A post-study work visa allows international students to remain in the country where they completed a study program while they look for employment. This way, international graduates can gain valuable work experience and create a professional and social network. That may help them to get a work permit and transition to a permanent residence status. Student numbers have been steadily increasing for this visa class.
If you are planning to transition from student visa into permanent residence, you should consider the field of the program you choose to study. It’s easier to get a work permit for the minimum period required for a permanent residence if your skills are in demand.
Many countries offer great opportunities for international students after graduation. We brought together information about the most attractive programs that can lead to permanent residency and citizenship.
Post-study work visa UK (United Kingdom)
The UK value international students for the positive contribution they make to the country, and Indians play a significant role in its student population. Over the last three years, Indian student numbers have increased significantly, reaching 22,000 in 2019. The number of students is forecast to continue to grow, and not just from India.
In September 2019, the UK Government announced a new post-study work visa UK. The scheme allows students of undergraduate level and above to work in the country for two years after graduation. This attractive graduate immigration route can help the UK to become a first-choice international student destination. The government will launch the program for the 2020/21 intake and further details will be announced then.
UK permanent residency for international students
At the end of 2 years, it’s possible to get a skilled worker visa (Tier 2) if you find employment. The visa fee ranges from £409 to £1,408 depending on the duration and type of visa. The visa is valid for up to 5 years and gives you the right to bring your family to live in the UK.
If you seek a work permit in the UK with permanent residency in mind, it’s advantageous to choose a career in demand. The most in-demand sectors are Financial, Directors and CEOs, Secondary Teaching, Softwares, and Graphic Designers. Chefs, nurses, social workers and mechanical engineers also have higher chances to be employed. The regions with the most vacancies are London, North West, Wales and West Midlands.
The importance that the government attaches to this program is obvious. An example is a recent decision by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). The decision allows students to access the program even if part of their studies were forced to be virtual by the COVID-19 crisis. The UKVI’s guidance and response to the pandemic have bolstered the UK’s standing with international students.
Post-study work visa NZ (New Zealand)
New Zealand offers an opportunity for graduates that wish to stay in the country at the end of their study program. The visa has a duration of 1, 2 or 3 years, depending on the level of study and where it was completed.
The visa allows you to bring a partner who can apply for a work visa. Children can study for free as domestic students.
To qualify, you must have gained a qualification of level 4 or higher on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework. The framework goes up to level 10 (Doctoral Degree). That means you obtained a certificate after gaining broad operational and theoretical knowledge in a field of work or study (minimum 40 credits). Examples of Level 4 qualifications include Certificate in Tourism, Automotive Engineering, Museum Practice, among others.
There are other criteria that you need to meet to obtain a visa in New Zealand that are conditioned to your nationality. You can check all the criteria details on the New Zealand Immigration website. The visa fee is NZD$495.
To increase the chances to become a permanent resident, you should look for employment in a sector that has a shortage of skilled workers. New Zealand has a shortage of skills in the sectors of Construction, Engineering, Finance, Health, ICT (Information and Communication Technology), and Science. You can check a comprehensive list from the New Zealand Government.
Post-study work visa Australia
The Temporary Graduate from Visa Australia – subclass 485 allows you to work for 2 to 4 years in Australia after graduating. It also allows you to bring immediate family members to live with you during that period.
To apply, you must be under 50 years old and meet the English proficiency requirement. Additionally, you must hold a recent degree from a course registered in the CRICOS that lasted at least 2 academic years. Your qualification must be at least a bachelor degree to be eligible.
International graduates take advantage of the scheme to improve their communication skills and grow a professional and social network in Australia. That will give them an advantage in the labour market.
ICT graduates have the option to apply for The Professional Year Program (PYear), an industry-relevant internship. After completing the PYear, a participant may be awarded 5 extra points in the skilled migrant visa points test. The test awards points to applicants based on age, work experience, nationality, etc.
The most common ways to get a permanent visa in Australia is through skilled work and family. There are a few different work visas that can lead to permanent residency. Each one of them has its requirements, depending on if you are applying through a sponsor or independently. In most cases, you should be qualified to work in an eligible skilled occupation and satisfy the skilled migration visa points test.
Post-study work visa Canada
The Canada post-graduation work permit (PGWP) allows you to stay in Canada and work full-time for up to three years after you graduate. This way, you can gain relevant work experience, which can help you to qualify for permanent residency. This advantage is because many categories of Canadian permanent residency require eligible Canadian work experience. There are other visas and work permits available for foreign nationals, including the Skilled Visa Program.
To be eligible, you must have completed a study program that will lead to a degree, diploma or certificate. The program must be from a designated educational institution with a minimum duration of 8 months. English (ESL) or French (FSL) as a second language courses are not eligible for this type of visa.
There are a few pathways you can follow to get a work permit in Canada. You can use this questionnaire to find out how to get a work permit according to your nationality, age, language skills, work experience, etc.
Other countries that have post-study work visa programs
France is a country that offers many work opportunities for new graduates. It has a high demand for ICT (Information and Communications Technology) and health professionals, including veterinarians. Other sectors with a high shortage of labour are engineering, finance and legal. Foreign graduates can apply for an Autorisation Provisoire de Séjour. This is a temporary permit that allows graduates to stay in France for 12 months while seeking employment.
In Germany, newly graduated students can have access to many work opportunities. There are a few different types of visas available according to the type of work performed. Doctors, nurses, engineers, scientists and computer scientists are the most sought-after jobs, while tech jobs also have a high demand.
The Netherlands offers an orientation year visa after graduation, which allows international students to stay in the country while looking for employment.
Similarly, in Norway, it’s possible to get a one-year residence permit for job seeking.
And in Finland, international students can apply for a 1-year resident permit after graduation that allows them to look for work.
Is a post-study work visa a good option for international students?
If you plan to work and get permanent residency in the country where you completed your studies, definitely yes. A post-study work visa can be the perfect opportunity to build a professional network and get a better understanding of the local work culture.
The experience will not guarantee that you will obtain a permanent residence in the future. But it will certainly give you a great advantage when competing for a job that will then grant you a work permit. As international student numbers grow countries will continue to compete to keep the best and brightest. And, these visas can be a pathway to a new life for you and your family.
For more information on Skilled Migration and Critical Skills Visas please see here.
And, here are the best Student Visa programs around the world.
Another option for those under 35 years old is a Working Holiday Visa.