Tag Archives: UK student visa news

Where International Students to Europe are From

How many migrants come to Europe to study each year? Migreat dug into the data about Europe’s five major education markets and has summed it up in what we think is a beautiful infographic.

Infographic Students to Europe v2-01-01-01

Main circles – Top 10 country of origin
The above infographic depicts the top 10 countries of origin for international students for each of the five major study abroad destinations in Europe.

Each circle represents a country, from the least popular of the five European countries (Spain attracts just 1.5% o international students globally) to the most attractive (the UK attracts 11% of all international students).

The bars on the edge of a circle represent the international student country of origin. The size of the bar is proportional to the volume of international students from that country compared to other nationalities for that single education hub.

You can spot a few countries like China, Morocco, Germany and  Italy – which are major sources of international students to Europe.

Bottom bars – Absolute volumes of International Students to Europe
The bars at the bottom put these proportions in perspective by their absolute values. For example, there are almost 8 times more international students in the UK than in Spain.

Comparing volumes of international students from one country to another instead of nationalities enables everything to be put into perspective.

For example, Indian students are only in the top 10 for the UK. Indians do not appear to be moving to other European hubs in significant numbers to study.

Still, from an absolute numbers perspective, there are more Indians studying abroad in the UK (almost 30,000) than Moroccans (first country of origin of international students to France) studying abroad in France (28,000 approx).

Future of International student immigration to Europe?
With immigration rules for international students in the UK changing and tightening, the volumes and the countries of origin for international students will likely be affected.

Will Indian students start studying in France after the French government confirmed to offer a Post-study work visa for Indians of two years? Or will they move to Germany where the Government is proactively looking to attract Indian workers with a job employment platform built for them to find work in Germany?

What is certain, is that continental Europe has set goals to attract more international students to its universities and for this, they have laid down attractive offers:

Need help with your student visa application? Ask online to Migreat Immigration experts.

Why should I consider an internship in the UK after graduation?

In 2013, the OECD’s Better Life Index described the UK as one of the best countries to live and work in. The UK’s rich history, vibrant culture and worldwide reputation for academic and professional excellence are why many international students from all over the world want to live and work here.

However, with the lack of post-study work opportunities and the current restrictions around work visas, how does one gain this valuable work experience?

The simple answer is to use the Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange Visa scheme to stay in the UK for a year or two.


The internship visa

The Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange visa scheme offers a smart alternative for trainee professionals who wish to come to the UK to share knowledge, best practice, and to experience the social and cultural life – without the bureaucracy and tight rules of Tier 2 work visas.

It allows UK employers to offer work experience programmes to skilled non-EEA graduate recruits who wish to undertake practical work experiences in the UK. It provides an excellent opportunity for both employers and migrant workers to assess their compatibility before both sides commit to a permanent position under alternative visa routes.

Helping international talent stay and gain work experience in the UK: Case study

Kate Andrews, Communications Manager and American Correspondent for Adam Smith Institute, is staying in the UK on this visa scheme.

When I finished my studies at University of St. Andrews, I took some time to figure out what my real interests were, where my skill-set lay, and what I would be most happy doing. The easy part was knowing that I wanted to work in the UK for a think tank in a role that I care deeply about, but the hard part was finding a think tank that had a Tier 2 sponsorship license and would also be willing to sponsor me for a work visa.


Working abroad in a job I was really passionate about wasn’t going to be an option, if it hadn’t been for the Tier 5 GAE Visa scheme. It seemed too simple.

How it works

The Tier 5 sponsor organisation, Access Tier 5 promised to:

  1. a) Fully sponsor me for a 12 months visa;
  2. b) Offer their services for a fraction of what it would cost a company or organization to get a Tier 2 license;
  3. c) Support me every step of the way, from securing my visa to any work or visa related issues that came up throughout the year.

Once I had an official offer from my employer, Access Tier 5 conducted an assessment to ensure that I was eligible for the Tier 5 visa. Once my eligibility was confirmed, every worry was taken off my hands and it was simply a matter of filling in the visa application form, sending my documents to UK Home Office and waiting for the visa to arrive; the whole process took less than 3 weeks.

What you get from it

Tier 5 GAE visa helped me realise my dream placement with the Adam Smith Institute, which has now opened more doors for me than I ever had back over in the States.

