The basics
Study abroad : Career Prospects

Working abroad after your studies

We explain the post-study work options for Filipino students



There are three main types of work visa you can apply for after completing your course of study in the UK, but most graduates will require a Tier 2 (general work) visa. You must apply for this visa before your student visa ends, i.e. no later than four months after your study period is completed.


You are allowed to work full-time while the Home Office processes the application. In order to apply under Tier 2, you must meet all the following requirements:

  • Your employer must have a Tier 2 sponsor licence
  • Your job must have a particular skills level
  • There is a minimum wage level of £20,800 (£20,500 if your certificate of sponsorship was issued before 6 April 2015), though this depends on the job and can be higher
  • Usually the job must have been advertised as required by the Home Office, but most Tier 4 students who have graduated recently are exempt from this advertising requirement (resident labour market test)
  • You have to prove that you have English language skills, which you meet if you have a UK degree, and meet maintenance requirements
  • If you want to, or must, apply outside the UK, or if you apply in the UK and you have immigration permission as a Tier 4 partner, your job must score a minimum number of points

You can read a full list of requirements about Tier 2 and other visas on the UKCISA website.



There are many types of work visas available to international graduates in the USA, making the application process rather complicated.


The first step for most F-1 visa holders is to obtain an Optional Practical Training licence (OPT). This is granted to you after graduation by a representative of the US government – the Designated School Official, or DSO – who should have an office on campus.


The OPT allows any postgraduate to work in the US as a paid intern at a relevant company. The OPT lasts for one year and has to be completed by 24 months after graduation. The OPT can be extended by 17 months (for a total of 29 months) for certain STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) students.


After obtaining employment, your visa type should change from an F-1 to an H1b, which will allow your employer to apply for a permanent residency card on your behalf. However, your employer is not obligated to do this, and often you will have to spend a few years gaining experience and refreshing your temporary work visa until you’ve gained enough trust for your employer to apply for a green card.



If you are considering working in Australia after your study period expires, you’ll need to get a new visa. There are a number of options, so work out what best fits your situation.


If you completed a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree, you may be eligible for a Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa. This allows you to stay and work in Australia for 18 months, but only if your previous study period lasted for more than two years. Alternatively, a new employer may be able to sponsor you for a new visa – talk to their Human Resources or Recruitment staff.


If you want to stay in Australia independently of employer sponsorship for a longer term or professional career, you can submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect. You can find out more about your visa options at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.



Filipino graduates will need a work permit to work in Malaysia and need to find an employer who is willing to sponsor them and apply for this on their behalf. As many qualified Malaysian students graduate each year, international graduates will find that competition for job vacancies is high.


It is important for foreigners to follow the strict Malaysian immigration laws that exist if they want to work in Malaysia. The government is reluctant to allow foreign workers into the country, concerned that it will reduce the job prospects of Malaysian nationals. In most cases, if you wish to work for a Malaysian company, the organisation must be able to prove that a national is unwilling or unable to do the job.


Once you have a job offer, the company in question must then apply to the Immigration Department of Malaysia for a work permit, of which there are three: an employment pass, a professional visit pass and a temporary employment pass.


Each type of pass has its own criteria for acceptance, with a number of stipulations that must be met in order to qualify. Numerous documents are also required to apply for an employment pass, so to ensure your employer has everything they need, visit the Immigration Department of Malaysia website.


New Zealand

New Zealand’s immigration policies include a post-study work pathway for Filipino students who have completed a New Zealand qualification. This lets you find a job and get work experience in a field directly related to your studies, and makes it easier to apply for residence.


There are two types of work visa specifically for students who have completed their study in New Zealand:

  • The Post-study work visa (open). This gives you up to 12 months to find a job that is relevant to your studies
  • The Post-study work visa (employer assisted). This option lets you work in a specific job, which must be relevant to your studies, for two more years

If you want to stay in New Zealand for longer, you’ll need to find a job that is relevant to the qualification you achieved there.


If you decide you’re going to look for work in New Zealand, Seek, TradeMe and New Kiwis are popular job search sites. You should also check out the Careers New Zealand website, which has a list of online recruitment sites.


You can find a full list of requirements for both visas on the New Zealand government’s immigration website.

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About Author

Stephen Palmer graduated from the University of Sunderland with a degree in Film and Media. Since then he has worked as a copywriter, proofreader and web editor. In his spare time he enjoys keeping fit, reading, playing video games and improving his Norwegian.