Tips for working in the UK after Brexit

Prior to Brexit, EU citizens enjoyed the right to study, work and live anywhere within the European Union, including the UK. Essentially, they enjoyed the same rights to study and work as British citizens.

However, studying and working in the UK in a post-Brexit world look very different. The rules have changed, foreigners now require a visa and they are faced with higher fees for accessing British education. Furthermore, there are important considerations for EU citizens entering the UK, such as healthcare and the rising cost of living. So, if you are considering working in the UK, it’s worth learning about the options and rights that are available to you.

How has the procedure for applying for a study or work visa changed since Brexit?

Since the launch of Brexit in Jan 2021, all EU nationals wishing to study or work in the UK are now subject to a different set of rules and must follow a different process. They now have to comply with the same set of rules as international students.

How does the UK student visa work?

We recommend visiting the site for more information on the UK’s student visa, and to check if you need a visa to study in the UK visit here.

Here is a breakdown of the process in simple terms:

  • Submit an application to the university of your choice, and wait for an unconditional offer
  • Once you have accepted the offer, you’ll receive a document titled ‘A certificate of Acceptance of Studies’, CAS
  • You can now commence your visa application, up to 6 months prior to the commencement of your studies. An application fee of £363 will apply and you’ll need to ensure that you have a valid passport. You can apply for a UK student visa here.
  • As part of your application, you will be required to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge which will give you access to the UK’s National Health Service. As a student you will be entitled to a 24% discount, thus the rate for a student visa holder is £470 per year
  • As part of the visa application process, you may be asked to prove your proficiency in the English language, and you’ll need to check the specific requirements of the institution to which you have applied.
  • Attend a visa interview
  • Your application will need to be accepted before you are permitted to enter the UK

How are UK student visa applicants assessed?

We recommend checking sites such as for clarification on how student visa applicants are assessed. Essentially, the application process is points based and you will be required to provide various documents to back up your application, such as your university acceptance confirmation.

EU students wishing to study in the UK will need to score 70 points by meeting the requirements set by UK authorities. 10 points are collected by proving that you are proficient in the standard of English required for the course you are applying for, and another 10 points are scored by proving that you can support yourself financially during your stay. The remaining 50 points are scored by providing relevant documentation, including your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies, proof of any relevant academic qualifications required to take your chosen course and confirmation that your chosen course will lead to an approved qualification. For more info on how the points-based system works visit here.

Remaining in the UK to work after you graduate

The UK offers a graduate route which enables international students to look for work after they’ve graduated and apply to stay in the UK for up to two years following the completion of their studies. If you have a PHD or another doctoral qualification, your post study work visa will last up to 3 years.

There are multiple visa options for those who want to work in the UK post Brexit, including the skilled worker visa and the graduate visa. More information can be found here.

You are eligible to apply for the graduate visa if:

  • You are based in the UK
  • Your current visa is a student visa
  • You studied a bachelor’s degree or post graduate degree
  • Your education provider has informed the Home Office that you successfully completed the course

Can I stay longer in the UK?

Unfortunately it is not possible to extend the graduate visa, but if remaining in the UK is your long term goal, you may be able to exchange it for a different visa, such as the Skilled Worker Visa. A Skilled Worker visa allows you to go to/remain in the UK and work for an approved organisation in an eligible job. If you are applying for an alternative visa you must do so before your student visa expires.

To check all the options that may be available to you, visit here.

Applying to work in the UK post Brexit as an EU citizen

Since the withdrawal of the UK from the EU in January 2021, an EU passport no longer awards EU citizens an automatic right to work in the UK. Now, any EU citizen residing outside the UK but who is interested in working there must apply for a UK skilled worker visa.

If you were an EU expat working in the UK prior to the 1st January 2021, and you had not applied for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, it’s likely you will also need to apply for a UK skilled worker visa.

