Guidance for international students applying for a Tier 2 visa after graduating
Tier 2 (General) visas are for skilled workers with a suitable job offer.
The guidance below is for international students who are looking to make a Tier 2 visa application at the end of their studies. If you are a new or existing member of staff and you need help making a Tier 2 visa application to work with us, visit our prospective employee webpages.
Tier 4 students switching to a Tier 2 work visa
Eligibility for Tier 2 is quite complicated, but we have simplified it in the table below for you. If you have any questions about applying for a Tier 2 visa after your studies, you might find our visa drop in sessions useful.
You have successfully completed your course
You need to have completed your undergraduate or postgraduate qualification.
You will need either: the original certificate, the original transcripts or an academic reference confiming that you have successfully completed your qualification with a UK institution. If you are unable to get your certificate or transcript, contact us to discuss obtaining an academic reference that meets the visa requirements.
You have a job offer from a licensed sponsor
Tier 2 visas can only be sponsored by organisations who are approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). Always check whether your intended employer is on the UKVI's list of current sponsors.
Your job is on the approved list of jobs
Only certain jobs are supported under Tier 2. You should check the Standard Occupation Codes of Practice (PDF download) to see whether your intended job is on the list of suitable jobs.
Your job meets the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT)
This test exists to ensure that employees from within the UK or the European Economic Area (EEA) are given preference over employees from outside the UK/EEA (people from the UK or EEA are known as settled workers). The RLMT must always be passed unless an exception to the test applies to you. We have produced a flow chart to help you assess whether you are exempt from the RLMT.
You have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (COS)
Your employer must issue you with a COS so that you can apply for your Tier 2 visa. Your COS needs to list the details of your job, your salary, and how the RLMT has been met (or which exemption applies). There are 2 types of COS; Restricted and Unrestricted. Read our PDF guidance to help you decide what type of COS you need.
If you are issued with a Restricted COS, you need to apply for your visa outside of the UK.
If you are issued with an Unrestricted COS, you can apply for your visa inside the UK.
You meet the financial requirements
You may need to meet the financial requirements by providing bank statements. However, if your employer is A-rated by UKVI, they can 'certify' your finances on the COS, which means you wouldn't need to provide any bank statements when you applied for your Tier 2 visa. If you are applying with dependants, and your employer certifies your finances, your dependant's are also exempt from having to submit bank statements.
Remember, if you have any questions about applying for a Tier 2 visa, you can attend one of our visa drop in sessions. Alternatively, your employer might be able to offer you advice about the process.