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

Tier 2 (General) (formally known as work permits) 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 this Gov.UK 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 with a starting salary of over £20,800 (or £30,000 for certain applicants) or the industry equivalent. Salary levels for various industries are listed in the Tier 2 Codes of Practice on this Gov.UK web page.

Tier 2 licensed sponsors are allowed by the Home Office to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to employ a specific graduate doing a specific job. The graduate can use the Certificate of Sponsorship 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 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 this Gov.UK web page.

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

SOAS are signed up to the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) scheme which opened in April 2012. The scheme is designed to enable graduates that we identify 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 Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) web page.

Doctorate Extension Scheme

PhD Candidates nearing the award of their degree could qualify to extend their Tier 4 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

Other work related visa categories include; Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent), Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme), Tier 5 (Temporary Worker), UK Ancestry and Turkish Workers. For more information about work related visas please visit the UKCISA website.

The Student Adviser (Immigration and Finance), John Hitchman, will be running a series of talks during the summer term on working after your studies. If you would like to attend a talk 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.