Top 10 Countries to Get Longest Work Permit After Graduation

With immigration, work permit and visa rules getting tightened everywhere, many international students are looking for countries that offer them a chance of landing a good job before/after completing a course.

In fact, getting a work permit after graduation is one of the most important factors that students consider when choosing a country to study. After all, anyone would like to gain international work experience and to recover a significant part of the study costs.

Importantly, being able to stay long in a country after graduation doesn’t guarantee employment. You need to search, apply, and pass an interview before getting employment abroad.

Having said that, in this post, you’ll learn the top 10 countries to get the longest work permit after graduation. Some of these countries allow students to stay as long as 3 years post-study.



1. United Kingdom

The UK is the second most popular destination for international students, after the US. It is also one of the top countries that offer longest work permit to international students after graduation.

Amid recent Brexit tensions, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson extended the period of time foreign graduates could stay in the UK to find work, from four months to two years. Students graduating from UK universities in the summer of 2020 and after are eligible.

The policy change aims to attract “the best and brightest” from across the world to study and work in the UK, according to a government statement. A number of European countries have made similar changes in the past year requiring a minimum post-study period of nine months for graduates seeking jobs.

2. New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the top countries where you can get the longest work permit after graduation. In recent times, lawmakers have increased the time recent graduates of certain graduate programs can seek a job and work in the country from one year to two or three years. Students graduating from non-degree programs can stay for up to 2 years. Bachelors, Masters and PhD graduates can stay up to three years.

3. The United States

In the US, foreign graduates can apply for a program called Optional Practical Training while on their student visas. It allows students to work in the US for 12 to 36 months depending on a student’s area of study.

More than half of the foreign graduates approved for employment specialized in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math fields, according to a Pew Research.

4. Australia

Graduates can stay in Australia for between 24 months and four years after studies depending on what kind of qualification you have. First, you will need a Graduate Skilled Temporary visa. To qualify for this visa you must be under 50, be in good health and be competent in English.


Additionally there is the Skilled – recognised graduate visa. This allows recent engineering graduates who are under 31 to gain 18 months of skilled work experience within Australia.

5. Germany

Upon completion of any program at the top German universities, the student’s residence permit also expires automatically. Students need to apply before the permit for the duration of education expires, to be able to work after study in Germany.

Graduates from the European Union and the European Economic Area enjoy unrestricted access to the German labour market. Citizens of non-EU and EEA countries may extend their residence permit by up to 18 months after graduating to have the freedom to explore employment opportunities and career possibilities in the country.

6. France

To stay in France after graduating, non-European students must have a promise of employment or a work contract and be paid at least one and a half times the minimum wage.


Without the promise of employment, a foreign, non-European graduate may request for non-renewable APS – temporary resident permits valid for twelve months, while they seek employment in France. To do this, they must have a professional Bachelor’s or a Masters-level degree or be in the process of starting a company.

7. Canada

After you graduate from your program of studies, you may be able to work temporarily or even live permanently in Canada. You need a work permit to work in Canada. The work experience you gain while working may help you qualify for permanent residence.

If your program was more than 8 month but less than 2 years, your Post-Graduation Work Permit may be valid for up to the same length of your study program. For 2 years or more, a work permit may be issued for 3 years.

8. Hong Kong

To attract and retain talents so as to strengthen Hong Kong’s competitiveness and long term economic development, non-local students are welcome to stay after graduation. The Immigration Arrangement for Non-local Graduates (IANG) allows non-local fresh graduates to stay in Hong Kong for 12 months after graduation without any restrictions to seek jobs.

9. Ireland

Ireland recently initiated its growth strategy, “Ireland Educated, Globally Connected”, with an aim to expand its international education industry. Under this strategy, it intends to lure in more international students, and boost its revenue from international education. The Third Level Graduate Scheme allows non-EU/EEA students who have graduated from Irish higher education institutions to remain in Ireland for up to 24 months to seek employment.


10. The Netherlands

A change in permit rules in the Netherlands gave international students an extended period of 3 years to apply for their job search year (the so-called zoekjaar). With the Orientation Year for Graduates Seeking Employment you can spend up to one year looking for work in the Netherlands, and you can stay as long as you have that job. The Dutch government has taken several steps to attract and retain top international talent.


For international students who wish to get a longer work permit after graduation, I recommend you carry out extensive research. Get all the information about your preferred study destination, and its post-graduation work policy for international students. Gaining international work experience is one of the best thing you can do for yourself while studying abroad.


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