Post Study Work Options: How to Get a Work Visa in Scotland After Studies

Post Study Work Options: How to Get a Work Visa in Scotland After Studies

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom along with England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland is renowned for its breathtaking outdoor landscape, mountains, lochs and glens.

Scotland is less than one hour from London by plane, and just over 90 minutes from Paris. With international airports close by and a host of European cities a short flight away, Scotland is a wonderful base to explore the best locations in Europe.

Scotland has multiple top and famous universities including the University of St. Andrews, University of Glasgow and University of Edinburgh. With warm and friendly people, vibrant cities and beautiful surroundings, a lot of international students settle in Scotland after completing their studies. Scottish cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow are popular among students, and some of the best places to live in the UK as a student.

Also read: For more post-study options in the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zeland or Europe, check out our other post-study articles!

Scotland has always been an open and welcoming nation, and that welcome has been extended to the many people from around the world who choose to study, live, work and raise their families here.

International students make up almost a quarter of all students at Scottish universities and make a significant financial and academic contribution to the Scottish institutions. They bring important social, cultural and economic benefits to the society and add to the diversity to communities, enriching the learning experience and supporting local businesses and jobs.

Scotland was one of the industrial powerhouses of Europe from the time of the Industrial Revolution onwards, being a world leader in manufacturing. This left a legacy in the diversity of goods and services which Scotland produces, from textiles, whisky and shortbread to jet engines, buses, computer software as well as banking, insurance, investment management and other related financial services. 

How Brexit affects EU students

Last 31 December 2020, freedom of movement between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) ended. And, at the heart of it will be the Points-Based Immigration System.

Common Travel Area (CTA)

The Common Travel Area is an open borders area comprising the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands.

Under the CTA, British and Irish citizens can move freely and reside in either jurisdiction and enjoy associated rights and privileges, including the right to study, work and live in both territories. This means that Irish students will not be affected by the changes brought about by the UK’s exit from the EU. 

EU Students before Brexit

EU students already in the UK before 31 December 2020 have to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) to retain their rights to study, work and live in the UK prior to the UK exiting the EU. The deadline for registration under EUSS is on 30 June 2021.

EU Students after Brexit

From January 2021, EU students who come to the UK to study and wish to stay after completion of their studies have to abide by the new immigration rule, Points-Based Immigration System, similar to non-EU students.

New Graduate Route

The new route will be launched in the summer of 2021, meaning that any eligible student who graduates in the summer of 2021 or after will be able to apply. This includes students who have already started their courses. There will be no limit to the graduates admitted to this route.

The new route will allow graduates to apply for a visa to remain in the UK for two years after completing their studies so they can look for work or start work at any skill level. PhD graduates can stay back in the UK for three years instead of two years.

Under the Graduate Route, you will be able to work, or look for work in any sector, at any level and you will also be able to switch into the skilled work route if you meet the requirements. 

You have to take note that the time spent on this permit does not count towards the 5 year Indefinite Leave to Remain or permanent residency requirement, so the sooner you switch your visa the better. 

You qualify for this route if you meet the following conditions:

  • have a valid Student or Tier 4 visa 
  • have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above in the summer of 2021 or after
  • you must have completed the entirety of the degree inside the UK except for:
    • Permitted study abroad programmes that take place outside the UK.
    • Distance learning due to COVID-19. At present, guidance states that you must return to the UK before 6 April 2021 at the latest before completing your studies to be eligible. 
    • Distance learning due to COVID-19 and you are starting a one-year master’s course in January 2021, you will need to arrive in the UK by 27 September 2021 and complete the final semester of your studies in the UK in order to be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route. 
  • have not previously been granted a visa under the graduate immigration route
  • have permission from your financial sponsor (only if your financial sponsor was a government sponsor)

To apply, you need to be inside the UK. As this is a new route, we have limited information for the visa application process. This page will be updated once the authorities will release more details.

Skilled Worker Route

Under the new UK immigration system, the Tier 2 (General) category will be replaced by the Skilled Worker route. Qualified students will not be subjected to Resident Labour Market Test however they need to abide by the new points-based immigration system. Students have to obtain a total of 70 points, please see the table below on how to earn the points.

*You must meet all mandatory characteristics to qualify whereas other characteristics are tradeable to reach the 70 point threshold.

To qualify for a Skilled Worker route, you must:

  • work for a UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office
  • have a ‘Certificate of Sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the role you’ve been offered in the UK
  • do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations
  • be paid a minimum salary or check the table above for tradeable points

To apply, you must prepare the following documents:

  • your certificate of sponsorship reference number – your employer will give you this
  • proof of your knowledge of English
  • a valid passport or other document that shows your identity and nationality
  • your job title and annual salary
  • your job’s occupation code
  • the name of your employer and their sponsor licence number – this will be on your certificate of sponsorship

* Additional documents may be requested

Your visa can last for up to 5 years before you need to extend it. You’ll need to apply to extend or update your visa when it expires or if you change jobs or employer.

After 5 years, you may be able to apply to settle permanently in the UK. This is also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain or ILR

Global Talent Visa

Global Talent visa replaced Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa. The permit is harder to obtain as limited people are qualified however the government no longer sets any cap on the number of visas available annually. The Global Talent visa is a UK immigration category for talented and promising individuals in specific sectors wishing to work in the UK. 

