Post-study Work Visa for highly skilled people

PSW (Post study work visa) has been a popular subject of discussion for aspiring students looking for enhancing their education from a foreign country. Students looking for master's level courses are always looking at possible opportunities to grab a job opportunity and stay back for a specific period to gain experience and earn remuneration in foreign currency.

Please see below significant information pertaining to PSW visas available across various foreign study destinations to be referred by prospective students.

  • Canada

    The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to gain valuable Canadian work experience.

    A work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program may be issued for the length of the study program up to a maximum of three years. A Post-Graduation work permit is no longer than the student's study program, and the study program must be a minimum of eight months in length. For example, if you graduate from a four-year degree program, you could be eligible for a three-year work permit if you meet the criteria. If you graduate from an eight-month certificate program, you would be eligible for a work permit that is valid for no more than eight months.

    Work permits for students: Working after graduation - Who can apply

    To obtain a work permit after your graduation, you must meet the following requirements:

    • You must have studied full time in Canada and you must have completed a program of study that lasted at least eight months.
    • In addition, you must have graduated from:
      • A public post-secondary institution, such as a college, trade/technical school, university or CEGEP (in Quebec), or
      • A private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as public institutions (currently only qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer leading to the Diplôme d'études collégiales (DEC) or Attestation d’études collégiales (AEC) at private college-level educational institutions in Quebec are eligible), or
      • Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees but only if you are enrolled in one of the programs of study leading to a degree as authorized by the province and not in all programs of study offered by the private institution.
    • You must apply for a work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation (for example, a transcript or an official letter) from your institution indicating that you have met the requirements for completing your academic program.
    • You must have completed and passed the program of study and received a notification that you are eligible to obtain your degree, diploma or certificate.
    • You must have a valid study permit when you apply for the work permit.

    Note

    If you have graduated from a vocational or professional training program at a public or private secondary institution in Quebec, regulated by the Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS), you may be eligible to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit.

    In addition, applicants must:

    • Be 18 years of age or older at the time of application.
    • Have a valid study permit when you apply for the work permit.
    • Have completed a full time program that lasted 900 hours or more (normally eight months in length), leading to a Diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an Attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP).
    • Apply for a work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation (for example, a transcript or an official letter) from your institution indicating that you have met the requirements for completing your academic program, and
    • Provide a supporting letter from your institution outlining the duration of studies and the program code.

    Impact of length of program of study in Canada and the length of the work permit

    A Post-Graduation Work Permit cannot be valid longer than the official length of your program of study in Canada. For example, students graduating from a four-year degree program might be eligible for a three-year year work permit. Students graduating from an eight-month certificate program would only be eligible for a work permit of eight months.

    If the official length of your program of study is:

    • Less than eight months; you are not eligible for this program
    • less than two years but more than eight months; you may get a work permit for a period no longer than the length of your program of study (for example, if you studied for nine months, a work permit may be issued for a period of nine months)
    • Two years or more; a work permit may be issued for three years

    You are not eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program if you:

    • Study in a program that is less than eight months long
    • Participate in a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT)
    • Participate in a Government of Canada Awards Program funded by DFAIT
    • Receive funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    • Participate in the Equal Opportunity Scholarship, Canada-Chile
    • Participate in the Canada-China Scholars Exchanges Program
    • Participate in the Organization of American States Fellowships Program
    • Participate in a distance learning program either from abroad or from within Canada or have previously been issued a Post-Graduation Work Permit following any other program of study.
  • Australia

    New post-study work visa arrangements are proposed until early 2013. Under Australia's legislative system, regulations on post-work study must be approved by the Governor-General. The information provided below explains how the Department of Immigration and Citizenship intends to operate the post-study work arrangements. This should be read as a proposed set of arrangements for the Governor-General's consideration in due course.

    FAQs

    • Who will be able to access the post-study work visa?

