Post Study Work Visa Options for International Students to think about

Post Study Work Visa Options for International Students to think about

Post Study Work Visa Options for International Students to think about

When you study abroad, a question always arises for international students: What happens post-study? Why should I choose one country over another to study in? So it’s important to know what are the post-study work visa options for international students.

Once you have completed your course, you have to decide whether you stay or return home. When you receive your student visa, the government lets you into your chosen country on a temporary basis of entry for study, with the understanding that you will leave upon completion of the study course, and before the visa will expire.

The majority of international graduates declare that their studies were a real advantage for their career and they have more potential to grow, so most of them choose to stay. 

Here are the options we have gathered if you have studied in the following countries so you can start planning the next step to reach your career goals.


Further Studies

Many international students choose to complete further studies to achieve a higher qualification. Continuing your studies will enable you to gain more advanced qualifications and skillset that will assist you in gaining employment. You may study at the same institution or move to another university to expand your perspective.

Travel and Relaxation

Although you may not choose to attend another gruelling year in school there are other compelling reasons to stay in Australia. You can apply for a tourist visa to take a break and take your time exploring the country before you embark on the next phase of your life.

Post Study Work Visa options for international students in Australia

If you do decide to study in Australia, the ability to work after your studies falls into six distinct options. They are also interchangeable, but the opportunity to get work in Australia is easier than in some of the other countries we are covering.

Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 417/462)

If you are between 18 and 30 years old from the approved countries then you are eligible to apply for a Work and Holiday Visa, which grants you permission to work and travel in Australia for up to 12 months.

The approved countries are: 

Czech Republic

San Marino

Slovak Republic

post study work visa options for international students - post study work visa Australia infographic

Professional Year Program

This is a job-readiness program that bridges the gap between full-time study and professional employment in Australia for engineering, accounting and computer science graduates. This is a structured 12-month program designed to help recent graduates develop industry-specific skills through study and work experience. 

This program is ideal for students who want to qualify for permanent residency in Australia as successful completion of the program earns an extra five points in the skilled migrant visa points test.

Training and Research Visa (subclass 407)

A temporary visa and a great option for international students. The 407 visa is for students to improve their work skills for up to two years while being sponsored by an employer. One of the conditions for the visa is that the holder can only work if it is related to the applicant’s course of study or training for 40 hours within 14 days. 

Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485)

This visa is also a great option for international students who wish to extend their stay for quite some time and work towards achieving permanent residency. With a 485 visa, you are allowed to stay in Australia to gain work experience only if you have just completed at least two years of study in Australia. There are two streams on this visa option: Graduate Work Stream and Post-Study Work Stream:

  • Graduate Work Stream
    This visa is for international students under 50 years of age who have recently graduated with skills and qualifications that are relevant to specific occupations that Australia needs. It lets you live, study and work in Australia temporarily. You must have and maintain adequate health insurance for the whole of your stay in Australia. You can usually stay up to 18 months and you can bring your family with you.
  • Post-Study Work Stream
    This visa is for international students below 50 years old who have recently graduated with a degree from an Australian institution. It lets you live, work and study in Australia, temporarily. You must have and maintain adequate health insurance for the whole of your stay in Australia. You can usually stay between 2 and 4 years, depending on your qualification.

Employer Nomination Scheme Visa (subclass 186) 

If you wish to stay working with your current employer, they are willing to sponsor you either temporarily or permanently, and if your chosen field of occupation is listed on the Commonwealth’s skilled occupation lists, then you can apply for this visa. Once granted, you are able to live and work in Australia for as long as you work for that employer.

Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 491)

This visa provides a pathway for permanent residency for skilled workers who want to live and work in regional Australia. You must be below 45 years old with an occupation that is listed on the Commonwealth’s skilled occupation lists and you have completed the skills test. Australia uses a point system to see if someone qualifies for most visas and for a 491 visa, you should be able to score 65 points. Once you are granted a 491 visa, you can stay in Australia for five years.

