during the Covid-19 pandemic will be able to use the post-study work visa provided they are back in the UK by 6 April 2021. They have to spend at least one semester in the UK.

So, to get the UK post-study work visa despite distance learning, you have to:

  • Return to the UK before 6 April 2021
  • Finish your final semester in the UK.
  • Have a valid Tier 4 student visa
  • Meet all the other eligibility criteria for the new graduate visa

The new temporary concession was announced in a new Covid-19 guide by the UK Home Office published in June 2020.

The university should sponsor the graduates for a post-study visa.

No, candidates for the UK's two-year post-study employment visa do not require a sponsor during this time. Their employer will act as their sponsor once they have a job.

When I already have a student status, may I apply for a post-study work visa?

The Graduate Immigration Route is only available to current UK students who will graduate in the summer of 2021. Unfortunately, you cannot apply for the post-study work visa if you graduate before that time and your Tier 4 student visa expires.

Can I Settle in the UK with the Post Study Work Visa?

No, the post-study work visa (Graduate Immigration Route) will not count toward residency or settlement in the UK. You can only use this visa to find a job and get a UK-to-work visa, which does count toward your residence and payment.

See the types of UK work visas:

  •     Tier 2 General Work Visa
  •     Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa
  •     Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa

Can You Extend a Post Study Work Visa?

No, you cannot. The post-study work visa is only issued for a maximum of two years. If you have not found a job and applied for a skilled work visa during that time, you cannot extend the post-study work visa further.


Can You Have Dependents With a Post Study Work Visa?

Although the entire post-study visa regulations are still unknown, dependents will likely not be able to apply simultaneously as the primary visa holder. The exception is if the dependents are already in the UK under a Tier 4 Dependent Visa.

After Brexit, would EU citizens still require a post-study visa?

Since the UK is currently in its Brexit transitional phase till the end of 2020, EU residents are still permitted to work and study there without a visa.

The laws might alter starting in January 2021, however, to treat citizens of EU and non-EU nations equally. As a result, EU nationals who wish to pursue higher education in the UK must apply for both a Tier 4 visa and a post-study visa.

 Apply for the EU Settlement Scheme if you want to stay in the UK after Brexit.

The new UK post-study work visa's motivating factors. According to Home Secretary Priti Patel, the UK's new post-study employment visa (the Graduate Immigration Route) is an effort by the British government to "attract the finest and brightest" among overseas students.

The new visa supports the UK government's Overseas Education Strategy, which seeks to increase education exports to £35 billion by 2030 and enroll 600,000 international students in higher education.

The Final words

The best way to get a leg up in the job market is to be prepared. Ensure you’re aware of the different types of visas and the responsibilities of each type of visa. Follow the tips above and be ready to apply for the best deal on working toward your dream career in the U.S. As you make your way through the process, don’t forget to keep your ears open for any advice or recommendations from other students who’ve gone through the application process.

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