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Tier 1 Post Study Work Visa to be abolished | Immigration Matters

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With just two weeks left to take part in the Student Immigration System public consultation, which will help shape the future of international student visa rules in the UK, higher education providers are lobbying the government to drop plans to end the popular Tier 1 post study work visa.

The coalition government wants to ‘reduce annual net migration to the UK to sustainable levels, in the tens of thousands a year’, and that it ‘expects the student route to make its contribution towards reducing net migration’.

As part of this process a public consultation has been launched which sets out ‘government proposals for achieving this aim’. You are invited to participate in the debate and add your views.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) said:

‘The purpose of the consultation is to seek your views on how the new system for international students should operate in future. These changes seek to ensure that our high-quality institutions remain able to attract genuine students from overseas, while bearing down on abuse.’

Tier 1 Post Study Work Visa to end

Higher education providers and universities have so far been happy to support government clampdowns on student visas as they were aimed at private colleges and lower level students.

But plans to abolish the Tier 1 post study work visa, which will directly hit universities and providers of degree level studies, are causing alarm bells to ring in chancellors offices all over the UK.

At present graduates and degree level and above are allowed to remain in the UK for up to two years on a Tier 1 post study work visa (PSW) in order to look for work with a view to switching into a Tier 2 working visa category.

Tier 1 was the flagship category of the five tier points based system set up by the previous Labour government. The idea behind Tier 1 was to attract the ‘brightest and best’, as well as making the UK an attractive place to come and study.

The new coalition government, which came to power last year, wants to prevent students from automatically staying on at the end of their studies.

The consultation document states:

‘The student route is a temporary migration route, with students expected to leave on completion of their studies. We are concerned that the Post Study Work route confuses this concept. This route enables international graduate students to move from study to work in the UK.

‘All students who have studied in the UK and have been awarded a UK recognised bachelor’s or postgraduate degree, a UK Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), Professional Graduate Diploma of Education (PGDE) or a Higher National Diploma from a Scottish institution, are eligible for this route. This then allows the former student to stay in the UK for up to two years to look for skilled work, and then to switch into one of the main work routes (Tier 1 or Tier 2) as soon as they are able to do so. In 2009, over 38,000 Tier 1 Post Study Work applications were granted, along with almost 8,000 of their dependants.

‘Tier 1 Post Study Work is not the only way in which a graduate can stay on and work in the UK; international graduates who wish to enter the UK labour market are able to do so by being sponsored as a Tier 2 migrant. Their student visa is valid for four months after completion of their studies if the course was longer than 12 months in duration, enabling them to secure sponsorship from a UK employer. We have recently facilitated this process by allowing employers to not carry out the Tier 2 Resident Labour Market test in respect of foreign graduates recruited in the UK through the milkround. This will continue.’

‘We therefore propose to close the Tier 1 Post Study Work route. We also invite views on any necessary transitional arrangements.’


Overseas students are worth an estimated £40 billion to the UK economy, an industry second only to the financial sector in terms of ‘export’ earnings. We are not the only player in the market, with Australia, NZ, Canada, as well as emerging markets providing strong competition as well as generous post study options.

International students are already being deterred from coming to the UK by constant rule changes and the UK Border Agency’s action in 2010 when hundreds of Tier 4 licensed colleges were suspended or closed leaving thousands of students stranded, confused and ‘out of pocket’. 

Abolishing options at the end of a study period, such as the Post Study Work Visa (PSW), will be a disaster for Universities and higher education providers

The ending of Tier 1 will almost certainly destroy the multi-billion pound overseas market for universities, many of which depend on revenue from international fee paying students.

The post study work aisa is a major selling point for universities marketing courses which will cost a student almost £30000 in fees alone.

At a time of the ‘double whammy’ combination of severe budget cuts and fee increases for resident students, universities need international students more than ever.  In some cases, their very survival depends on it. The last thing they need is further restrictions and a message going out to the world that ‘UK Education PLC’ has gone into reverse gear.

You can respond online to the consultation at: which will take around 30 minutes to read and complete.

