Post-Study Work Visas: 5 countries to Work in After Graduation

A man and a woman shaking hands with papers in front of them

Did you know that some countries allow international students to stay after graduation and get a full-time job? You would just need to look at the rules for the post-study work visas in each destination and apply! 

This is a great opportunity for you to think about your long-term goals and start working in a destination to gain work experience abroad as early as possible.

Take a look at these popular countries that offer work permits with the full details below! 😉

#1 USA

Being consistently ranked as the world’s most popular student destination, the USA has great post-study work opportunities for international students, particularly within the fields of science, engineering, liberal arts, and business.

If you want to develop your real-life skills and stand out to employers, working in the USA after graduating is a great option because of its competitive job market. To do so, you would have to apply for a post-study work visa, which is called Optional Practical Training (OPT).

With this visa, the job that you apply for has to be related to your field of study so that you can deepen your knowledge and gain relevant skills.

You can even do the OPT twice, after an undergraduate degree and again after a graduate degree! Plus, you can work multiple jobs during each OPT period and even use it to start your own business.

Unlike the other typical work visas, with the OPT you won’t even need to have a job offer already to apply. Check out the requirements below to see if you’re eligible for it.

Requirements for the Optional Practical Training (OPT)  in the US:

  • If you hold an F-1 visa and completed a program at a university in the USA for at least 1 year, then you can apply.
  • You also need to find a job within 90 days of the OPT start date.
  • The main thing that you will need is an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from (USCIS) before you start work.
  • Be physically present in the U.S. when you mail your application.

Remember that the international student services team at your university can help you with when and how to apply for OPT and your EAD. 

Duration of the Post-study work visa in the US:

You can work in the USA for 1 year. However, if your degree is in a STEM area, you can apply to extend your OPT by 24 months. So, you might be able to work for 3 years in total! 

The main STEM areas eligible for the extension are:

  • Actuarial Sciences
  • Biological Sciences
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Engineering
  • Engineering Technologies
  • Life Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Physical Sciences
An image of Montreal, Canada landscape in Autumn season

#2 Canada 

Canada is also among the best destinations that give post-study work visas with many benefits! 

The visa is known as the Post-graduation Work Permit (PGWP) and allows you to stay in Canada and work full time after you complete a certificate, diploma, or degree that is at least 8 months in length.

A PGWP is a great way to practice what you have learned at your university, develop your goals, and gain Canadian work experience

With this work permit, you can get a job in any occupation you want, even if it’s not related to your studies, and can be full-time or part-time work. 

After you get your diploma, transcript or official letter from your school, you can apply for the PGWP by submitting an application package online. It must be as early as possible, as you have only up to 180 days to apply.

With at least 1 year of work experience, you might be qualified for a permanent residency (PR) in Canada, you can check the options on the government’s website. With a PR, you can apply for Canadian citizenship after 3 years and reside there forever! 

Requirements to apply for the Post-graduation Work Permit in Canada (PGWP):

  • You have to complete a program in a recognized Canadian institution that lasts at least eight months and leads to a degree, diploma, or certificate.
  • You didn’t take time away from studies, except for the scheduled program breaks, such as winter break or summer break.
  • You are a full-time student –  except for the final semester, which can be part-time, or if you took (…) this doesn’t include your final semester, which can be part-time, or if you took an approved leave from your studies.

Duration of the Post-graduation Work Permit in Canada:

The length of the work permit ranges from a minimum of 8 months to a maximum of 3 years based on the official length of your program. 

#3 UK 

Being home to some of the world’s best universities along with the post-study work visa benefits, the UK became a very attractive spot for students! 

With the Graduate Route Visa, you can choose any job you want according to your skills. Also, switching jobs multiple times to find good pay is totally fine.

One really huge advantage would be that when your PSW visa is about to expire, you might be able to extend your stay by applying for a “skilled worker visa” which stays valid for 5 years and after that, you can apply to stay in the UK permanently!

In 2019, the government announced a modification to their post-study work visa (PSW) by extending the period from four months to 2 years.

Requirements for the Graduate Route Visa in the UK:

  • You’re enrolled to study a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree, or other eligible courses in a recognized university. 
  • You have to receive a letter from your institution that says you completed your course and then you can successfully apply online.

 Duration of the Graduate Route Visa in the UK:

A Graduate visa lasts for 2 years for graduates. If you have a Ph.D. or other doctoral qualification, it will last for 3 years.

Auckland, New Zealand morning city view

#4 New Zealand

New Zealand has an excellent education system, supportive community, and is the third most beautiful country in the world. For that reason, many students fall in love with this destination and often want to stay longer after graduation. 

The good news is that you can! The post-study work visa in New Zealand is for all recent graduates who have successfully completed their qualifications in New Zealand. 

It allows you to work for any employer and get any job you want there.

If you are interested in fields such as Hospitality, Tourism, Food Science, Management, and Agriculture, then New Zealand is the ultimate work destination for you, and your chances of finding a job are very high! 

Requirements for the post-study work visa in New Zealand:

  • Your qualification must be Level 4 or higher.
  • You have to complete at least 60 weeks of study. Or, you can also enroll in two different types of courses that last at least 30 weeks.
  • The program must be in English.

The eligibility might differ depending on the nationality, you can check the bottom of the official website to see if you meet the criteria.

Duration of the Post-study work visa in New Zealand:

The work permit can last from 1-3 years, depending on the level of education. 

For example, if you have a Level 7 Bachelor’s degree or higher, you get it for 3 years. If you have a Level 7 Graduate Diploma, it will last for 1 year. 

Check out how long you can work on a post-study work visa on the government’s website.

#5 Australia

It is one of the most popular countries that grants international students post-study work visas and is also extremely accepting and diverse, which makes it an ideal place both to study and work abroad!  

There are two types of work visas in Australia:

  • Graduate Work Stream: This is for graduates with skills and qualifications that are related to jobs listed in the skilled occupation list. These occupations are in demand in the Australian labor market. 
  • Post-Study Work Stream: This is more common among international students; it is for recent graduates from an Australian university, regardless of the field of study. 

For both visas, you have to apply within 6 months of completing your program. You’re also allowed to bring family members with you!

If you are going to study Bachelor’s or Master’s and want to pursue the post-study route in Australia, you have to be mindful when choosing your field.

For example, if you are looking to study Actuarial Science, Agricultural Science,  Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, Systems & Networking, Mechanical Engineering, etc…Then these fields are in demand and the post-study work permit process will be easier for you!

Sydney Opera house in Australia

Graduate Work Stream requirements in Australia:

  • Have held a student visa in the last 6 months and under 50 years old.
  • Have a degree relevant to an occupation on the skilled occupation list.
  • Submit proof of evidence of adequate health insurance documents.
  • Prove that you have the required level of English with the application.

Check the conditions and other rules on the Australian government website.

Duration of the Post-study work visas in Australia:

Graduate Work Stream holders can usually stay up to 18 months. (Temporarily increased to 24 months). 

If you have a Post-Study Work Stream, you can stay between 2-4 years, depending on your qualification.
Did you enjoy this content? If so, share it with your friends so they can know about post-study work visas opportunities and benefit as well! 😉


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