Not only can I now say I worked abroad (all employers love to hear that), but I’ve had the opportunity to plan events in Westminster, get quoted in daily newspapers, do TV and radio appearances to advocate for the Institute’s policies, and speak at national conferences as a spokesperson for the Institute.

Every recent graduate has ambitions and skills to offer. New graduates, especially, need to be able to move freely and access all kinds of experiences and resources, and it’s organisations like Access Tier 5 that make all doors open and all opportunities possible.”

Two indian professionals

You never know where an internship might take you. If you want to work in the UK but believe the immigration rules are against you, don’t despair. Although it may appear daunting, Tier 5 GAE visa provides a perfect solution for genuine skilled candidates like Kate who want to stay in the UK to gain work experience.

So, if you are an international student and in a similar case to Kate, get in touch with migreat.com to find out your visa options to stay work in the UK, or if you already have an internship offer, get in touch with member of our team at Access Tier 5 via migreat.com forum to see if we can sponsor you under this route.


 zenia-chopraThis guest blog post is provided to you by Zenia Chopra, Head of Sales & Marketing at Access Tier 5, overarching body of the Tier 5 GAE route and partner of Migreat.com.

Finding it hard to get a sponsored job after graduation? NUS wants to hear from you

International students: NUS wants to hear your experiences of work, during and after graduation.

international home office 559x209
NUS Campaigns for International Students. Photo Credits NUS

It is a tough time for International students in the UK because of current immigration rules. Most spend tens of thousands of pounds on a UK degree, are restricted on work they can take during study, and ultimately are given a handful months to find and convince an employer to sponsor their work visa after graduating.

Tough times

NUS is currently working at finding a way out of this situation. NUS would like to get a Post Study Work visa back – joining a call made earlier by Lord Bilimoria and voiced by several Students Unions across the UK – among which some decided to simple become sponsors employers themselves!


Solutions for International Students

Nevertheless, current work visas solutions exist (click here to learn about the 5 post-graduation visa options outside of the tier 2 work visa). If interested in an internship, temporary work or starting a business, the UK has options for graduates that enables non-EU students to stay for a period of at least a year to two years.

Yet, it is tough for students to access that information and be supported in the process. These lesser known specific visas are less straightforward than sponsored visas.

Join the campaign! 

The NUS is calling on International students to participate actively to the campaign by sharing their story here to bring more evidence that the UK needs more flexible work visa rules for International students. This campaign is aimed at discussing a return of the PSW.

Meanwhile, Migreat will continue assist non-EU migrants by providing personalised free and online information.

Check you visa options after graduation online using Migreat Visa Finder tool and share this article with all international students struggling with visas you know.



“International students: Give me your money, take my degree and piss off my country”

Every now and then, Migreat blog opens up to people with a strong view on immigration or working at making immigration works.

Today, we turn to Sheffields Student Union’s, one of UK most active Student Unions on their fight for the return of a post study work visa for International Students, to write about the actual situation faced by International Students in the UK and tell us more about their campaign.


Today, if the Government spoke plainly about international students, I believe it would not be far from this statement.

How regularly do you hear a politician criticise immigrants for taking jobs from British people, putting pressure on public services, or that they come just to enjoy the UK’s benefits?

If I was to make a drinking game out of it, I would be pissed at work every single day.

No Borders Student Unions Fights International Student visa rules by Migreat Blog

Discovering the problems

Whether or not international students truly feel welcome in Sheffield is not just down to us. The truth is that international students have far too many problems to consider it a good decision to study in the UK. The following are just a few:

  • International students are included in the net migration figures of the Government. Despite being almost forced to leave the UK when they graduate, the Government insists that they are permanent migrants and subjects them to all the damaging, restrictive and abusive immigration policies.

  • The possibility for international students to find work after they graduate is very limited after the Post Study Work visa route closed in 2012. This caused the first drop in international students coming to study to the UK for more than 30 years; particularly with Indian students.

  • Many International students from war/conflict areas see their sponsorship lost or frozen. They are forced to leave the country to face life or death scenarios if they cannot find an alternative payment method.

  • After paying thousands of pounds, international students enrolled at an institution that loses its “Highly Trusted Sponsor” status face deportation from the UK without recovering any of their money, despite being the victims.