Skilled Nominated Visa (subclass 190)

A permanent residency visa for people under 45 years old with occupation in high demand as listed on the Commonwealth’s skilled occupation lists. You are required to complete a skills test and be nominated by the state or territory government to apply for the visa. Australia uses a point system to see if someone qualifies for most visas and for a 190 visa, you should be able to score 65 points. Once you are granted a 190 visa, you can now sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence.

Related: Australia Working Holiday Visa – Travel and Work in Australia on Your Gap Year


You must remember that the student’s study permit will become invalid 90 days after you complete your studies or on the expiry date of your study permit whichever is earlier. You have to ensure that you maintain a valid status if you want to remain in Canada.

Post study work visa options for International Students in Canada

The options for international students to work in Canada are vast. This guide cannot go through all the routes as it is limited in scope. Canada offers the most open immigration system out of this list of potential countries to study in. With it’s immigration system it’s easier to jump from one category to another and Canada truly welcomes migrants that will benefit its society. The basic options for you are as follows:

Canada Post-Graduation Work Permit

This visa allows international students the chance to work after graduation. To qualify for the permit, you should have attended a post-secondary institution and have completed a program of at least 8 months.  The work permit is valid for the same length as your academic program, up to a maximum of 3 years.

The application has to be submitted within 180 days after you receive a written notice of successful completion of your course. A post-study work permit is one of the best pathways to gain work experience in Canada which will qualify a graduate to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

Update: March 27, 2023

Canada has announced that it will provisionally extend Post-Graduation Work Permit for additional 18 months. Check the update here.

Related: Canadian Working Holiday Visa – Everything You Need to Know

Visitor Record

If your study permit is going to expire and you want to stay in Canada temporarily as a visitor for up to 6 months.

Once you switch to a visitor record, any new application for a study permit or work permit must be made outside of Canada. Keep in mind that you cannot apply for a Post-Graduation Work permit if you switch to a visitor record after you complete your studies.

post study work visa options for international students - post study work visa Canada infographic

Provincial Nominee program

Through Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), almost all of Canada’s ten provinces and three territories can nominate skilled worker candidates for admission to Canada with the specific skills required by their local economies. Successful candidates who receive a provincial or territorial nomination can then apply for Canadian permanent residence through federal immigration authorities.

The skilled worker-based provincial programs, except Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, generally require an employer to sponsor the applicant. Without a government-approved employer sponsorship, the application will either not be approved, or will be routinely passed over in favour of applications with an employer-sponsored approval.

Permanent Residence

After getting a post-graduation work permit and you have work experience for one year in any skilled position, you are now eligible to apply for a permanent residence visa. The Canadian government has introduced a point system in 2016 when granting permanent residency. International students who completed a one-year or two-year full-time degree program are entitled to 15 points while students who took a full-time Masters or Doctoral program are entitled to 30 points. You will be eligible for a permanent visa if you score a total of 67 points or higher.

post study work visa options for international students - post study work visa New Zealand infographic


New Zealand Post-Study Work Visa

After you have completed your study program and achieved the New Zealand qualification, you can apply for a post study visa which will allow you to stay and work for 1 year up to 3 years. Your eligibility is dependent on a number of factors including length of study and level of study. If you studied outside Auckland, you may get a longer duration on your visa.

The New Zealand government has updated their policy for post-study work visa last 2018. The new policy has open work conditions which means you will be able to work for almost any employer in New Zealand and your visa won’t tie to you a specific job or location. If your work is listed on the country’s skill shortages, your chances of finding a job increases and you may be eligible to apply for a further work visa or residence visa. 

You also have a choice to extend your post study visa if you further your studies and meet another set of qualifications:

  • at least a Level 7 Bachelor’s degree
  • lasted for a minimum of 30 weeks, and
  • is higher than the qualification you submitted for your previous visa.

International students with partners

If you’re studying a Level 9 or 10 qualification, or a Level 7 or 8 qualification on the Long Term Skill Shortage List you can support your partner for a visitor or work visa. Your partner’s visa will be the same length of stay as your student visa. If you’re not studying one of these qualifications, your partner will need to apply for a visa in their own right. 

After graduation, your residence status will be the same as your partner’s status if they do not apply for another visa with their own qualification.

