Make time before you graduate to think about whether you want to look for a graduate job in the UK, or whether you would like to find work in your home country. If you want to stay in the UK research your options carefully.
There is uncertainty about the extent of the impact of Covid-19 on the UK jobs market. There is an impact on graduate recruitment, on the level of competition for jobs, and on the recruitment process itself.
In response to this situation, you should try to be as well prepared as possible. Consider alternative options, such as looking for work in your home country (or another country) as well as in the UK. Research which job sectors are most likely to be recruiting and need your skills. Use the time you have now to develop your employability skills.
See the section below: What can I do to give myself the best chance of success? for some practical suggestions.
Organisations have had to move their selection process online. Make sure you are prepared for this by using the resources and practice tools in our Apply for jobs pages.
Most importantly, stay safe and look after your physical and mental health.
There is more information about the impact of Covid-19 and what you can do, on our Careers issues during Covid-19 page, which is updated regularly.
EU students in the UK before 23:00 on 31 December 2020 are advised to apply for one of the settled status routes. This will enable you to study or work in the UK without sponsorship after Brexit.
If you are not sure whether or not you will want to work in the UK after graduation, it is still worth applying for pre-settled status - you will not be obliged to stay in the UK, but you will have that option. There is no fee, and the process is straightforward, taking around 30 minutes. The deadline to apply is 30 June 2021 but it is recommended to apply as soon as possible.
See also the University's advice for EU students.
What are my visa options after graduation?
There are several different visa options - find out which is best for you. See the information below for some of the changes coming in 2021.
After you have completed your degree, you are likely to have four months left on your visa before it expires. You can use this time to work and to look for a longer term job.
Remember that during this time the student employment restrictions for Tier 4/Student visa holders still apply to the type of work you can do. Make sure you let prospective employers know you don't need a new visa to work during this time. You can include this information on your application/cover letter.
The Graduate Route visa (from 1 July 2021) gives you the opportunity to stay and work in the UK without requiring sponsorship from an employer. This may offer you more flexibility, especially if you are looking for work in a sector unlikely to be offering Skilled Worker Visa sponsorship (eg the heritage sector, charity sector).
Other visa changes in 2021:
The new Skilled Worker visa route opened on 1 December 2020 for all non-UK, non-Irish nationals. (The Tier 2 visa is no longer available for new applications.) The Skilled Worker visa is a points-based visa and is appropriate for graduate trainee roles or graduate schemes. If you are graduating in summer 2021 or later you will also be eligible for the new Graduate Route visa, which offers more flexibility, see the section above.
Note that not all companies listed on the register of sponsors are recruiting international students to graduate roles - they may have registered in order to sponsor more experienced staff, or their recruitment needs may have changed. You may find that employers are not yet familiar with the details of the new visa routes. The GOV.UK and UKCISA websites are reliable sources of information.
Find out more:
These pages will be updated as new information becomes available.
Finding and applying for jobs
What do I need to know about applying for graduate jobs in the UK?
This type of wording can be quite off-putting and confusing. You should check with the employer exactly what they mean.
Careers and Placements staff are not immigration advisers and are not permitted to give individual immigration advice, but we might be able to answer your initial queries about this issue. If you have any questions please talk to us.
What can I do to give myself the best chance of success?
There are things you can do now before you start applying for jobs
UK employers are interested in your skills and experience as well as your academic qualifications. You have already taken the big step of coming to another country to study, so make the most of your time here, step out of your comfort zone and get involved in activities and experiences that will help you develop your skills further.
Some of this is down to you as an individual - do you have valuable skills, experience and knowledge that make you competitive in the job market? However, realistically only a small number of graduates are able to switch into a work visa after their studies.
Here are the number of visas issued in 2019 - switching from Tier 4 student visa to:
Under the proposed Graduate route (from summer 2021) it will be easier to stay and work in the UK for a maximum of two years following your degree, see Visa options above.
See the section above on what you can do to give yourself the best chance of success.
You can also talk to us in Careers and Placements. We cannot give you specific individual immigration advice, but we may be able to answer your initial questions, provide general information and signpost you to sources of help.
If you need specialist immigration advice you can contact a solicitor through the Immigration Law Practitioners Association.
It can be challenging to find a graduate job with visa sponsorship in the UK and you may find you need to consider working in another country or returning home to look for work. Start exploring the possibilities as early as you can, research the job market and plan to make the best use of your UK experience. See the section on Working in your home country for more help, as well as our page on international work and GoinGlobal.
Who to contact
Careers and Placements
- Harewood Way, University of York, York, YO10 5DD
- Students and York graduates can contact us or book an appointment via Handshake
- Tel: +44 (0)1904 332685
- Term time: Monday - Friday, 10am - 5pm
- Vacation opening times vary - please check the opening times page