How to Convert Student Visa to Work Permit in UK

How to Convert Student Visa to Work Permit in UK

Visa processes in the UK are notoriously difficult and with the UK cracking down on immigration, the rules are only getting more complicated and harder to follow. Luckily, immigration agencies like Synergy Immigration Solutions are here to help you understand the regulations and apply for your visas with the least hassle.

If you’ve gone through the process before to get a Student visa, you’ll understand that converting your visa into a work permit isn’t easy and you’ll need to meet lots of eligibility requirements. Let’s have a look at how you can change your visa, and how to make the process easier.

Can You Switch from a Student Visa to a Work Permit in the UK?

Can You Switch from a Student Visa to a Work Permit in the UK?

You cannot switch from short-term visas to work visas while in the UK, so if you’re on a short-term student visa i.e. for less than 6 months, you cannot switch to a work visa. However, for most Student visas, your visa will last at least 12 months, and you will be able to switch from a Student visa to a Work visa.

There are several types of Work visas in the UK, however, the restrictions change depending on what job you are applying for and how long for, so you need to ensure that you meet the terms of your specific Work visa before you try to change your visa.

UK Work visas include:

  • Health and Care Worker visa
  • Global Business Mobility visas
  • Skilled Worker visas
  • Temporary Worker visas such as Seasonal Workers

When you apply for any of these visas, you need to ensure that you have:

  • A job offer on the list of eligible occupations for that visa
  • A job offer from a UK business with a licence to sponsor foreign nationals
  • A certificate of sponsorship detailing your proposed role including the proposed salary which must meet the minimum salary requirements for that job

One of the most popular Work visas in the UK is the Skilled Worker visa, formerly the Tier 2 visa, which has a long but evolving list of eligible occupations across many different fields. Before applying to switch to a Skilled Worker visa or any Work visa from a Student visa, you need to apply before your current visa expires, as your application will be withdrawn and you will not receive a refund of your application fees if you leave the country while the Home Office is processing your application.

Can You Apply for a Work Permit While Studying in the UK?

Since most Student visas are issued for the length of your course with an extra month or two at the end in case you need to resit any exams or to be able to attend your graduation, you will usually have a couple of months after finishing your course in which you can look for work if you wish to stay in the UK. However, finding an approved sponsor, getting a job offer and applying for a work permit before your visa expires can be difficult in a short space of time.

Fortunately, you can apply for a work permit while you’re studying, as long as your proposed start date for your job is after the official end date for your course. You cannot apply for a Work visa in the UK while studying if you wish to give up your course and get a job; either your course needs to have already finished, or you won’t start work until it has to be eligible for a Work visa.

What You Need to Switch from a Student Visa to a Work Visa

How to Apply for a UK Ancestry Visa

When you apply for a Work visa from outside of the UK or apply to switch from a Student visa, you’ll need to get a number of documents ready in advance to support your application.

As well as needing to provide evidence that your course has finished, or that it will finish before your job starts, and your certificate of sponsorship detailing your proposed role, you will also need to provide:

  • Proof of your knowledge of English (e.g. a CEFR exam result or your graduation certificate from a UK University)
  • Your passport with a blank page for your visa

Depending on your individual circumstances, you may also need to provide:

  • Proof of sufficient finances to cover your living costs for your first month on your new visa e.g. bank statements showing sufficient funds in your account for at least 28 consecutive days or a letter from your proposed employer explaining they will support you
  • A tuberculosis test result if you’re from a listed country
  • A police certificate of your criminal record or showing you do not have one
  • A graduation certificate or course reference number
  • Certified translations of any documents that are not in English or Welsh, as well as the translator’s credentials

You will need to submit these documents with your application online, pay the application fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) and wait for the Home Office to process your application.

Waiting for a Decision on Your Visa

The Home Office can take up to 8 weeks to process your visa if you’re applying from inside the UK or switching from a Student visa, however, it may take longer if you need to attend an interview or your application is missing documents.

During this time you should not leave the UK. However, you can travel within the UK including to Northern Ireland, but you cannot cross the border into the Republic of Ireland.

The Home Office may still refuse your visa for several reasons, but they will explain their decision in a rejection letter and notify you if you are eligible to appeal their decision. You can also stay in the UK while your appeal is ongoing.

Working on a Student Visa

Working on a Student Visa

When you receive your student visa, you will be given all of the relevant information regarding your specific visa with your visa documents, as the regulations can change from person to person. However, generally, you can work while in the UK on a Student visa as a foreign national.

There are some restrictions on the work you are permitted to do, but during term time you can work:

  • Up to 10 hours a week if you’re studying below degree level
  • Up to 20 hours a week if you’re studying at degree level or above

Outside of term time, i.e. in official course breaks, you can work full-time. Full-time is up to 40 hours a week and no more than 8 hours a day for under 18s, and up to 48 hours a week for over 18s. If you work more hours than you are allowed and are caught, you can have your visa revoked and be asked to leave the UK. This may also affect your ability to get another UK visa at another time.

New Visa Regulations 2023/2024

New Visa Regulations 2023/2024

In late 2023, Home Secretary James Cleverly announced plans to cut back on immigration by primarily limiting the number of dependents that can come into the country with visa holders. So as of 1 January 2024, you can only bring your children and partner into the UK with you on a Student visa if you are studying a research-based postgraduate degree i.e. PhD.

There were also changes made to the Skilled Worker visa, so you are only eligible for this visa if your proposed job meets the new minimum salary requirements. After a great deal of backlash, this figure was changed shortly after it was announced but is supposed to be brought in in Spring 2024, so keep an eye out for any new changes to the Skilled Worker visa requirements or contact a visa agency for assistance!

Need Assistance? Contact Synergy Immigration Solutions!

Work visas can be hard to get as you need to find a valid job as well as an approved sponsor to even start your application for a Work visa. If you’re running out of time at the end of your course or simply need a hand with the application process, Synergy Immigration Solutions are here to help! Contact us today to learn more.

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