See also:

Student Visa Public Consultation ends 31 January

Government lays down plans to reform UK student visa system and launch public consultation 

If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Tier 2 Working Visas, Visa, ILR, Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: or visit

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69 Responses to “Tier 1 Post Study Work Visa to be abolished”
Read them below or add one

  1. Thanks, keep working on improving your English. You have learned a few swear words already?

  2. I already have a Master Degree an now i am a postgraduate Student finishing in June. I came for english language emprovement basically. UK is definetely loosing from this decision. Overseas student are refloating Universitie’s finance! and who is taking money out? EU emigrants from poor countries sometimes with no qualifications. Of course they have the right to dream of a better life but the point is, Clearly, double standards are being used here. Puerly populist decision stupid government… You see i just needed few experience here within a uk company then heading back to my country. In many countries education at higher level is free and at higher standard, so just go f**k yourselves…

  3. I would say that all of the students should now get ready to accept the changes to the immigration laws in uk and the closure of PSW tier-1 visa. There is no scope and jobs in united kingdom. Dont know about other countries but India is a country which is booming so fast, there are so man jobs and opportunities, and one can even open up their own business and become millionaire. UK is good for holidays nothing else. F**K the PSW take pride in your own country.

  4. JOSEPHY says :

    Anyway ur rules are very hard for us. When we came into this country the university offered 2 years psw.MY Course will finish this june but i can’t apply for psw.Discrimination is not good especiallly international student.plz issue psw after june.

  5. Respected Sir/Madam,

    I would like to hear from you that which date is probably going to close the PSW Visa.



  6. Have you chased up the visa section to see if they have received the Tribunal’s Determination or appeal decision?

  7. Hi,

    My visa appeal was allowed in the First Tribunal for Tier 4 (General) on 1st September 2011. After then i had not received any correspondence from Visa section up till now. I am so worried as Home office website clearly mentioned the processing time of 12 weeks but its been more than 20 weeks in my case.

    In the meantime i have completed my Bachelors degree on 23rd September 2011 and eligible for post study work visa as my funds are also maintained. I need your advice on:

    Can i apply for Tier 1( Post study work) visa before receival of visa section response for my appeal? (just to mention that my passport is already with me)

    please help me….


  8. It is very unfair to international students, if UK decides to abloish the Tier 1 post study visa midway. A student who would have joined a degree course in UK 3-4 years back with the understanding that post-study visa will be granted would now suddenly finds that the rule is changed mid way. This is very unfair. If UK decides to change the visa policy it should after 2-3 years so that the students who are already enroled UK universities ( who took the admission with this benefit) do not suffer.

    We would request the concerned ministry to consider this.

  9. Maahira says :

    Too many restrictions for students in this country and most of the time they are the center of the immigration problems, the way they are critisized as they are not students and some criminals who have done a huge harm and all these unemployment crisis are due to them. Students have enough stress to deal with already such as exams, finances, isolation, living away from the family etc… and everyday announcements of the rule changes leads to depression and frustration. For God sake let them have some peace of mind.

  10. I lost my Indian & lost my uk post study work permit in Paris. As per the rules already applied for single entry sticker visa to enter in uk. My psw was valid until 22nd feb, 2013. I applied on 16th dec 2011. Still waiting for British embassy decision for visa. I want to know how long it will take to ptovide entry visa.


    UK Border Agency announcement published 18 July 2011

    Tier 1 changes announced today

  12. Please Give me the official UKBA link regarding the closing date of The Post Study Work Visa (PSW).

  13. Your bankers are the ones who should be most worried!

  14. Good luck with your claim! I see your point, however, the government will argue that it did not guarantee students any further leave after their studies. If you have a claim it is probably against your agent or college who may or may not have promised you the earth when you handed over your money. You can still apply for a tier 2 working visa if you can find a sponsoring employer.

  15. I have taken a loan and from the bank and the repayment starts after I finish my studies. I have paid 25000 in tuition fees and expenses.My parents have big hope,so please don’t act like fraudsters which you are.

  16. Hi
    I want my money back and expenses, which I paid to the UK government,When I took admission for MBA the law says 2 yrs PSW. But I graduate in June 2012,for just 2 months I dont want to be like a fool.So please change the law asap.

  17. 1st of April is April Fools Day!

  18. madyyy says :

    aprill but what date of aprill..??? is it 5th 6th …..or 30th….or is it on 1st of april hahaha…

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