Study in the UK – Pathway to Immigration

study in the UK

Are you looking to study in the UK for a bachelors degree or maybe a masters or doctorate? The UK offers a world-class education which leads to great career opportunities and therefor sponsorship by employers looking to retain your expertise in the United Kingdom.

A well-planned study strategy can lead to a long-term work visa option in the UK and can continue to permanent residency.

Benefits of studying in the UK

The UK has for a long time been one of the world’s leading destinations for international students. The international student population of the United Kingdom has been increasing for the past decade and in 2022 reached 679,970.

  • High standard of education
  • Top universities
  • Worldwide recognised qualification
  • Opportunities to stay in the UK after graduation to work
  • Safe country to live
  • Diverse student population
  • Improves your English
  • Explore the country

How to study in the UK

If you want to study in the UK you will need to plan then pass several steps before you arrive here.

First of all you need to find a course that are interested in and qualify for. Spend time conducting research on the degree and the career opportunities that you can get from it.

Once you have decided on a degree or course, it is now time to find a college or university. There are over 160 universities alone in the United Kingdom so you will have plenty of choice! Check out the University League Table for 2024. An important factor in choosing the right learning institution is the city or town you want to live in. Whether it is England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland the UK has a wide range of cultures to choose from that all offer something different. Check out our own article on the best places to live in the UK 2023.

The next step is to apply for the Student Visa as you will now have received a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). This creates a unique electronic reference that is required when applying for the visa.

The Student Visa allows you to work in the UK for up to 20 hours a week, although you can work longer hours during holiday periods outline by your university.

Can I bring my Family?

You can bring family known as “dependants” on the Student Visa. Eligible family members include spouse or civil partner and a child under 18. Family members over 18 can work full time on this visa with little restrictions.

Cost of Studying in the UK

The cost of a course or degree depends on the specialty and the university or college. Overall, studying at a UK university as an international student will cost at least £10,000 per term. Additionally, you will need to pay for the Student Visa application fee which is currently £363 as of September 2023.

If you are bringing dependants you must show you have money available through a bank statement. The money available for each adult dependant or child is £845 per month in London or £680 per month outside London. For example to bring your partner for 9 months outside London, they will need to prove they have £680 x 9 months = £6,120.

You will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) upfront relevant to the length of your visa. For example, if you are applying for a 2-year visa you will have to pay £624 each year, therefore you will have to pay a total of £1248.

Finding Accomodation

It is important that you arrange your housing before you arrive in your chosen town or university. To find accommodation we recommend using the guidance on your chosen college or university website or contacting the student union. Research online to get an idea of the local area and where is best for students and also rent prices and availability.

If you are just starting your degree and aged between 18-21, we recommend applying for student housing through the university, this allows you to meet other students and make friends in a new city.

When you arrive

The university in which you have chosen will provide you with a booklet or website that helps you settle in to the city and country. The most important tasks to do is open a bank account and signing up for a mobile phone contract. If you are planning on working then you will need to attain a National Insurance number, this is required to work in the UK.

Pathway to Permanent Residency

International students who complete a degree in the UK have many opportunities to move on to a work visa and eventually attain permanent residence or citizenship.

Although the Student Visa doesn’t directly lead on to a work visa, it does let you work and build relationships with employers who can sponsor you once your visa ends.

There are multiple work visas that let you work in the UK, the three most popular visas for recently graduated students are the Skilled Worker visa, Health and Care Worker visa and the Graduate Visa. Students who have ancestry from specific countries can also extend their stay by applying through the British National Overseas visa or the UK Ancestry visa.

man and woman celebrating being granted a skilled worker visa UK
For UK employers to sponsor skilled workers to live in the UK full time. You must have a job on the occupations list and meet the salary requirements for your role.
UK nurses
For the NHS or private employers to sponsor medical professionals to work in the UK. You must have a job on the occupations list and meet the salary requirements for your role.
graduation in the UK
For recently graduated international students who want to live and work in the UK after their studies. Also known as Post-Study Work visa.
For Hong Kong citizens who want to work or study in the UK without sponsorship. You must have registered as a British national before July 1997 and own a permanent home in Hong Kong when applying.
union jack flags being waved to people arriving in the uk
For commonwealth citizens who want to work or study in the UK without sponsorship. You must have a grandparent born in the UK. Citizens of Zimbabwe are also eligible on this vis route.

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