Temporary Work Visa

Temporary visas allow you to live and work in New Zealand for a set period of time. You need a job or a job offer to qualify. Working temporarily can be used as a step towards gaining residence and settling in New Zealand permanently. 

post study work visa options for international students - post study work visa New Zealand infographic 2

Working Holiday Visa

New Zealand has an agreement with several countries where anyone between 18 to 30 (or 35 for certain countries) can apply for a working holiday visa, which will allow you to work or travel in New Zealand for up to a year. If your purpose to stay in New Zealand is mainly for a holiday, with working being the secondary reason for your stay this will be a great option for you.

The agreement is different from each country like a limit to the number of people granted with the visa from the same country like Brazil. British and Canadian citizens can apply for a work holiday visa and be granted permission to live and work for up to 23 months while citizens from France, Japan and United States of America can be granted for up to 12 months. 

Countries with a work holiday scheme with New Zealand:

Czech Republic

Hong Kong

United Kingdom

Work Visa 

This visa is for people that work in a profession that is experiencing skill shortages or have a job offer from a New Zealand employer. Most work visas do not have an age limit. Under this umbrella there are several categories you may be eligible to apply.

Essential Skill Work Visa – If you have a job offer in an occupation is under the Shortage lists and your qualifications and experience match, you can apply for an Essential Skills work visa. This is intended to fill temporary skill gaps, so they do not lead directly to a residence application but if you have an Essential Skills work visa based on a skilled job, you may gain enough points to qualify for a residence visa under the Skilled Migrant Category.

Work to Residence Visa– This is a pathway to Residence after you have held the visa for 24 months. This visa is tied to a specific job in an area of skill shortage or with an accredited employer. You’ll be able to apply for residence if you continue working for your employer for two years. There are two main types of Work to Residence Visa:

  • Work to Residence: Long Term Skill Shortage – If you have a permanent or long-term job offer in an occupation on the Long Term Skill Shortage List and your qualifications and experience match, you could apply for a Work to Residence Visa. You’ll need to meet the age, health, and character requirements.
  • Work to Residence: Accredited Employer – If you have a long-term or permanent job offer from an Immigration New Zealand accredited employer you could apply for a work to residence visa. You’ll need to meet the age, health, and character requirements, and your job offer will need to meet certain requirements.
post study work visa options for international students - post study work visa Canada infographic 3

Resident Visa

A resident visa is a temporary visa that generally allows you to live and work in New Zealand indefinitely and access most publicly funded services. Once you’ve held a Work to Residence visa for at least 24 months, are below 55 years old and has secured a total of 160 points then you may be eligible to apply. Resident visas have travel conditions that only allow a person to re-enter New Zealand as a resident until a certain date.

Resident Visa – Skilled Migrant Category

This is for people who want to stay in New Zealand indefinitely, have been offered a job and have the skills, qualifications and experience the countty needs. This is points system based on factors such as age, work experience, your qualifications, and an offer of skilled employment. You must also be aged 55 or under, and meet English language, health, and character requirements.

Residence from Work Category

This category is a step up from a temporary work visa to a residence visa. Once you’ve been in New Zealand for two years on a Work to Residence visa you may be eligible for residence status under this category.

Visas to invest and innovate

If you have capital and the right skills the New Zealand government offers several channels and a unique opportunity to enjoy New Zealand’s wide-open spaces and world-beating lifestyle while developing your business interests. 

  • Investor Visa – If you plan to invest funds, you can apply for residence under our Investor categories. 
  • Entrepreneur visas – If you plan to purchase or establish a business.
  • Global Impact Visa (GIVs) – The government has partnered with the Edmund Hillary Fellowship (EHF) to deliver this world-first innovative new visa, designed to attract talented and visionary entrepreneurs, investors and start-up teams with the drive and capabilities to create lasting positive impact for New Zealand and around the world.

Permanent Resident Visa

In order to apply for permanent residence, you must have held a resident visa for two years and can show a commitment to living in New Zealand. Once granted, you can live and work in New Zealand permanently and come and go from New Zealand without travel conditions.


Further Studies

After the completion of your course study, you might consider furthering your knowledge by enrolling in another course and extending your stay in the UK.

