Ben James

Post study visa


Does anyone know for certain if an international student would/wouldn't be able to undertake a funded Apprenticeship on one of the new government 'post study' visas? Graduate route to open to international students on 1 July 2021 - GOV.UK (

I know the funding rules state that individuals are ineligible if they "are resident in the United Kingdom on a tier 4 (general) student visa unless they are eligible through meeting any other of the categories described in Annex A" but wasn't sure what category this new visa fell into? If we assume the potential apprentice does not meet any of the other categories within Annex A, would them having one of these visas mean they are eligible to receive public funds?

Thanks in advance! 


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Ray Davies

As I can't answer your question directly I will answer it obliquely, my experience of student visa's is that they don't allow the learner to complete the work element of an apprenticeship e.g. they restrict the number of hours the candidate is able to work. We decline on this basis. There is also the question of an NI number (or the lack thereof) which because of the above we have never had to get our heads around.

Melanie Aspinall

Ben James did you manage to get any further answers on this from the ESFA/other peers? We're receiving applications for learners with graduate visa leave to remain. I can't make any sense of it but again, as it mentions Tier 4 and that's ineligible, I would presume this would be the same? I do find this all very complicated and not particularly clear in the funding rules!

Steveh - you are the guru of residency eligibility in my eyes. What are your thoughts?



Ben James

I did get a response! They said; “If the leave stated on the biometric residence permit does not have any of the 3 specific types of leave or meet any of the other categories, then they would not meet this exemption. However, the apprenticeship service has not defined these categories, but these are taken from the the home office. We are also not experts on the different types of leave that could be granted or what is stated on the biometric residence permits. Therefore, you would need to check with the home office to see if this particular visa fits into any of the stated categories and if they can confirm it is, to keep this information as part of the evidence pack.”

Melanie Aspinall

Thanks Ben, that was a super quick response!

So I'm presuming that the 3 specific types of leave are discretionary, exceptional and indefinite leave to remain and they count as exemptions. Is that correct?

If our learner has leave to remain then, does that mean that that although their residence permit says graduate visa leave to remain, the leave to remain would take precedence and mean they are eligible? 

If you're not sure, do you know how I go about contacting the home office at all? Is there a web page?

Thanks Ben, you've been super helpful so far.


Ben James

That’s correct, yes (amongst the other types of exemptions from the 3 year residency rule covered in Annex A). There are a lot of permutations, but generally speaking if your learner has permission to live in the UK (in the form of leave to remain, right of abode, settled status etc.) and has been ordinarily resident for the last 3 years.. you’re generally fine. If they’ve not been ordinarily resident for 3 years, it’s much stickier as I’m sure Steve would agree, and you’ll need to refer to the exemptions list. If the exemptions list doesn’t give you the information you need, I’d suggest contacting the home office via the following link -

Melanie Aspinall

You're a star, Ben! Thanks so much for your help.



Well, it appears I'm not needed here ;)

It's all to do with the wording of P394:

P394 A non-UK national (with exception to those that fall into the categories above) is
eligible for funding if they have permission from the UK government to live in the UK
(not for educational purposes), and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at
least the previous three years before the start of the apprenticeship.

So, it's likely that anyone who has done a degree has been here for 3 years, but you'll need to check precisely when they arrived.

The other element from here:

Is that it's strictly time-limited and can't be extended, so I'd be wary about putting someone on an App longer than 2 years (or after whenever their Graduate visa end date is).

Melanie Aspinall

Steveh, you are truly fabulous also! That's good advice. Thanks!

Ben James

Always of benefit to hear from Mr Residency himself! Teamwork truly does make the dream work, or so I hear