Graduate Employment Schemes
Staying on at work after your degree:
A variety of arrangements now exist to permit those who graduate from degree
courses, or post-graduate studies, to stay on to work in the UK, either in a
temporary category or for the longer term.
There are also schemes for Working Holiday Makers, Students, and Training and
Work Experience permits.
Overseas students graduating from UK universities or institutions with degrees
are eligible to 'switch' to work permit employment without needing to leave the
UK. This covers any type of job for which a permit can be granted, and the usual
rules on work permits will apply.
There are also special arrangements for student nurses, midwives, and
postgraduate doctors and dentists to stay on to take employment with a work
permit in these professions without needing to apply from abroad for a visa.
Depending on the type of studies, it may be possible for overseas students to be
issued with TWES permits, for a period of professional training or work
experience before returning to their countries. In addition to these
arrangements, some students can stay on to look for work without a work or
trainee permit. Two schemes operate, one for Scotland and the other for the rest
of the UK.
In Scotland, the Fresh Talent-Working in Scotland Scheme is intended to permit
any student who has successfully completed a degree course, and HND or post
graduate studies in any subject at a Scottish institution to be granted two
years extension of stay. This is a temporary scheme, and cannot be extended, but
an applicant can, after the two years, apply to switch to stay here for
employment with a work permit, or on the strength of a business here, or as a
highly skilled migrant. An applicant needs to have lived in Scotland for at
least part of the time of the studies, and must intend to take up work in
The scheme for the rest of the UK is known as the Science and Engineering
Graduates Scheme (or SEGS), and was at first restricted to those who gained
undergraduate degrees in a range of subjects covering science, engineering and
mathematics, included on a list published by the government. The name is now
slightly misleading, because the scheme also covers anyone who obtains a Masters
degree or PhD in any subject. In each case applicants will be given a period of
12 months to stay, whether or not they have a job available to them. After one
year applicants will be expected to leave, unless they have an offer of a job on
a work permit, are in a suitable business, or can qualify as
highly skilled migrants.
In both of these schemes applicants must show that they can support themselves
without reliance on social security benefits. Applications must be made within
12 months of completing the studies, and permission will be given to take any
work or to set up in business. Spouses (or registered civil partners) and
children are able to stay.