Post study work visa options for international students in the UK

The UK is undoubtedly one of the harder countries to find work in after studies and the options to do so are restricted. But since Brexit, the government is showing signs that it is keen to attract international students and offer you a path to work with the resumption of the post-study work visa.

Doctorate Extension Scheme Visa

This little known route is for international students that have completed their PhD to apply for a visa to work or start your own business for a period of up to 12 months. Technically, you are still sponsored by the University you studied at, but you are not tied to the work you can do. After 12 months, you are expected to find work in one of the other routes below.

UK Post Study Work

Since 2012 the UK government has allowed international students to stay in the UK for four months after completing their studies, however this was updated to six months as of 2019. Starting Summer 2021, international students graduating from UK Universities can stay back in UK after studies for two years and look for employment. 

Tier 2 UK Visa

This is one of the most common UK visas that most students choose to switch from a Tier 4 student visa. In order to qualify for this visa, you are required to find a job with an employer who is willing to sponsor and offer you a salary of at least 20,800 GBP annually.

Tier 5 UK Visa

The Tier 5 visa allows entry to work in the UK in a number of different circumstances, such as for charity workers, entertainers, diplomatic staff, and sportspeople. Depending on the scheme you are applying for, this UK work visa is a validation to stay back and work in UK for 12 to 24 months, provided to you by UK immigration.

Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme for UK Visa

If you are a citizen of some specific countries, UK immigration will allow you to work in UK for two years after your studies. The list of countries on UK immigration website for Tier 5 UK work visa Youth Mobility Scheme:

Hong Kong

New Zealand
Republic of Korea

You need to be between18 to 30 years of age and need 1,890 GBP to apply.

Tier 5 UK Visa for Temporary Worker – Religious Worker

For workers offered a job such as preaching or work in a monastery or convent, by a religious order in the UK.

Tier 5 UK Visa for Temporary Worker – International Agreement

For workers who have a job offer that is covered by international law, such as embassy and diplomatic household workers, and a certificate of sponsorship from an organisation with a valid Tier 5 sponsorship license. This includes workers under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and similar agreements.

Tier 5 UK Visa Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange

For workers coming to the UK through an approved government authorised exchange scheme. This visa allows the worker to do work experience, training, academic research or a fellowship, and to take part in an Overseas Government Language Programme.

Tier 5 UK Visa Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting

For very highly skilled workers who have a job offer as a sportsperson or creative worker in the UK, and a certificate of sponsorship from a UK employer with a valid Tier 5 sponsorship license. Sportspeople on this visa must be internationally established at the highest level in their sport, and/or their job must make a significant contribution to the development and running of sport at the highest level.

Tier 5 UK Visa Temporary Worker – Charity Worker

For workers who have an unpaid/voluntary job offer and a certificate of sponsorship from a UK charity with a valid Tier 5 sponsorship license. The job taken must be directly related to the sponsor charity’s work.

UK Innovator Visa

This has replaced the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa category. This visa is usually for experienced business-minded people to set up an innovative business. This category may lead to settlement in the UK. You are eligible for this visa if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are not a national of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.
  • You want to set up or run a business and must be endorsed by an approved body
  • You must have access to £50,000 (reduced from the £200,000 usually needed for a UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa) in investment funds. If you already have a business established in Britain and you have been endorsed for an existing UK visa, no minimum investment funds are required.

After five years, you could be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

UK Start-Up Visa

This is the replacement for the old Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. A start-up visa allows you to start a business in the UK and work for yourself . You will need to be endorsed by an education institution or an organisation that supports business and enterprise, like a venture capitalist.


Graduate School

After completing your undergraduate education in the United States, you might consider attending a graduate school. The United States is well known for its wide choice of educational opportunities. 

post study work visa options for international students - post study work visa America infographic

Optional Practical Training (OPT) on an F1 Visa

An option for recently graduated F-1 visa students. This is a temporary employment authorization and must be related to your F-1 topic of study. Graduates may apply to receive up to one year of OPT employment authorization. If you studied a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) field, you may also apply for a two-year extension of your OPT for a total of three years. An F1 visa student is generally entitled up to one year of post-completion practical training.

