The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has recently announced that it will close the Post Study Work route to new entrants from April 2012. The closure of Tier 1 (Post Study Work) has been expected for some time so it will come as some comfort to current students and graduate employers that the route is to remain open for another year.

Tier 1 (Post Study Work) is available to those who have graduated from a UK university within the 12 months before they apply and allows graduates to spend an additional two years in the UK after the end of their studies. Post study workers can take any employment, self-employment or spend time looking for work and have an easier route into Tier 2 (General) once they find a job with a registered Tier 2 sponsor.

As a replacement arrangement, from April 2012 graduates of UK universities will be able to switch into Tier 2 (General) without their future employers having to complete a resident labour market test by advertising their role. Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) for these graduates will also be exempt from the immigration limits.

The Post Study Work route has been an attractive option for UK-based graduate employers who can consider taking on overseas graduates of UK universities for two years before needing to obtain sponsorship for them. The closure of this option forms part of the government's tightening up of the student visa regime.