SOAS University of London

International Students

Working After Your Studies

Listed below are a number of visa schemes that will allow you to work in the UK after your studies at SOAS.

Tier 2 (Skilled Worker)

Tier 2 (General) (formally known as work permits and anticipated to become known as Skilled Worker visa) is a tier of the Points Based System that allows an employer who is on the Home Office list of Tier 2 licensed sponsors to sponsor an employee who would not usually be allowed to work in the UK. The list of Tier 2 sponsors can be found on the GOV.UK register of licensed sponsors web page.

Recent SOAS graduates (and those of other recognised UK bodies) with a Bachelors Degree, Masters Degree or those who have studied at least one year towards a PhD can apply to work under the Tier 2 category. To qualify, a graduate requires an offer of a skilled job which meets the salary requirements for the visa route. Salary levels for various industries are listed in the Tier 2 Codes of Practice which can be found on the GOV.UK sponsorship information web page.

Tier 2 licensed sponsors are allowed by the Home Office to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to employ a specific graduate doing a specific job. The graduate can use the CoS to apply for leave to remain and work in the UK under Tier 2.

The Tier 2 rules place a responsibility on employers to ensure that they have tried to recruit an employee from within the UK or EEA before they employ a migrant from outside the EEA; this is known as the Resident Labour Market test. However, employers do not have to complete this test for recent graduates who are applying for Tier 2 in the UK. Additionally, the annual limits to the number of Tier 2 Certificates of Sponsorship that can be issued do not apply to these graduates. Recent graduates are also exempt from a charge levied on employers sponsoring workers on Tier 2 called the Immigration Skills Charge.

You can start looking for work before you get your qualification but you cannot accept a permanent job offer as a Tier 4 migrant. Once you have completed your course at SOAS, your employer can issue your Certificate of Sponsorship so that you can then apply to switch from Tier 4 or a Student visa into Tier 2. 

If you have made your Tier 2 application having completed your course, but are still awaiting results that confirm you have been successful, you will not be able to start your Tier 2 job until the Home Office grants your Tier 2 immigration permission.  

For more information about Tier 2 please visit the GOV.UK Tier 2 overview web page.

Start Up visa

SOAS are signed up to the Start Up visa scheme. The scheme is designed to enable graduates that we assess as having developed a genuine and credible business idea to extend their stay in the UK after graduation to establish one or more businesses. SOAS can sponsor a limited number of students each year on the scheme. To find out more please go to the Start Up visa web page.

Doctorate Extension Scheme

PhD Candidates nearing the award of their degree could qualify to extend their Tier 4 or Student visa for a further year to work in the UK. For more information please see the Doctorate Extension Scheme web page

Other visa types which allow work in the UK after your studies

There may be other possible visas available which may allow you to work in the UK after your studies. The Student Advisors (Immigration and Finance), can provide you with further information about available options, please email

Where can I get help looking for work?

The SOAS Careers Service offers guidance, advice and information resources on careers, employers, vacancies, CV’s and interview skills.