Top of main content

Staying in the UK with a post-study work visa

Good news for international students studying in the UK. The UK government has reinstated the popular post-study work (PSW) visa. This will allow students to remain in the country for up to 2 years after graduation.

The "graduate route" visa is available for all international students who have completed an undergraduate or higher course study at an approved higher-education institution.

The UK is a popular destination for overseas students looking for an opportunity to get a top-notch education in a multicultural environment. It's home to 3 of the top 10 universities in the world, and UK-issued degrees are internationally recognised.

Students love the UK, especially the work-life balance

UK Immigration statistics show that there were over 30,000 students from India alone studying in the UK in 2019 – representing a whopping 60% year-on-year increase1. When the visa was abolished in 2011, international students were no longer able to stay in the UK to find employment unless they found a job at a company that was willing to sponsor a work visa for them.

It's not hard to see the draw of a life in the UK. Besides its vibrant, multicultural culture that celebrates diversity and inspires creativity, it's a beautiful region with so much to offer, both in its cities and its spectacular countryside. Work-life balance is also a big thing in the UK. While some of the most exciting jobs are situated there, you can be sure you'll still have time to pursue your hobbies or travel around Europe.

The "graduate route" visa means students can look for work

Students cite the quality of research, free public healthcare, the ability to work while studying and the opportunities made available to them from a cross-cultural education as some of the main reasons why they choose the UK for higher education.

Reinstating the PSW visa makes the UK an attractive choice for international students who want to start their career there after their studies. Although the visa has a cap of 2 years, it gives you the opportunity to search for official work visa sponsorship from your existing company or other firms while you're there.

When you're looking for a job in a particular country, it always helps when you're already physically there (although virtual interviews are fast becoming a thing). That's how the PSW visa would really come in handy, if you're looking to stay in the UK for the longer term.

If you’re interested in living and working elsewhere in Europe, other countries will also offer attractive post-study work visas for international students. You can find the most recent information about these visas on government websites.

UK checklist

We've put together a checklist to prepare students for their studies abroad. Sorting out all the logistical stuff early means you can relax and enjoy your last few months at home.

Not studying in the UK? We have checklists for the US and Australia, too.

Ready to open an overseas account?

We can tell you the best way for you to apply for an overseas account. Simply select your current location and where you would like to open an account. We'll then walk you through the steps.

If you're still exploring your options to study and work abroad, maybe we can help you.


HSBC Holdings plc has prepared this article based on publicly available information at the time of preparation from sources it believes to be reliable but it has not independently verified such information. HSBC Holdings plc and the HSBC Group (together, "HSBC") are not responsible for any loss, damage, liabilities or other consequences of any kind that you may incur or suffer as a result of, arising from or relating to your use of or reliance on this article. The contents of this article are subject to change without notice. HSBC gives no guarantee, representation or warranty as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of this article.


This article is not investment advice or a recommendation nor is it intended to sell investments or services or solicit purchases or subscriptions. This article should not be used as the basis for any decision on taxation, estate, trusts or legacy planning. You should not use or rely on this article in making any investment decision. HSBC is not responsible for such use or reliance by you. Any market information shown refers to the past and should not be seen as an indication of future market performance. You should always consider seeking professional advice when thinking about undertaking any form of prime residential or commercial property purchase, sale or rental. You should consult your professional advisor in your jurisdiction if you have any questions regarding the contents of this article.

1 63% increase in Indian students choosing to study in the UK