      Certain graduates of an Australian Bachelor degree, Masters by coursework degree, Masters by research degree or Doctoral degree will have access to the post-study work visa.

    • Will there be a requirement for applicants to have previously held a student visa?

      Yes. To be eligible for the post-study work visa, students must have completed their studies in Australia while on a student visa. Applicants who have undertaken studies while on other visas which allow study, such as dependents of Temporary Business (Long Stay) - Standard Business Sponsorship (Subclass 457) visa holders, would not be eligible for the post-study work visa.

    • What will the visa eligibility requirements be?

      Students must apply for the post study work visa six months prior to graduation, and the applicant must have completed a Bachelor degree (or a higher level course such as a Masters or Doctoral degree) obtained in Australia. Graduates must also meet the Australian study requirement. The Australian study requirement is defined as study in Australia in a course registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) for a period of at least 2 academic years (92 weeks). The course itself should be conducted in English and should be completed in no less than 16 calendar months. The level of study must be at either Bachelor degree, Masters by coursework degree, Masters by research degree or Doctoral degree - courses packaged together with a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma will not be eligible, even if the total duration of study equals 92 weeks. English language, health, character and security requirements will need to be met and evidence of adequate health insurance for the duration of the visa will need to be provided.

    • What level of English language will be required?

      The English language requirement shows competency in English, which is a minimum score of 6 in each of the four components of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test or the equivalent score in another English language test that may be specified by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship for use with this visa.

    • Do applicants need to nominate an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List when applying for this visa?

      No. Applicants eligible to apply for this visa would not be required to nominate an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List or undertake a skills assessment. How long will the post-study work visa be valid? Graduates who have completed a Bachelor degree or Masters by coursework degree in Australia will be eligible to apply for a two year post-study work visa. Graduates who have completed a Masters by research degree or a Doctoral degree in Australia will be eligible to apply for a post-study work visa for three or four years respectively.

    • When will the post-study work visa be available to graduating students?

      These new arrangements will be ready for students who made their student visa applications after 5 November 2011, the date on which the first Knight Review measures were implemented. Students who will begin to graduate from early 2013 onwards will have the post-study work visa arrangements designed to them in early 2013.

    • Does this change affect existing student visa holders?

      No. Students currently studying in Australia are still entitled to apply for the existing Temporary Skilled Graduate visa (subclass 485). The subclass 485 visa allows students to remain temporarily in Australia with work rights at the completion of their studies. Information about the current subclass 485 visa can be found on the departments website.

      See immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/485/

    • Will the post-study work visa be available to someone who already holds or has ever held a Skilled – Graduate (subclass 485) visa?

      No. Students will only be able to access post-study work rights once.

    • Will there be similar arrangements in place for students not studying a degree?

      No, this arrangement would only be for graduates who obtain a Bachelor degree or higher qualification. Existing arrangements for other students would continue to apply in line with the government's commitment to the current transitional arrangements in place until the end of 2012. Other students would continue to have access to the Temporary Skilled Graduate (subclass 485) visa. The subclass 485 visa is a temporary visa that allows an 18 month stay to work in Australia. The existing subclass 485 visa is available to eligible students provided they satisfy the criteria for the grant of that visa, including that they:

      • have recently completed an eligible qualification(s) as a result of at least two years study in Australia
      • have a skills assessment for an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL)
      • meet the English language requirement of competent English (equivalent to IELTS 6 in all four components)
      • are under 50 years of age.

      Information about the current subclass 485 visa is available. See: immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/485/

    • Will there be consultation with the international education sector on this proposed recommendation?

      Yes. The department will work with key stakeholders to develop this recommendation.

    • Where do I go for more information?