Finding solutions

In the same way there are problems, there have been solutions proposed to the Government over and over again by students, public institutions, employers and the public; basically almost everyone that is not Home Secretary Theresa May or a hardliner on immigration:

  • International students should be removed from the net migration figures: They should be considered temporary migrants just as our global competitors do (USA, Australia, Canada…) and with this, stop subjecting them to the current immigration policies. This position is now the official policy of Labour, the Liberal Democrats and even UKIP, as well as many Conservatives who are dismayed by ongoing messages which damage such a vital success story for the UK internationally.

  • The Post Study Work visa should be reintroduced: International students value a UK work experience (between 6 months and 3 years) as much as a UK Higher Education degree. The work experience is an integral part of international students’ education at the UK.

  • The Government should introduce a hardship scheme to protect international students from war/conflicts outbreaks. We should protect them from having to face a life/death scenario whilst they have reached a safe environment in the UK.

  • International students should have access to a fee protection scheme. International students should be entitled to recover their money if their institution fails relocate them when they lose their “Highly Trusted Sponsor” status.

International Student Parade by Sheffields SU. Credits to Mohamed Al Mannai
International Student Parade by Sheffields SU. Credits to Mohamed Al Mannai


What do you think?

Think about your international friends. Put yourself in their skin and picture yourself subjected to all these borders I have just been explaining:

  • Would you be happy paying for using the NHS despite paying already tens of thousands of pounds to be here?

  • Would you be happy if your landlord judges whether you are a eligible to rent a property?

  • Would you be happy if you only had four months to find a graduate level job after you graduate or face deportation?

  • Would you like to be forced to return to a war zone area?

Unfortunately, I could interrogate you with questions for hours but just remember: Do you really think the Government welcomes you?

We need to urge changes in the Government’s policies with respect to international students if we want to make the UK a welcoming place for them.

Jose International Student Officer Sheffield #NoBorder by Migreat Blog
Jose Diaz De Aguilar Puiggari, International Student Officer leading the #NoBorder Campaign

Action not complacency

The values at stake are too important for any complacency. When I leave my post as International Students’ Officer, I want to see international students in a far better position than the present one. As such, I would like to invite you to join us in this journey:

We launched an epetition to the Home Office, asking for the removal of international student numbers from net migration figures. We are hoping to make some real noise in Parliament over the treatment of international students in the UK by getting 100,000 signatures by the end of March 2015.

Please visit the Students’ Union campaign page or join our campaign group at facebook.

It is our hope that this campaign will inspire the government and campuses around the UK to embrace international students for their talent and diversity, and not just for their fee payments.


Student Union Gets Sponsorship Licence

This week, Suarts, The University of the arts London Students’ Union received official approval for their application to sponsor non-British/non-EU employees. Thanks to the sponsorship licence, Suarts can now provide work visas to people that need one to stay work in the UK legally. It creates a successful example for other UK Student Unions interested in recruiting international students to replicate.

I asked Mostafa Rajaai, Culture and Diversity Officer for Suarts to tell us a little more on how and why his Student Union applied to the sponsorship licence.

Mostafa Rajaii Campaigning

“Currently, only 5 Students’ Unions in the UK have been granted a sponsorship licence, says Mostafa. Most Student Union don’t know about the process to get a sponsorship licence and think it is complicated when it is not.”

The University of the arts London Students’ Union applied to the sponsorship licence in December 2014, and three weeks later got it approved with an A rating. It took one senior staff of the Students’ Union to do the paperwork, in less than a week.

Surprisingly, what’s more complicated is not the process but getting approval from the senior staff to apply. “They are afraid of the paperwork. If the Union has a democratic mandate then it is possible for any officer to bring up the motion and convince the senior staff of the clear benefits a sponsorship licence brings.”

Mostafa created a motion that he posted and shared on Facebook. It summarises the large benefits of getting a sponsorship licence: representativity and the ability to advertise SU jobs to a bigger pool of students.

Stuart's Campaigning for Students

Mostafa is currently in contact with other Students’ Union to convince more to follow Suarts’ steps.

“40% of our Student Body is made of international students, and yet we only have two staff people that are non-EU. That is a problem of representation caused by tough immigration rules that any Students Union need to take seriously. And we chose to fight it back using the current framework: getting a sponsorship licence.”

The current situation of International students’ rights to work after graduation is tough and complex. Under the new immigration rules set up by the Tories, International Students in the UK can only stay work in the country if they find an employer willing to sponsor their visa, for a job that pays at least £22K.

