Post-study work visa opportunities

Overseas-education | 31 Jul 2020

Overseas study destinations like the US and Australia are offering work visa for international students to scale their career ladder and realise their dreams of emigration.

Studying abroad is the preferred choice of many Hong Kong students and parents. Apart from the wider range of courses available overseas, receiving education abroad can also broaden one’s perspectives. Another advantage to international students is that they can apply for the graduate visa to remain in the host countries to live, study or work after finishing their studies. It not only enhances the competitive edge for the graduates to enter the local workforce, but also paves the way for future immigration if one wishes. Here are some of the top study abroad countries favored by Hongkongers.

The United Kingdom

According to the newly announced Post-study Work Visa in the UK, those who study a bachelor’s degree or above in the country can apply for a 2-year graduate work visa after graduation. International students can look for work during the two-year period while the visa is valid, and apply for the Tier 2 Work Visa before it expires to extend their stay and work duration. A benefit of the scheme is that graduates are given ample time to search for work in order to obtain the Tier 2 Work Visa. If they have worked in the UK for more than 5 years, they can even apply for permanent residence.


International students can apply for the Temporary Graduate Visa – Subclass 485 after graduation to stay in Australia for work or further study. The 485 visa consists of two types: the Graduate Work Stream temporary visa for one and a half years, and the Post-study Work Stream temporary visa which lasts from 2 to 4 years. Their requirements differ and applicants can select according to their needs, but each graduate can only apply once. Once the 485 visa is successfully obtained, applicants can work in Australia, enroll in vocational courses, or obtain the community language points via taking the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI), which will help accumulate immigration points and open the doors for future immigration to Australia.

The United States

Two types of work permits are available for graduates to stay in the US to secure employment: the CPT Visa or OPT Visa. The former requires applicants to undertake professions associated with their study discipline, while the latter has a relatively lower threshold and does not impose such restriction. The approval period for both is around one year, but may vary depending on specific discipline. In addition, there are opportunities to apply for the visa in each academic level of bachelor, master, doctor, and so on; but it is restricted to only one application for the same level.


Canada’s post-study work visa for graduates features comparatively lower requirements. Students are required to take courses between 8 months and 2 years before they are eligible to apply. While graduates of certain designated learning institutions are eligible for the Post-graduation Work Permit (PGWP), the Open Work Permit and Employer-specific Work Permit are also available. The visa period can be as long as 3 years, and it allows for more than one application. The work experience gained while working may help one qualify for permanent residence in Canada.

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