      More information will be provided on the department's website as it becomes available. See: immi.gov.au/students/knight/

  • New Zealand

    The following is a new guided statement on immigration student policy. Student immigrants contribute to New Zealand’s sustainable economic development by:

    • Facilitating the entry of genuine students, with a focus on attracting and developing students who have the skills and talent New Zealand needs
    • Increasing global connectedness
    • Supporting the sustainable growth of export education capability
    • Earning foreign exchange, and strengthening New Zealand education, while managing economic risks for New Zealand and maintaining social cohesion.
    • Expanded Work Opportunities for Students (and Some Partners)

    Term-time work rights

    Term-time work rights of 20 hours per week will be available to the following students:

    • all students enrolled in a full-time course of at least two years
    • all students enrolled in a course that would result in points under the Skilled Migrant Category (see section SM14 of our Operational Manual) (regardless of length of course or type of institution)
    • secondary students engaged in full-time, full-year course of study in Year 12 or Year 13 with written permission from their school and parental consent
    • English language students with an IELTS overall band score of 5.0 or above at the time of application for a visa or permit to study a full time course of at least six months duration.

    Christmas holiday work rights

    The right to work full-time in the Christmas holiday period will be available to any student enrolled in a course of 12 months or more duration.

    Partner's work rights

    Open work permits will be available to the partners of the following students:

    Students enrolled in courses of study towards qualifications in areas of absolute skill shortage as specified in the Long Term Skill Shortage List or students enrolled in postgraduate qualifications i.e. levels 8, 9, or 10 on the qualifications table.

    Facilitating the Pathway from Study to Work to Residence

    There are new work-permits for some graduates.

    Any student regardless of institution type who successfully completes a course in New Zealand resulting in a qualification that would get points under the Skilled Migrant Category will be eligible to apply for a six -month open work permit.

    Once they have secured relevant employment they can then apply for either a post-study two-year work permit (currently specified in our Operational Manual at U7.20.15) or proceed directly to the Skilled Migrant Category.

    WORK VISA - PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE POST STUDY CHECKLIST

    General requirements

    • A completed signed Application to Work in New Zealand form (INZ 1015).
    • Application fee (payable by credit card, bank cheque / bank draft) in New Zealand dollars.
    • Immigration’s Guide to Fees (INZ 1028) and www.immigration.govt.nz/fees.
    • Your passport or travel document (which should be valid for at least 3 months past the date you plan to leave New Zealand).
    • Two recent passport sized photograph attached to the application form.
    • Offer of employment relevant to your course or qualification.
    • Health examination certificate
    • Evidence that you have either:
      • Completed a course in New Zealand with a minimum completion time of 3 years OR
      • Completed a qualification in New Zealand that would qualify for points under the Skilled Migrant Category (see SM14).
      • If you're claiming to have graduated with a National or New Zealand qualification then you must provide a certified copy of your NZQA certificate with your application.
    • Evidence that either:
      • the work visa application is being made no later than 3 months after the expiry date of their student visa for that course or qualification OR
      • you hold a ‘Graduate Job Search Work Visa’

    Health requirements

    Pregnant woman and children under 11 years of age are not required to have an X-ray unless a special report is required. Please refer to our Health requirements Leaflet (INZ 1121) for more details on immigration health instructions and a list of low incidence TB countries/areas/territories.

    Applicants intending to stay 12 months or more including time already spent in New Zealand

    Note that if you have already submitted a Medical and Chest X-Ray Certificate within the last two years you do not need to submit the medical certificate another with this application.

    • Medical and Chest X-Ray Certificate (INZ 1007) which is less than 3 months old

    Character requirements

    If you are aged 17 or over and you are intending to be in New Zealand for more than two years(including time already spent in New Zealand), you must submit:

    • Original police certificates, less than 6 months old, from your country of citizenship and any country in which you have lived for five years or more since attaining the age of 17years (or satisfactory evidence that you have never lived in that country)

    If you have already submitted the above police certificates within last two years you do not need to submit them again along with this application. We will advise you if we need you to submit updated police certificates at a later date.