Before that, International Students were allowed to stay work for two years after graduation without the need for a visa. It would allow enough time for employers to judge if the student they recruited was worth sponsoring.

NUS’s International Student Officer, Shreya Paudel, has been campaigning for the return of a 12-months Post-Study Work visa.

“What Mostafa Rajaai has done at SU Arts is great. This is basically doing what we can within the current legal arrangements. Still, we need to work on both: the return of the Post-Study Work mechanism; and also, getting hold of the sponsorship licences in our students’ unions.”

International Student Union for the PSW
Shreya Paudel, in the middle, NUS International Students’ Officer

The sponsorship licence costs £536pds (running for four years) and requires two full time staff to take care of yearly paperwork updates. Nothing that can scare away serious students Union that consistently have to deal with sometimes heavy university administration processes.

The jobs for which the Student Union can employ have to pay at least £22K minimum a year.

Also, contrary to common beliefs, international students recruited by the Student Union are not subjected to the Resident Labour Market test. That means that International students like any British or EU students can be recruited right away if the skills and profile matches the job offer.

Suarts just got their sponsorship this January 2015. It is yet to know what will be the impact on their future recruitment campaigns and how many international students will apply to them.

“We don’t have yet international candidates aligned to recruit, but it is likely that many will start applying to open positions.

The sponsorship licence gives us a bigger pool to advertise jobs to, and offers us to be more representative of our student body. Getting the sponsorship licence was the best thing that we could do to show support and taking a stance for International students”

The NUS has launched a national campaign to support the return of the PSW and help more student Union get the sponsorship licence.

Visit migreat.com to ask your questions regarding sponsorship licence and UK Visas.

International Students are Immigrants too

For International Migrants Day, Migreat is celebrating migration around the world with a blog post a day.

Today, Migreat’s blog looks at a growing category of migrants with a power to influence the world we live in tomorrow: the international students.


International student numbers have doubled since 2000 to reach 4.5 million in 2012. Most international students are heading to developed countries with 75% of them studying in an OECD country.

The battle to attract talent is fierce. International students are estimated to bring net benefits to the economy: international students not only pay full university fees, they also finance a whole industry made of accommodation suppliers, banks and mobile phone providers.

The amount of money spent by Higher Education Universities in the UK to recruit those students is estimated at £57,8 million, for a return of £3,5 billion in tuition fees.

The top countries of destination for international students by numbers are

  • United States (18%)
  • United Kingdom (11%)
  • France (7%)
  • Australia (6%)
  • Germany (5%)
  • Russian Federation (4%)
  • Japan (4%)
  • Canada (3%)

It is likely to change in the next years with the growing attractiveness of Canada and Germany as a destination and cheaper option than the US or UK; and difficulties to gain short work experience after studying in the UK and southern European countries.

The British Council created an infographic out of data on international student numbers and nationality, coupled with an explanation over drops and increases in some nationalities’ numbers.

British Council International Students Widget

What’s moving those students?

The British Council infographic data highlights roughly three factors influencing the migration flows of students: financial context, the educational offer and immigration rules of the receiving country.

Fluctuation in currency values, access to scholarships or student loan opportunities and a country’s education sector financing are main financial elements that drastically impact international students flows.

It is all about the money

Just think of the drop in Indian students (-47%) since 2011 going to UK Universities. Since 2011, the Indian Rupee has decrease of value of 50% ( £1GBP buying 70 INR in 2011, now in 2014 approximately 100INR) causing many indian international students to drop their dreams of financing their studies, and looking at student loans as a solution.

Similarly, Germany has dropped its students fees for all and also international students. Since then, it has seen a surge in applications from overseas students coming from low income countries like Bangladesh (29.3%), Iran, Egypt and Pakistan.

Show me your visa

Immigration rules also have a play. It is often argued that the drop in Indian and Pakistani student numbers in the UK are not just the fact of fees, and are reinforced by stricter immigration rules; mainly tougher student visa requirements and the closure of the post-study work visa.

Migreat blog covered the topic extensively this year, and UK Higher Education Institution Representatives have repeatedly voiced their concerns.

Indeed, the possibility to work in the foreign country while studying is essential for many international students that heavily rely on private loans to pay tuitions fees.

Also, international students are taking a risk investing in education abroad. The chances of finding a work after graduating to pay back the loan and gaining meaningful work experience that can be recognised back home, is an important element influencing the decision to study abroad.