Qualifications required for the Skilled Worker Visa:

  • You must be proficient in written and verbal English
  • You must hold a valid job offer from an employer who has been approved by the Home Office
  • Your future employer needs to issue you with a ‘certificate of sponsorship’
  • You need to know the salary you are being offered, and this needs to be within the Home Office’s minimum salary scale
  • If you have completed all the above, you can apply for the skilled worker visa up to three months prior to the commencement of your employment

It is possible that, after 5 years, you may be eligible to remain in the UK permanently. In which case you’ll have the freedom to live, work and study in the UK for as long as you like.

A simple guide to applying for a UK skilled worker visa:

  • Complete your application here, pay the visa fee (You can use this tool to work out the cost of your UK visa application) and schedule an appointment at a visa application centre. Your confirmation email will advise you what documents you need to bring
  • Provide your biometric information and submit the required documentation at a visa processing centre local to you, either overseas or in the UK
  • Attend a visa interview at a UK Embassy/Consulate
  • Wait for a decision. Your application will be assessed on the basis of how many points you have accumulated under the points-based system

Tips for increasing your chances of being accepted for a skilled worker visa

Pay attention to detail

Inaccuracies on the visa application form could result in your application being rejected. So take your time when filling out the form and seek help if you are unsure on anything. Check it over once complete and have someone else look it over for you, a second pair of eyes may catch things you may have missed.

Polish your English language skills

If the issuing administration predicts you facing a language barrier that could hinder your chances of success while working in the UK, this could lead to them rejecting your application. So, to improve your English-speaking skills in advance of your application, try the following tactics:

  • Find an English speaker to practice with, we recommend italki
  • Read the English news
  • Watch movies with English subtitles
  • Listen to audiobooks or podcasts in English
  • Study English with a tutor, we recommend First Tutors, MyTutor and superprof
  • Read books in English
  • Watch movies in English
  • To make language learning more fun, try using a gaming app such as Duolingo

Save, save, save

Living and working in the UK is not cheap. You’ll be expected to cover the cost of your visa, your living, accommodation and travel costs, and your healthcare surcharge. Bear in mind that, by law you will be required to show that you have sufficient funds to cover your expenses whilst living and working in the UK, for the entire duration of your stay.

Hone your interview technique

As part of the visa application process you will be required to attend an interview after your application and document submission with the UK Embassy/Consulate. The interview is used to determine if you are a genuine applicant and is a crucial part of the application process and can make or break your application.

Our best advice is to treat your visa interview just as you would a job interview and practice. You should attend prepared to answer questions about your educational history, your professional experience, your future aspirations, your personal and financial circumstances and your reasons for wanting to work in the UK.

Don’t attend the interview half prepared and come armed with as much knowledge as you can about your employer and your prospective position, why you want to work for this company, how you learnt about the organisation and why you were selected for this role. You could also contact our friendly team here at CY Partners who will be able to brief you on the types of questions you could be asked during the visa interview.

Finally, remain calm in the interview, speak clearly and think about your answers.

We understand that the worker visa application is a complicated and daunting process, so here’s how our knowledgeable team here at CY Partners can help you better prepare:

  • Based on previous experience helping candidates with visa applications, we’ll be able to offer tips and tricks for maximising your chances of success, both in the application and the interview
  • We can provide information about the organisation and role you are considering
  • We can ensure you prepare the proper documentation
  • We can direct you to the relevant government websites to help you find the information you need
  • We can put you in touch with other candidates we’ve helped find jobs in the UK
  • Improve your English-speaking skills in conversations with us
  • We can offer advice on how your chosen study path fits in with your bigger career plans
  • We can provide expert interview coaching and ensure you are ready to answer questions about how working in the UK relates to your bigger career goals and employment prospects
  • We can provide advice on career options that are available to you

To help you further, here are some additional resources that you may find useful:

Guide to finding jobs in the UK

Jobs resources for migrants

Check if you need a UK visa –

The best UK job boards in 2022

Career resources and advice

Work in the UK

National Careers Service

CY Partner’s blog

CY Partner’s News and Advice

For further advice on applying to work and finding a suitable job in the UK, how about speaking with one of our expert recruiters here at CY Partners, we’d love to hear from you.

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