    General advice for applicants

    The following steps are guidelines for ensuring that your application for a work visa is processed smoothly and efficiently:

    • Please do not submit any original documents other than your passport, Medical and Police Certificates. Any other document(s) you wish us to consider must be certified. We will advise you if we need you to submit original documents at a later date.
    • We recommend that on the application form you list your mobile number, contactable landline number and email address (please write very clearly). This will help us to contact you quickly if we need to, and we will be able to process you application more quickly.
    • If you do not pay the correct fee we will return your application without processing it.
    • Visit ers.dol.govt.nz for information on current minimum wages and what should be included in employment agreement i.e. holidays act, sick leave.
    • It is unlawful to undertake employment while you are not on valid work visa. You can undertake employment only after your work visa is approved.

    For more information, visit: immigration.govt.nz/work

  • UK

    From 6 April 2012, Tier 1 (Post-study work) will be closed to all new applicants. Dependants can still apply to join applicants who have obtained prior entry clearance for Tier 1 (Post-study work).

    The Tier 1 (Post-study work) category allows the UK to retain the most able international (non-European) graduates who have studied in UK. Applicants who have permission to stay under Tier 1 (Post-study work), can look for work without needing to have a sponsor.

    The category provides a bridge to highly skilled or skilled work. If you have permission to stay as a post-study worker, we expect that you will switch into another tier of the points-based system as soon as you can.

    Can you apply?

    For your application to be successful, you must score a total of 95 points and meet all the other requirements of the Immigration Rules - see 'More information' below.

    If you are already in the UK in a different immigration category, you may be able to 'switch' into Tier 1 (Post-study work)

    You can use the points-based calculator to calculate whether you have enough points to apply under Tier 1 (Post-study work).

    Attribute Points

    You can score points for various aspects of your recent UK qualification. These are called your 'attributes', and you must score 75 points for them.

    Attributes Points Available
    You have a UK qualification 20 points
    You studied for this qualification at a UK institution 20 points
    You had a valid immigration status during your UK study and / or research 20 points
    The date of award of your qualification was no more than 12 months before the date when you apply under Tier 1 (Post-study work) 15 points

    You will automatically score 75 points for your attributes if you are currently in the UK under:

    • the Science and Engineering Graduates Scheme (SEGS).
    • the International Graduates Scheme (IGS), or
    • Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme (FT: WISS)

    However, you cannot apply under Tier 1 (Post-study work) at all if your permission to stay under the above schemes was granted for the full 2 years.

    Points for your English language ability

    You will automatically score 10 points for English language if you score 75 points for your attributes.

    Points for maintenance (funds)

    You must score 10 points for having enough money to support yourself during your stay - this is called 'maintenance'. To score 10 points, you must have:

    • £2,800 in available funds if you are applying for a visa from abroad, or
    • £800 in available funds if you are already in the UK and applying to switch

    These funds must be cash savings held in your bank account(s) and/or shared bank account(s). If they are held in a bank account overseas, we will convert the amount to pounds sterling using the exchange rate published on the OANDA website on the date of your application.

    The funds must have been in your bank account(s) for at least 90 days before the date of your application. You must show that the required amount was in your account(s) at all times over this period.

    For more information on UK Post study work visa, visit ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/working/tier1/poststudy/eligibility/

  • USA

    Optional Practical Training (OPT)

    International students in the U.S. in valid F-1 immigration status are permitted to work off-campus in optional practical training (OPT) status both during and after completion of their degree. Rules established by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) govern the implementation of OPT, and all OPT employment requires prior authorization from USCIS and from your school’s International Student Office.

    You can apply for OPT after being enrolled for at least 9 months, but you cannot begin employment until you receive your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS and you have been enrolled for at least a year. You do not need to have a job offer to apply for your OPT EAD, and your OPT employment can occur anywhere in the US. Start early-USCIS takes up to 90 days to process your application-and make sure you work closely with your school's International Student Office. As with everything you will do while in the U.S., permission is based on maintaining lawful F-1 status and your International Student Office is there to help you maintain that status throughout your stay.