Competitive Marketing

Although not very obvious in the infographic, it can’t be ignored that universities are heavily marketing themselves abroad. Bright students are not the privilege of just some countries. Governments are embracing this idea by growing their pool of talents with international students in the aim of boosting economic competitive advantage.

Canada, Australia and Germany are perfect examples of countries where the government is actively working hard to market the education sector in order to attract more talents to come and stay. Germany expects it to reverse the damaging effect an ageing population would have on its economy. Canada is investing in international students to keep its economy attractive and innovative. Australia continues to attract international students as a mean to keep growing its influence within a globalised economy.

Love, what else?

However and finally, one aspect of studying abroad is rarely reflected in numbers but has acted as a major driver too: dating opportunities. According to a study published by the European Commission, the Erasmus program, the popular EU youth mobility scheme that enabled million of European students study in a different EU country gave birth to one million babies. The study suggests that more than a quarter of those who take part in its long-running Erasmus scheme meet their long-term partner while studying abroad – and that more than one million babies may have been produced as a result.


At Migreat, we are supporting anyone studying abroad and will help you migrate where you heart belongs. Get guidance over courses abroad, universities and visas via migreat.com

Britain should open its doors to International Students

International students bring a great deal to the UK and there is no doubt that they are of great significance to both, the UK education sector and economy as a whole.

Contribute to the economy

Not only do they contribute to the intellectual diversity to Britain’s universities, they also contribute billions to the UK economy in expenditure. In fact, expenditure by international students (non-EU) on fees and accommodation alone amounted to £3.8 billion in 2011–12, supporting 137,000 full time-equivalent jobs in the UK. Further, the research shows that 60% of people recognise that students bring money into their local economies. 


International students also help boost innovation & creativity by bringing skills and talent to the UK. They help sustain the UK’s research base particularly in areas where the UK currently has a shortage of skills such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In fact, international students account for over 40% of UK postgraduate students and 50% of those doing full-time research degrees.

International students want some work experience before going back

The prospect of post-study work is an important driver for many international students in deciding where to study and our international competitors such as US, Australia and Canada are competing to secure a greater share of this rapidly increasing student market by implementing bold strategies like offering boosted post-study work opportunities. A report published by Universities UK highlights that such strategies are making visible differences in the latest figures showing a 10% increase in International students in the United States; 8% in Australia, and 4% in Canada – a great contrast with UK’s figures below.

Flow of international students to the UK over the last year. 2011 was the year when the PSW was introduced
Flow of international students to the UK over the last year. 2011 was the year when the PSW was introduced

A constraining UK immigration policy for International Students

Despite the benefits that international students bring to the economy, the UK’s immigration policy is constraining international graduates post-study work opportunities and including them within net migration numbers. These increasingly rigorous and ever changing immigration policies are affecting the sentiments of prospective international students; with many of them believing that they are unwelcome here.

Drop in International Students coming from Asia except for China
Drop in International Students coming from Asia except for China

Together, this has led to the UK experiencing stagnation in an industry where it traditionally shined. The most recent immigration data shows that study related visas (excluding student visitors) rose by 3% in the year ending September 2014 when compared with previous 12 months; however, there were falls in the numbers of Indian (-6%), Nigerian (-7%) and Pakistani (-10%) nationals. Also, non-EU long-term immigration for study, excluding dependants, fell by 8% in the year ending June 2014 when compared with the previous 12 months.

Recent data and reports by The Entrepreneurs Network and NUS

Launch of Entrepreneurs Network & NUS Report on International Students in company of Lord BIlimoria
Launch of Entrepreneurs Network & NUS Report on International Students in company of Lord BIlimoria

At a recent roundtable discussion put on by the think tank, The Entrepreneurs Network, the principal guest, Lord Bilimoria and members supporting the growth of International Students in the UK discussed how the UK could catch up with its international competitors. The key recommendations from this meeting include:

  • A report by NUS and The Entrepreneurs Network based on a survey on 1599 international students was launched at the event. It urges the UK government re-instate a post-study work visa, de-coupled from the sponsor system, to allow international students to explore post study work opportunities.
  • As per the latest net migration numbers, students represent the largest portion of non-EU immigration and a recent ICM poll shows only a meagre 22% of the British public think that international students should count as migrants while the majority 75% thinks that international students should be allowed to stay and work in Britain after graduating from British universities. While many people may have negative feelings towards immigration, most concern appears to be focused on the numbers of unskilled workers. Thus, international students must be removed from the net migration figures to provide a more clear and accurate picture of the immigration numbers. Doing so will also help ensure that the valuable contribution that genuine international students make to Britain is no longer caught up in the immigration debate.
  • The government should launch an international student growth strategy to promote British universities overseas, build new international partnerships and ultimately attract more international students.
  • Finally, the UK government should also promote and increase visibility for available post study work options such as Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange scheme amongst more permanent routes like Tier 1 & 2.