Non-Immigrant H-3 Visa (Trainee)

This visa is suited to those individuals who do not have the appropriate education or work experience. It is ideal for those who would like to come to the U.S. to train in a particular field with the intention of transporting the knowledge and training back to their home country upon completion of their visa. The H-3 visa is valid for 2 years and cannot be extended or transferred to H-1B/L-1 status. To qualify for an H-3 visa, the applicant needs to secure training from a U.S. employer who has an established training program.

Non-Immigrant H-1B Visa (Specialty Occupation)

This visa provides graduates with a temporary employment authorisation in high-skilled occupations. H-1B applicants are required to have specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent. The H-1B is granted for an initial period of 3 years and can be extended for an additional 3 years but cannot be extended beyond 6 years.

Spouses and minor children automatically obtain H-4 visas, which entitle them to accompany the applicant to the U.S. and to attend school but are not allowed to work.

You qualify for this visa if you meet the minimum requirements.

  • A U.S. employer to sponsor the applicant
  • a U.S. Bachelors Degree or its equivalent
  • a correlation between the job duties and the applicant’s education and work experience. 

In addition to the above requirements, it is also necessary to obtain approval of a Labor Condition Attestation (LCA) from the Department of Labor prior to filing the H-1B petition with the Immigration & Naturalization Service. LCA is required to ensure that foreign workers are not exploited by U.S. employers and are paid the same salaries and obtain the same benefits as their American counterparts.

Non-Immigrant E-1/E-2 Visa (Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor)

Certain countries have entered into treaties with the United States, which allows their nationals to obtain treaty trader/treaty investor visas. A fundamental requirement for an E-1 visa is that at least 51% of the company’s trade must be between the U.S. and the treaty country. 

An E-2 visa requires a “substantial investment” to be made into a new or existing enterprise. Managers, executives, and other essential employees are eligible for these visas. The visa is usually granted for a 5-year period with 2-year increments upon each entry. It is possible to extend these visas as long as there is a need for the individual to direct and control the U.S. enterprise and the concern remains viable.

post study work visa options for international students - post study work visa America infographic part 2

Non-Immigrant L-1 Visa (Intracompany Transfer)

This visa is used for companies abroad who have offices in the United States and would like to transfer specific employees here on temporary employment assignments. This visa is designed for managers and executives or people possessing specialized knowledge. You will be eligible to apply for permanent residency through this category.

If the U.S. subsidiary is a newly established office, the applicant will only be admitted for an initial period of 1 year. It is possible to apply for extensions, which must be accompanied by documentation showing major business activity or future business activity and an increase in personnel.

Non-Immigrant Obtaining a “Green Card”

Once you are granted permanent residency or green card status you will be able to reside and work in the U.S permanently. Depending on their classification, an immigrant may be eligible to file for U.S. citizenship either three years or five years from the date of acquiring permanent residency.

There are four main categories under which it is possible to acquire permanent residency status in the U.S. The easiest and quickest way is through a family relationship where the petitioner is either a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. The other categories involve employment sponsorship, diversity immigrants and refugees and asylees.


If you want to know your post-study options elsewhere, be sure to check out our other articles below.

Post Study in Europe

Post Study in Asia

🇨🇳 China

🇭🇰 Hong Kong

🇮🇩 Indonesia

🇯🇵 Japan

🇲🇾 Malaysia

🇵🇭 Philippines

🇰🇷 South Korea

🇸🇬 Singapore

🇹🇼 Taiwan

Post Study in the Americas

🇦🇷 Argentina

🇧🇷 Brazil

🇨🇱 Chile

🇨🇴 Colombia

🇨🇷 Costa Rica

🇪🇨 Ecuador

🇸🇻 El Salvador

🇲🇽 Mexico


🇵🇦 Panama

🇺🇾 Uruguay

Post Study in Other Countries

🇦🇼 Aruba

🇦🇪 Dubai

🇪🇬 Egypt

🇬🇭 Ghana

🇰🇪 Kenya

🇿🇦 South Africa


What are your thoughts on these Post Study Options? Is there anything we missed or anything you need clarification on? Comment below.

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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.

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