    General OPT Requirements

    • Employment must be “directly related” to the student’s major
    • Student must maintain lawful F-1 status
    • Student must apply for OPT before completion of all work towards a degree
    • Students who have engaged in 12 months or more of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) are not eligible for OPT
    • OPT is permitted for up to 12 months full-time in total - part-time OPT (while still in school) reduces available full-time OPT by half of the amount of part-time work (for instance, if you work part time for 6 months, you can work full-time for up to 9 months)

    Students can be authorized for 12 months of OPT for each successive level of degree achieved - for instance, you can do 12 months of OPT after receiving your undergraduate degree, go back to graduate school, and then do 12 months of OPT after receiving your graduate degree. Pre-completion OPT (students are still in school) and post-completion OPT (students have completed their degree) each have different rules:

    OPT before completing a degree:

    • Students must be enrolled in school full-time
    • Students may only work 20 hours per week while school is in session
    • Students may work full-time during summer and other breaks (as long as the student will return to school after the break)
    • Student may work full-time after completion of all coursework, if a thesis or dissertation is still required and student is making normal progress towards the degree

    OPT after completing a degree:

    • After completion of your degree, OPT work must be full time (40 hours / week)
    • All OPT must be completed within 14 months after completion of your degree
    • Applications for post-completion OPT must be received by USCIS before the completion of the degree

    One final note - be mindful of the travel regulations governing F-1 students on OPT. If you leave the country after completion of your degree, but before receiving your EAD and obtaining a job, you may not be readmitted. You can leave the country after completion of your degree if you have your EAD and a job, but make sure you bring everything that you'll need to get back in (including valid passport, valid EAD card, valid F1 visa, all your I-20s with page 3 endorsed for travel by your international student advisor within the past 6 months, and a letter of employment, including dates of employment and salary).

  • Singapore

    To work in Singapore after your graduation, you must obtain a work-permit.

    Work-permit isn't guaranteed to all graduates. If any employer wants to recruit you after your graduation, they will apply for Work-permit or Employment pass to Ministry of Manpower in Singapore. Officials will review your application for Work-permit and grant you a work-permit if you satisfy all the requirements.

  • Germany

    The German government has adopted a bill that provides sweeping measures to facilitate brain gain. Besides implementing the EU directive on entry and residence of third-country nationals for highly qualified employment, the bill will introduce the EU 'Blue Card' as a new work and residence permit.

    Some of the provisions of the bill have better prospects of gaining residency for foreign graduates of German universities, including lower income requirements to enable highly qualified specialists to acquire a permanent settlement permit, and a simpler temporary residence permit procedure for researchers.

    The new law will grant foreign graduates of German universities unrestricted access to the job market in their search for a post that fits their qualifications. After completing their studies, they can work in Germany for one year in any capacity to secure a livelihood. The previous restriction to a 90-day period has been abolished.

    The bill lowers the income level required for granting a permanent settlement permit to highly qualified specialists and senior staff, a move which the German Ministry of Education & Research (BMBF) has long advocated. The minimum annual income is now 48,000 Euros instead of 66,000 Euros.

    The proposed legislation will also improve the application procedure for residence permits granted to researchers. The admission agreement signed by the researcher and the research institution must no longer identify any specific research project. In the past, research institutions were reluctant to name projects for fear of disclosing proprietary information.

    The EU Blue Card to be introduced by the directive on entry and residence of highly qualified workers seeks to limit brain drain in the EU Member States by facilitating the admission of highly qualified third-country nationals and their families. A simplified residence and work permit procedure and attractive residence conditions for highly qualified workers will be put in place. One specific measure is to issue the EU Blue Card for a period of up to four years. The income requirement has been set at 44,000 Euros and at 33,000 Euros in understaffed professions (such as MINT and ICT or medical doctors). After two years of employment that is subject to compulsory insurance, Blue Card holders become eligible for a permanent settlement permit.