Policy makers must strike a right balance in the approach they take to immigration and leave behind the ‘one size fits all’ approach, focused on reducing overall numbers. It is vital that UK does not lose its position as a preferred higher education destination and remains as “One of the best places to live and work”, OECD. The UK is on the back foot and needs to catch up with its competitors, providing a more open and welcoming environment for the worlds best and brightest to study and work in the UK while benefitting from the economic and cultural contributions that international students make.

zenia-chopraThis guest blog post is provided to you by Zenia Chopra, Head of Sales & Marketing at Access Tier 5, overarching body of the Tier 5 GAE route and partner of Migreat.com.

Data source: Universities UK

Post study work route: what’s the evidence of its impact?

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration (APPG on Migration) published a report analysing the opportunities international students have for work in the UK after they finish university since the removal of the Post-Study Work Visa in 2011.


The report found that since the closure of the post-study work visa route, there has been a decrease of 88% in the number of students securing visas to stay work in the UK after university.

Businesses especially SME’s and startups have reported difficulty finding the right skills to recruit on the local market and have voiced real concerns not being able to easily hire international talents. Competitor countries, including Germany, Canada and Australia, offer far more generous post-study & work opportunities than the UK currently does.

UK Universities, under a budget cut since 2011, have also complained of a loss of revenue. 20% of the total universities output is generated from the enrolment of non-EU students. The UK’s intake of students from overseas declined in 2012-13 for the first time in 29 years.

Overall, the APPG reports that alternative visa routes have failed to retain international students talent and tat the removal of the PSW has prevented skilled graduates from contributing to the UK jobs market.

Reasons for the closure of the post-study work route
The closure of the post-study work route was justified by Conservative Home Secretary Theresa May, who said the route was being abused by “foreign graduates staying on in the UK to work in unskilled jobs”.

Ministers have been at pains to prove with facts that foreign graduates were taking the jobs of locals. As well, it has been at rooting out the abuse of graduate students working in low-skilled occupations.

However, the Home Office’s objectives are to ‘reduce net migration’ to the 100,000 by ‘tightening and [making] strict changes to immigration rules.

The route left for international students to stay work in the UK

The government’s Tier 2 (General) visa has been seen as the only option left to international students after graduation to stay work in the UK. The visa route will only allow students to work if they can find an employer with a Home Office-sponsored license, who is willing to pay at least £20,300 a year, and only to students at Bachelor’s, Master’s or PHD degree level. Postgraduate diplomas (apart from PGCE & PGDE teaching qualifications) are disqualified from this scheme.

The government introduced the new Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa route, which reduces the capacity to freely setup a business but allows approved business idea from graduate students with a university sponsorship (only selected universities) to stay and set up a UK business.

Since its inception in 2012 (for the first 3 quarters) 129 Graduate Entrepreneur Visas had been issued to graduate entrepreneurs, a low number if reported to the 2,000 visas available. A main reason suggested to explain low numbers is the fear from universities to lose their sponsor licenses.

The government’s push for international students to move on to Tier 2 visas has not taken into account the needs of start-ups in Tech and low graduate starting salaries in sectors such as Creative Industry. It also allows a disparity in pay, non-EEA graduates have to be on base pay of £20,300 while domestic and EU graduates can be employed for much cheaper.

Thanks to Awale Olad, Public & Parliamentary Affairs Officer at MRN, and coordinating the work of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration – for the collaboration on this article. The APPG on Migration supports cross-party parliamentarians with their work in both the House of Commons and House of Lords, previously launched an inquiry into the impact of the closure of the family migration route.

Are you eligible for the UK Internship visa? 

In earlier posts, I wrote about the substitute to the UK Post-Study Work Visa for international graduates i.e Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) Visa and recommended the advantages of this route for start-ups.

