Post-study work rights (PSWR) are a temporary visa facility that allows international students and overseas graduates to remain in a country to study and/or work after they finish their initial program. PSWR typically lasts two to five years after completion of studies. However, the length depends on the limits set by the country. For example, a post-study work visa in Australia can last four (Bachelor’s Degree graduates), five (Master’s degree graduates) or six (Doctoral degree graduates) years.
Benefits of post-study work rights for international students
Getting a post-study work permit is a great idea for international graduates who wish to gain practical experience and expand their professional network in the country in which they finished their educational program. Let’s break down the benefits that can be enjoyed with PSWR.
A post-study visa allows international students to earn money while working in a career adjacent to their field of study. This allows them to gain valuable working experience, enhancing future job prospects while giving them insight into their chosen industry.
PSWR gives people the chance to expand their professional network. Those with post-study work visas can work and connect with different individuals in a field. This opens up opportunities to build a solid career foundation. These relationships can also be helpful when they opt to venture out in the future.
For many international students, a post-study work visa is the best pathway to stay in a country long-term since it can lead to permanent residency or citizenship.
Eligibility requirements for post-study work rights
The eligibility requirements for PSWR will depend on the host country. Here are quick guides on post-study work in key study-abroad destinations.
PSWR in the US
The F1, M1 and J1 visas are the 3 different types of student visas through which one can apply for PSWR in the USA. The M1 and J1 visas give a grace period of 30 days to stay in the country. The F1 visa lets international students stay in the country for up to 12 months after completing their studies. It’s the most convenient way to apply for a post-study work permit.
F1 visa holders are eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). This allows them to stay and work in the USA for an entire year in temporary employment directly related to their major area of study. A student can receive OPT employment authorisation before (pre-completion) or after (post-completion) he or she completes their studies. Application for pre-completion OPT can be done after receiving full-time enrolment in a certified educational institution (with a course duration of at least 12 months). Once authorised, eligible applicants can work part-time for a maximum of 20 hours per week as a student and full-time during the holidays. Application for post-completion OPT is only available after a program is finished.
Students who hold a degree in STEM courses from an accredited university can also apply for an OPT extension within 1 year. Those who didn’t finish a STEM degree but wish to extend their OPT can use a past degree from a USA school of higher education. However, they must not already possess an OPT extension for that. Additionally, their job opportunity must align with that field of study. They must also work for an employer enlisted in the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) e-verify employment eligibility verification program.
PSWR in Canada
The post-graduation work permit program (PGWP) allows students to stay in Canada to gain work experience, which can support one’s application for permanent residency. To obtain post-study work rights in Canada, a candidate must:
- have graduated from an eligible Canadian designated learning institution (DLI)
- currently hold valid temporary status or have left Canada
- submit evidence of completion of an academic, vocational or professional training program from a DLI that’s at least eight months in duration leading to a degree, diploma or certificate
- show proof that you have maintained full-time student status in Canada during each academic session of your program (with exceptions concerning a leave from studies or the final academic session)
- give evidence that you have received a transcript or an official letter from the eligible DLI confirming that you’ve completed the requirements of your program.
Within 180 days of the date of application for a PGWP, the applicant must also either hold a valid study permit, have held a study permit or have been authorised to study in Canada without the requirement to obtain a study permit.
PSWR in Australia
PSWR in Australia is classified under the Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485). It’s available for international students whose visas are about to expire but who want to work to resume their stay in the country. To be eligible for PSWR in Australia, a student must:
- be under 50 years old
- have applied for and have been granted your first student visa on or after 5 November 2011
- hold an eligible visa and have held a student visa in the last 6 months
- have a recent degree in a CRICOS (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students)-registered course
- have evidence of adequate health insurance during the application
- provide evidence that you have applied for an AFP check during the application
- comply with English language proficiency requirements.
The list of eligible occupations, qualifications and courses is based on skills shortage. Officials monitor and review it annually to reflect changes in the labour market.
Under the Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485), there are two types of PSWR: the post-study work stream and the graduate work stream. The post-study work stream is the most used. It allows fresh graduates to stay and work in Australia for two to six years. The graduate work stream is for students who have successfully graduated from an Australian university or college. It allows them to live, study and work in Australia for up to 21 months (or up to five years for British National Overseas or Hong Kong passport holders). It also permits them to bring immediate family to stay with them in the country.
PSWR in the UK
The Post Study Work (PSW) or Graduate Route visa in the UK is open to international students who have completed an eligible course of study at a recognised institution. They must also be able to show that they can support themselves financially during their stay in the country. One can apply for a UK post-study work visa if they:
- presently reside in the UK
- currently hold a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
- studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible course for a minimum period (at least 12 months if your course is longer than a year or the whole term if it’s shorter than 12 months) with your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
- have an education provider (i.e. university or college, which must be a licensed sponsor with a “track record of compliance”) that has confirmed their course completion to the Home Office.
A person who completed a degree in a non-English language may also need to take up IELTS and score within the band of 6.5 in each of the exam’s four components.
A candidate is also eligible for PSWR in the UK if they have completed any of the following:
- a law conversion course approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority
- the Legal Practice Course in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland or a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland
- the Bar Practice Course in England and Wales or the Bar Course in Northern Ireland
- a foundation programme in medicine or dentistry
- a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), or
- a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE).
PSWR is also available to those who passed a course that made them eligible for work regulated by UK law or a UK public authority.
PSWR in Ireland
After graduating with a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree in Ireland, one can get a post-study work permit to remain and work in the country. To be eligible for PSWR in Ireland, an applicant must:
- have obtained your degree or term of study from an accredited Irish university
- have written confirmation from your educational institution that you’ve completed your course of study
- hold a valid stamp and two student visas
- have complied with laws of the state while studying
- have at least two more years of studying left (international students can enrol in courses in Ireland for up to eight years).
There are three available post-study facilities available: the Critical Skills Employment Permit, the General Employment Permit and the Internship Employment Permit. Each comes with its own set of eligibility criteria. Let’s dive deeper into the types of PSWR permits.
Critical skills employment permit
The critical skill visa is granted to people who obtain employment on Ireland’s skill shortage list. To be eligible for this permit, the candidate’s employer must be licensed in Ireland, must have a confirmed two-year job offer (or have been with your current business for at least a year) and should be receiving a minimum base remuneration of 32,000 EUR per year.
General employment permit
The general employment permit lets one work anywhere in Ireland as long as it’s not on the list of ineligible occupations, pays a minimum of 30,000 EUR annually and has qualifications or experience following the Labour Market’s need test (12-month contractual work is eligible). This permit is valid for two years and can be extended for three years. If the applicant has reached five years of work and stays under it, he or she can file for permanent residency.
Internship employment permit
The internship employment permit is for full-time students enrolled in an Irish institute who wish to apply for an internship. With it, a person may apply and work for a business after completing their Master’s degree. The job should be on the Critical Skills Employment/Occupations list. It must also be adjacent to their course of study, with a salary that’s at least national minimum pay. Once the internship is finished, the student must leave the state and return to the institute to complete their education.
Offering pathways to PSWR
PSWR is a great opportunity for international students to gain professional experience, build a network and launch a career in the country where they studied. It’s also a convenient way towards permanent residency if one would like to remain in their host country.
To know more about your options for PSWR and our partner institutions in the US, Canada, Australia, Ireland and the UK, check out the GSP platform or reach out to our Business Development Managers today!