It is estimated that about 20% of the University student population in the United Kingdom is made up of students from both EU and non-EU countries. There is therefore a wealth of talent available to UK employers and those with graduate recruitment programmes may find the following information helpful.

1. There will be no change to the rights of European Union (EU) citizens living and working in the UK until 2021. EU nationals can apply for settled status to continue living in the UK after June 2021 and the Home Office’s scheme to do so will be fully open by March 2019.

2. Ordinarily, when an employer is looking to employ a non-EU migrant on a Tier 2 (Work) permit, they have to comply with the Resident Labour Market Test. This means that the employer generally needs to justify why they are offering employment to a non-EU national as opposed to a resident (i.e. UK / EU) worker. However, the Resident Labour Market Test criteria does not apply if an employer is looking to employ a non-EU national University graduate. Furthermore, the Home Office recognise that recent graduates are likely to be earning lower salaries as opposed to more experienced candidates and they cater for this by providing lower salary thresholds in the Tier 2 scheme.

3. The Home Office have also relaxed the Immigration Rules and students can now apply for permission to remain as a Tier 2 (Work) migrant as soon as they have completed a degree level course. Previously, they needed to have successfully completed and passed their degree before being able to switch to a Tier 2 (General) permit. For undergraduate students therefore, they can apply once they have sat their examinations.

4. Most non-EU national students holding Tier 4 (General) student permits are generally granted an additional 4 month period of permission to remain in the UK after the end of their course of study and during this period, they are allowed to work although they are not permitted to fill full-time permanent positions.

For advice on this or any other immigration issue, please do not hesitate to contact Sohan Sidhu by telephone on 01284 763333 or by email at

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