This scheme is a great solution for recent international graduates wishing to commence placements with UK based employers this September.

Group Of Diverse International Students Celebrating Graduation

In this article, I would like to map out an exhaustive list of the eligibility criteria so as for you to understand the necessary steps to apply for this Visa.

A – The right placement

The first and foremost requirement for an international graduate is to have a potential offer of internship from a UK based employer.

1. Temporary position – the contract with your employer has to be a fixed-term placement with a maximum duration of 12 months. Upon completion of the placement, the migrant must leave the UK and return to their home country.*

* If the placement offered is less than 12 months, then the migrant may extend to the full term of 12 months while in the UK. In certain cases, the migrant may also be allowed an additional 12 months with the same employer provided the migrant can demonstrate that they would acquire fresh skills in a new role, or, if the role is similar to the original placement, then evidence of a clear progression must be demonstrated.

Qualification – The minimum qualification requirement is that of an undergraduate enrolled on a course at a NARIC-listed institution.

Supernumerary – The placement offered must be supernumerary*

* i.e should be outside of the regular staffing requirements of the employer and must not fit into a Tier 2 (General) occupation category; thereby not affecting the UK Resident Labour Market.

Full-time placement – The placement offered must be on a full time basis with the number of hours restricted between 35 – 48 hours/week.

Salary – The conditions of employment should be in line with the National Minimum Wage Act.

Age – you must be 18 years of age or above.

Employer: The Employer must be a UK Registered Company, Charity, and Government Department.

Skills Level – Any work that the migrant undertakes must be at a skill level of NVQ Level 3 or above.

B – The right sponsor

Once this offer confirmed, you must find a licensed overarching body sponsor from the Tier 5 GAE scheme list. Employers are not allowed to sponsor migrants under this route.

C – The right papers

Aside from the above, below requirements must also be met as required by UK Home Office.

  1. The applicant must obtain the Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) reference number from the UK overarching body sponsor.
  2. The applicant must show evidence of funds of £945 in savings for 90 days prior to visa application or have a maintenance letter from an A rate sponsor.

As long as all the above requirements are met, you are eligible to apply for a UK internship Visa. Here is an awesome example of two foreign nationals obtaining placement with Infiniti RedBull Performance Engineering Academy through the tier 5 internship visa route, that we, Access Tier 5, Migreat Partners helped obtained by sponsoring their application.


After one of the worst recessions in recent history, Britain is booming again. Employers are competing nationally and internationally to snap up the next bright young things but sadly, not enough employers or international graduates are aware of this opportunity.

The opportunities are out there and Tier 5 GAE is a great option. There are definitely a few hoops to jump through but not as many as one might fear, so if you are an international graduate, get out there, spread the word and take advantage of a Visa program that will allow you to share knowledge, best practice and learn valuable skills you can take back to your home country.

zenia-chopraThis guest blog post is provided to you by Zenia Chopra, Head of Sales & Marketing at Access Tier 5, overarching body of the Tier 5 GAE route and partner of Migreat.com

Which UK visa will allow me to stay work after graduation?

There are few visa options for recent international graduates that would like to stay work in the UK and London. Here below is a list of UK work visa options for international student graduating this year. If you are a recent graduate we also recommend you try Migreat free visa tool to check your eligibility to a UK work visa,

Young Woman with smartphone walking on street

1. The toughest to get: the Tier 2 general work visa.

This visa is the most known from international graduates who want to secure a full-time job in the UK after graduation. It is tough to get and also one that grants you the most freedom and time in the UK compared to others: from three to five years in the UK, without freeze time or requirement to create jobs. To get the Tier 2 general worker visa, your employer will have to sponsor you and your job position must fit the Tier 2 requirements. The process is bureaucratic but doable: here is a guide we wrote on how to get the sponsorship.

To qualify:

You must have an offer from a sponsored employer and the job must at least be to the level of a ‘manager” (NQF6 in the legal jargon of the UK immigration border agency). You must be paid an appropriate salary for your job – at least £22K a year. For the documents to include in your application, we have created a simple detailed list in a previous blog post.

What if my employer is not a sponsor yet? You will have to convince your employer to become a sponsor. Here are tips to help your employer understand the costs and benefits of the sponsorship licence for his company. Else, you can consider another visas out of this list here that do not require your company to sponsor you.

