Guidance for UK employers of international students

Information correct as of March 2024.

Please refer to the government webpages for full details of immigration requirements when recruiting nationals from outside the UK.

Graduate route

The Home Office introduced the graduate visa in the summer of 2021. This visa enables international graduates to switch from a student visa to a 2-year post-study visa (or 3 years for PhD graduates) following successful completion of their course. This non-sponsored visa will allow graduates to work, or look for work, in the UK. The work can be in any sector and at any level without any minimum salary requirements or the need for visa sponsorship. Please refer to the Home Office website for the latest information about this visa.

Skilled Worker route

This is the route for skilled workers who have an offer for an eligible job from an approved employer sponsor. The job will also need to meet the minimum salary threshold. A graduate switching from a Student visa, or the new Graduate visa, into the Skilled Worker route can use the ‘new entrant’ minimum salary level.

A sponsor licence issued by the Home Office is required to be able to sponsor an employee under the Skilled Worker route. Applications for a sponsor licence are made online via the Home Office website. The website also has information about the process for sponsorship after the organisation has obtained a sponsor licence.