The UK education system
The UK education system
Education in the UK enjoys global recognition as being the highest in quality. This means that when you study here, you benefit from greater opportunities in your life and career.
The United Kingdom attracts over 400,000 international students every year. Its long-standing reputation for academic excellence continues to offer graduates the best career opportunities whether they decide to seek work in the UK, USA or return home.
In the UK, students complete 13 years of education before they progress to university. Undergraduate study is three years and postgraduate is one year.
Undergraduate study in the US is split into two components. The first two years are spent studying ‘general studies’ and the last two years are spent on ‘core studies’ and postgraduate study in Australia can be one-two years.
The diagram below illustrates the differences in time of study within different education systems and where ONCAMPUS programmes in the UK fit within this.
A Graduate visa gives you permission to stay in the UK for at least 2 years after successfully completing a course in the UK.
You must be in the UK when you apply.
You can apply for a Graduate visa if all of the following are true:
- you’re in the UK
- your current visa is a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
- you studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible course for a minimum period of time with your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
- you’ve successfully completed that course
How long you can stay
A Graduate visa lasts for 2 years. If you have a PHD or other doctoral qualification, it will last for 3 years.
Your visa will start from the day your application is approved.
If you want to stay longer in the UK
You cannot extend your Graduate visa. However, you may be able to switch to a different visa, for example a Skilled Worker visa.
When to apply
You must apply before your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa expires.
You can apply as soon as your education provider (such as your university or college) has told you that you’ve successfully completed the course you took with your Student or Tier 4 (General) student visa. You do not have to wait until you’ve graduated or have been given a certificate.
As part of your application, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide your documents.
Your application may take longer if you need an appointment to do this. You’ll find out if you need one when you start your application.
If you work in public sector healthcare
If you’re a doctor or nurse, or you work in health or adult social care, check if you’re eligible to apply for the Health and Care Worker visa instead. It’s cheaper to apply for and you do not need to pay the annual immigration health surcharge.
If you get a job in public sector healthcare after you have paid the healthcare surcharge, you may be able to get a refund.
What you can and cannot do
With a Graduate visa you can:
- work in most jobs
- look for work
- be self-employed
- continue living in the UK with your partner and children, if they’re eligible
- do voluntary work
- travel abroad and return to the UK
- apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension
- work as a professional sportsperson