Tips and advice:

If you don’t have enough money on your bank account to sustain yourself – you can ask your employer to guarantee it by ticking the box on the visa application.

The sponsorship is obtained in two to three months after the application is sent by your employer. If you hire a lawyer to do the sponsorship, from experience, it takes much less time and removes the hassle.

If you have questions on the topic, we wrote a Q&A out of the most popular questions on the sponsorship licence.

job interview, senior manager and young apprentice isolated on w

2. For recent graduates – the tier 5 internship visa option

That is one new visa that promises a great opportunities in the next years. It is a visa for graduates that would like to come or stay in the UK to do an internship. Any graduate can apply. It is not restricted to UK graduates. It does not require the employer to apply for a sponsorship license.

To qualify:

The most important thing for you to qualify is that you get offered the internship; and that this internship fits your skills or graduate diploma – which only a trusted overarching body can testify. Click to the link to find the list of overarching bodies.

The process of applying to the visa depends on how long it takes your employee to gather docs and which overarching body you choose to work with (this is compulsory), but it can be as quick as a week with Migreat partners.

Tips & advice: 

The scheme does not allow you to stay more than a year officially. However you can extend to a one year more if you go back to your country of origin and apply from there, or you can switch on to a Tier 2 general with your employer. The visa is a good test for your employer to know if he/she should invest in becoming a sponsor to switch you on a tier 2 visa. To know more about the advantage of the scheme, you can read more from our expert Zenia online.

International students in a park with a laptop

3. For Commonwealth country nationals

If you are from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Hong-Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Monaco, South Korea and Taiwan, the Tier 5 category offers for you special temporary work visas that allows you to stay at least for two years in the UK.

To qualify:

It is all government managed. Basically, you just have to prove you are a national of that country, and that you have the money to sustain yourself while in the UK.

Good to know:

Be aware that the years you spend in the UK under this scheme does not qualify for citizenship and you will have to return to your home country after it. A renewal or switch of visa is almost impossible from within the UK.

4. & 5. For talented Guinea pigs of visa – the Tier 1 Category visas 

The tier 1 category of visas in the UK is dedicated to a small elite of highly skilled people. In this category, you will find a visa for investors, entrepreneurs, graduate entrepreneurs and exceptionally talented people.

People at the airport waiting for flight

To qualify: For each of these visas, there are particular requirements that make them hard to get, less applied to but worth considering given that it provides freedom from needing an employer to sponsor and time granted is three to five years, with a fast tracked process to citizenship if you meet and excel the requirements. Given the few people that apply to it (only 220 people were granted a graduate entrepreneur visa in between 2012-2013 out of the 1920 available), you have your chances but you will need good legal help to get it with no stress (see below).

For investors, the qualification will be around the amount of investment you are bringing to the UK. For entrepreneurs and graduate entrepreneur, it will rely heavily on the source of the investment capital and endorsement you get from institutions on your business idea. For exceptional talents, you will have to prove endorsement from the institutions that recognize your specific talent here in the UK (for example Tech city if you want to work in Tech).

Tips and advice:

The drawback of these visas is the costs at which it comes and their sometimes hazardous process. As such, we want here to redirect you to the right information and person that can help you go forward with your application.

For more information on the Exceptional talent visa, read our expert Leslie Sarma who is the most knowledgeable person on the matter in the whole UK as she advised the government on it!

For more information on the Entrepreneur visa, our partners at Gherson are always happy to answer questions online on Migreat, and have produced some guidelines to meet the funding requirements as it often is the trickiest part of the application process.

Finally if you are interested in the Graduate Entrepreneur visa, watch this space as Migreat is partnering with Startup Britain and other entrepreneurial organization to bring up informational guides, tips and support for any applicants to the visa. Meanwhile you can also check our blog post about the advantages of the Graduate Entrepreneur Visa over the Entrepreneur Visa.


Other options, like spouse or dependent visas are options available for you and will allow you to work and stay in the UK – but these visas are not made specifically for that use, so they are here excluded

We hope this visa list can help you make your mind of you options to stay here with us in the UK. You should know and bear in mind that each of these visa options have specific requirements that make them more or less easy to get; and a good or bad fit for your work situation. It is always good to ask the expert opinion of a solicitor. Feel free to check out which visa is best suited for you by using our free visa solution tool online, or just ask one of our immigration partner on the Questions & Answers forum. We are free and will always be.

Follow the author on Google+