To apply, you should meet the following conditions:

  • Received an endorsement from the endorsing body as a leader or potential leader in the field of academia or research, arts and culture or digital technology
  • Non-EU/EEA and Swiss national
  • Education and work experience for a minimum of 5 years in the stream of Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Arts.
  • 3 Recommendation Letters from your seniors
  • Reference letters from present and senior employers

Check out our blog post here for full details on the Global Talent visa.

To apply, you must prepare the following documents:

  • a valid passport or other document that shows your identity and nationality
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test

* Additional documents may be required

If you’ve had an award or scholarship to study in the UK in the last year, you’ll also need written permission to apply from the agency or government that granted it.

Once granted, you can live and work in the UK for up to 5 years at a time and can be extended. You will also be eligible to settle permanently in the UK after 3 or 5 years depending on the endorsement path you are applying for.

Start-Up Visa

You can apply for a Start-Up visa if you want to set up a business in the UK. You must be endorsed by an authorised body that is either a UK higher education institution or a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs. 

To qualify, you must be:

  • at least 18 years old
  • meet the English language requirement
  • able to prove that you have enough personal savings to support yourself while you’re in the UK ( at least £1270 in your bank account for 28 consecutive days before you apply)

To apply, you have to prepare the following documents:

  • endorsement letter
  • a valid passport or other document that shows your identity and nationality
  • bank statements showing you’ve had at least £1270 in savings in your bank account for 28 consecutive days before you apply
  • proof that you meet the English language requirement
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country 
  • where you have to take the test

With a Start-up visa, you can stay in the UK for 2 years. Your partner and children can apply to join you or to stay in the UK as your ‘dependants’ if they’re eligible. If their application is successful, their visa will end on the same date as yours. You cannot extend this visa but you can switch to an Innovator visa.

Innovator Visa

This category is for more experienced business people seeking to establish a business in the UK. You will generally require a minimum of £50,000 funding available to be invested into your business and will also require an endorsement from an approved endorsing body. 

To qualify, you must meet the following conditions:

  • be 18 or over to apply for this visa
  • be able to prove that the money belongs to either you or your husband, wife, unmarried or same-sex partner
  • have opened an account at a UK regulated bank to use for your funds

Your funds must be:

  • held in one or more regulated financial institutions
  • free to spend (‘disposable’) in the UK

Your money can be in the UK or overseas when you apply.

To apply, you have to provide the following documents:

  • a current passport or other valid travel identification, you need a blank page in your passport for your visa.
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
  • a criminal record certificate from any country you have stayed in for a total of 12 months or more over the last 10 years
  • evidence of investment funds
  • evidence you have a UK bank account

Visas under this category will be issued for 3 years in the first instance. Towards the end of this period, you will have the option to apply for an extension for a further 3 years, or to apply to settle permanently in the UK. 

Investor Visa

If you are going to make an investment of £2,000,000 or more into Scotland, you can apply for an Investor visa.

To qualify, you must meet the following conditions:

  • be 18 or over to apply for this visa
  • be able to prove that the money belongs to either you or your husband, wife, unmarried or same-sex partner
  • have opened an account at a UK regulated bank to use for your funds

To apply, you have to provide the following documents:

  • a current passport or other valid travel identification, you need a blank page in your passport for your visa.
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
  • a criminal record certificate from any country you have stayed in for a total of 12 months or more over the last 10 years
  • evidence of investment funds
  • evidence you have a UK bank account

This visa is for a maximum of 3 years and 4 months.

Once granted, you can:

  • work or study
  • apply to settle after 2 years if you invest £10 million
  • apply to settle after 3 years if you invest £5 million
  • apply to settle after 5 years if you invest £2 million

Indefinite Leave to Remain

Indefinite leave to remain is how you settle in the UK. It gives you the right to live, work and study here for as long as you like, and apply for benefits if you’re eligible. You can use it to apply for British citizenship. Depending on your current permit, you will be able to apply to permanently settle in the UK.

To qualify, you need to meet the following conditions:

For a Skilled Worker:

  • you have a Tier 2 (General) visa or a Skilled Worker visa
  • you’ve been living and working in the UK for 5 years and spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 months (‘continuous residence’)
  • your employer (sponsor) still needs you for your job – they’ll need to provide a document confirming this
  • your job meets the salary requirements

For Global Talent:

You can apply if you were endorsed in your field as either:

  • a recognised leader (‘exceptional talent’) – you must have been living and working in the UK on this visa for at least 3 years
  • an emerging leader (‘exceptional promise’) – you must have been living and working in the UK on this visa for at least 5 years

You must also:

  • have spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 month period (known as continuous residence)
  • still be endorsed by the organisation that gave you the letter of endorsement to get a visa
  • still be doing paid work in the field you came to the UK to work in

For Innovator Visa:

You are eligible to apply if:

  • lived in the UK for 3 years using an Innovator visa – you cannot include time spent in the UK using any other visa
  • a new endorsement that shows you’ve met the requirements for growing your business.

Naturalised Citizenship

You can apply for citizenship if you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years and have had indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK for 12 months.

To apply, you must provide the following documents:

  • prove you were in the UK exactly 5 years before the day the Home Office receives your application
  • prove your knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic
  • have passed the life in the UK test
  • intend to continue living in the UK
  • be of good character

Are you ready to pursue your dreams in Scotland? Comment below.

IaM can help with your visa application to the United States, the UK & other countries

If you need help with a US visa, a UK Visa, or visa to Europe, including help with appointment booking obligations, IaM can help. For more information and advice on US immigration, UK immigration law and US visa applications or if you need any help or assistance please, reach out to your Visa Coordinator at IaM.

Charlie

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