Much Ado about Nothing: Noise in media over easing of rules that allow international students to apply for Tier-2 work permit soon on completion of degree should not be interpreted as UK giving Post Study Work provisions for International students.

A great deal of fuss over nothing of such significance. The phrase ‘much ado about nothing’ is of course from Shakespeare’s play – Much Ado About Nothing, 1599. He had used the word ado, which means business or activity, in an earlier play – Romeo and Juliet.

Indian media and all those desperate to give an impression that UK has started encouraging post study work have been circulating newspaper articles such as the one on this link. However, had they even read the article fully, they would have understood that it is not much.

Before you start interpreting it to mean much, do understand what TIER 2 visa is. It is akin to work permit in other countries. It has existed for years and the only change is that while earlier students could apply for Tier 2 work permit only after they had received the degree, now they can apply for the switch from student visa (Tier 4) to the work permit soon after completing the degree.

Yes, only this much is the change. As of now. Much ado over nothing.

Now is Tier 2 work permit easy for students? No. Not at all. For a student who has no local UK work experience to find an employer who will offer him or her a job meeting the conditions of the Tier 2 is very difficult. Even if they get a few extra months to look for one. One of the key requirements is that the salary offered has to be of a certain level. Take a look:

Switching from Tier 4 eligibility

  • Can only switch if applying from inside the UK
  • Employer must be on the register of Tier 2 sponsors and issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).
  • Job offer must be at ‘graduate level’ as outlined in the Immigration Rules Appendix J: codes of practice for skilled work.
  • Minimum salary of £20,800 or industry equivalent if higher as outlined in the Immigration Rules Appendix J: codes of practice for skilled work. A graduate switching between a Tier 4 to Tier 2 visa can meet the ‘new entrant’ salary rate. The minimum salary varies depending on the occupation and in many cases is more than £20,800.

The article on the link further confirms my assertion:

London mayor Sadiq Khan has advocated a new category of post-study work visas. In his blueprint paper—‘Immigration, a future approach’, Khan had pointed to dwindling international student numbers. His suggestion was that a poststudy work visa should be distinct from the Tier-2 route and should enable students to work in the UK for 12-24 months after graduation.

This suggestion from the London mayor is the one that can make UK attractive and has been argued for by even this blog for years. The PSW period will be critical for students to find an employer who can sponsor them with the appropriate salary levels. For employers they would have been able to appraise the student during the PSW period before entering into greater commitment.

Till such a time that the PSW distinct from the Tier-2 route is offered, the news over the easing and the celebrations in the industry is a much ado over nothing.



  1. I really don’t give much weightage to media/ journalists version of these changes. They went ahead and said it on national TV that, Indians can get Canadian visa on arrival. When the fact is other way round.


  2. Thanks for making it crystal clear. I agree with you on this point and until UK start offering PSW similar to its competitors; Australia, Canada and New Zealand, it will remain most unattractive destination in the Indian market.


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