For international students who wish to remain in the UK longer or would like to eventually settle. There are options to choose from, granted you are willing to stay.
Tier 4 Student visa
For those who wish to continue their academic journey they can rea-apply for another Tier 4 student visa. You will, again, need to obtain a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) and there must be academic progression: Bachelor’s -> Master’s -> PhD. Other requirements (such as maintenance) must be satisfied once more.
Tier 5 visa
This visa is perfect for those who wish to obtain some experience after studying. Depending on your nationality you may be required to obtain a sponsorship. This visa does not have many requirements, the most important are maintenance and sponsorship. Tier 5 visas can be granted up to 2 years’ maximum. However, some firms prefer to issue a 1-year visas first and the student can extend for an additional year if they wish.
Tier 2 (General) visa
This visa is for those who manage to obtain a job offer from a licenced company (sponsor). In this case, there is no annual limit and no need for the potential employer to pass the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT). However, the job must still be at a rather high skill level NQF 6 as well as, pay an appropriate salary as per the Code of Practice (the minimum is £20,800). To qualify for you must have completed your degree. If you have not managed to complete the course your potential employer would need to pass the test first and you would have to apply from outside the UK.
The visa is initially granted for up to 5 years (if the sponsor is willing to assign a certificate for a 5-year duration). This visa can be extended to a maximum of 6 years. After the qualifying 5-year period the salary range must be £35,000 (as per the requirements in 2016, this number may gradually increase as the years go by) if you wish to apply for permanent residency. If you do not apply for permanent residence you would need to leave the UK and wait until the “cooling” period of 12 months has passed, then you can reapply for a Tier 2 visa again.
Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
This visa category is tailored specifically for students who wish to start a new business after they have finished studying. Students who want to switch to this category must be endorsed by either the Department for International Trade (DIT) or a UK Higher Education Institution (HEI). Most UK universities are authorised to endorse business ideas. However, it is recommended to check whether university can. This visa will grant you a 1 year visa with a possibility to extend for an additional year. After the 2-year period is over you can switch to Tier 1 (Entrepreneur).
Tier 1 (Investor) visa
This visa is for those individuals that have at least £2,000,000 of available funds to invest in the UK. Furthermore, you must have financial sponsorship. In other words, you must have an unconditional agreement in writing from your financial sponsor to re-enter or stay in the UK if your course fees and living costs were paid by either a government or an international scholarship agency. Initially this visa is granted for 3 years and 4 months with the possibility to extend for an additional 2 years. After the 5-year period has passed you can apply for permanent residency. Also, you can obtain residency much faster but certain conditions will need to be fullfiled.
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
Those who wish to start a business, join a business or take over a business and have an access to £200,000 in funds. Students who are switching to this category can only submit these applications outside the UK. Inside the UK it is only allowed for those who have £50,000 from the specified sources for instance, a grant from a UK government department. This visa is initially granted for 3 years and can be extended for an additional 2 years. Furthermore, after a 5-year period it is possible to apply for permanent residency. Furthermore, it is possible to obtain residence much faster however, conditions apply.
Spouse visa (Based on a relationship with a British Citizen or with someone who holds Indefinite Leave to Remain documentation)
A spouse, is someone who is married. It is possible to switch from a Tier 4 to a Spouse visa after the marriage has taken place (this also includes civil partners). It will not matter if your visa expires soon and/or you only recently got married.
This is also possible for unmarried partners. However, the relationship must have been for at least 2 years and you must have lived with your unmarried partner for this duration (evidence will be required). This does not necessarily mean you must be in the UK you can live abroad or a combination of countries – as long as you have evidence.
The duration of spouse visas is for 33 months, it includes the right to work, be self-employed and/or study. You can also extend this visa for an additional 33 months. After a total of 5 years has passed it is possible to apply for permanent residency.
Spouse visa on the basis of a relationship with a European citizen (non-UK)
Similar to the above-mentioned spouse of a British Citizen. However, the outcome is different, this visa is for 5 years, after this period it is possible to apply for permanent residency.
This category is much easier to approach and does not have that many requirements (no language or financial requirements). This visa also allows to work, study and live in the UK. However, unlike other visas, this one can only be submitted via post. In other words, there is no priority/premium service. The decision whether to grant a visa can take up to 6 months (depending on the difficulty of the case).
Long Residency (10 years)
This visa is for those who have lived in the UK for 10 years. Statistically this is mostly used by students who choose to follow an academic route as Tier 4 visas do not allow settlement after 5 years. However, Long Residency rules are located outside UK immigration law and it is possible to apply for residency documentation after 10 years of lawful residence. Furthermore, this visa can be used by those individuals who have had different types of visas over the period of 10 years, as “mixing and matching” multiple visas to get settlement after 5 years is not generally allowed.
These choices provide possibilities for many people. Here at Mann’s Solutions, we can help pinpoint, and suggest to you, the best possible option in your current situation and needs. Whether you wish to extend your time studying in the UK or you feel it is time to start a new business we are here to offer a helping hand.