How to Get Post-Study Work Permits in the U.K., Germany, and Canada

Do you want to study a Master’s abroad, but also want to stay in the country and work after you graduate? Then, there’s a pretty good chance work regulations in the country of choice will play an important role in your study decision.

That’s why we thought we’d compare the full-time work permit regulations to some of the most international study destinations in the world: Germany, the U.K., and Canada.

We’ll let you know what type of work permit you need to apply to, how much you have to pay for it, how much you have to wait to get it, how long it is valid for, and all while also comparing the different regulations for each of these 3 countries.

1. Where to study and what to study in Germany, the U.K, and Canada

Before you can get a job after studying abroad, you need to study abroad.

So, while we’re on this very important subject, you should know that some of the universities we recommend are:

But you can find many more universities and Masters in Germany, U.K., and Canada to compare and consider applying to, so be sure to check out:

2. Full-time work permit types in Germany, the U.K., and Canada

Now, let’s talk legislature! Yes, I know, I’m excited, too.

So, because Germany and the U.K. are in the European Union (one of them still is, at least), you should know that, if you’re from the EU/EEA, you won’t need a work permit after you finish your studies.

Still, if you’re a non-EU/EEA student, even in Germany and the U.K. you will need a work permit, just as in Canada.

The main things you should know are that, in the U.K., the work permit you should ask for is called Tier 2 (General) Visa (yes, it’s called a Visa, don’t worry), in Germany it’s called Temporary Residence Permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) or an EU Blue Card (and this is mostly for graduates of IT and STEM degrees), and, in Canada, you need a Post-Graduation Work Permit.

Apply to Masters in Germany, the U.K., and Canada

3. How long are the work permits valid for?

For each, the duration differs, so you should know that they need to be renewed once in a while. That’s why:

  • For the U.K., the Tier 2 Visa has a duration of 5 years;
  • For Germany, the Temporary Residence Permit has a duration of 1 year, and can be extended for 1 year, if the conditions are the same. After 2 years, you can directly apply for a Permanent Residence Permit;
  • Also for Germany, if you decide to go with the EU Blue Card, this card has a duration of 4 years, or job duration + 3 months. And, if you add up 33 months of work, you can apply directly for a Permanent Residence Permit;
  • For the Canadian Post-Graduation Work Permit, the duration is 3 years, but only if you completed an ‘at least’ 2-year degree.

And, if you’re interested, you should know that the U.K. also has a special permit for those who want to start businesses: it’s called a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur, with a duration of 1 year, but which you can renew for 1 more year after it expires.

4. Who can apply for a Work Permit in Germany, the U.K., and Canada and how do you do it?

Great news! You can apply to any of these permits after you graduate, while you’re still in that respective country. Woo!

Germany’s Temporary Residence Permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis)

In order to get this permit, you will need:

  • proof from the Federal Employment Agency that the job position could not be filled by a German citizen, an EU citizen, or priority workers;
  • a job offer that fits your qualification;
  • income below the minimum income for the EU Blue Card.

EU Blue Card for Germany

So, if you are a graduate of an IT or STEM degree, you qualify for this type of permit. The other conditions are:

  • a required German language proficiency;
  • a job that fits your qualification;
  • a job offer with a monthly gross salary of at least 4.234 EUR/month, or 3.302 EUR/month if you will be working in a high-demand sector;
  • confirmation from the Labour Department that your degree matches the job you are applying for, and that the job is in high demand.

U.K.’s Tier 2 (General) Visa

The general requirements you will need for this British work permit are:

  • a licensed sponsor who will employ you in the U.K.;
  • a standardized photo and fingerprints records;
  • proof of sufficient English skills;
  • proof that you have enough money to cover your stay in the U.K. (945 GBP/month);
  • less than 10% of shares in your employer's company, unless you will earn at least 159,600 GBP/year.

Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

Ah, Canada to the rescue, with only a few straight-forward lines!

Basically, if you want to apply, you will simply need:

  • a degree from an accredited university;
  • the intention to stay and work in Canada temporarily.

Literally, that’s it!

work permit Canada

5. When to start applying for your work permit?

For Germany’s Temporary Residence Permit and EU Blue Card

  • You have to start applying before the end of your studies, or in the first 18 months after graduation.

For U.K.’s Tier 2 Visa

  • You have to start applying 3 months before your first day of work.

For Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit

  • You have to start applying in the first 3 months after completing your programme, while your study permit is still valid.

6. Application fees for your work permit

  • For the U.K.’s Tier 2 (General) Visa, that’s between 446 and 1.354 GBP
  • For the German Temporary Residence Permit is between 75 and 150 EUR (including a medical check-up), while for the EU Blue Card is 140 EUR
  • For the Canadian Post-Graduation Work Permit, you’ll pay 255 CAD

7. The application process for a full-time work permit in Germany, the U.K., or Canada

Praise the internet! It saved us so many times in the past, it was obvious it was going to come to our aid, again. For these work permits, the application is available online, and if that’s not amazing to you, nothing is!

Still, beside the German Temporary Residence Permit, which you have to apply for at the Local Authorities (register your German address, get insurance from a German insurance company, open a German bank account to prove financial stability, apply from a local immigration office, and take a 10-minute interview), the rest of the work permits are done via internet connection, so to save you a few trips.

But it’s ok! Germany compensated with the EU Blue Card, where all you have to do is access a website (

Meanwhile, if you’re planning on going and working in the U.K., with a Tier 2 (General) Visa, know that you can apply online as an individual. If you meet the eligibility requirements, simply pay the visa fee and the health surcharge. After, you will have to give your biometric information, and you’re done!

And, for last, the sweet, sweet Canadians and their Post-Graduation Work Permit kept it simple: apply online, pay the fee, and wait for the answer. That’s it!

8. Waiting time after you apply for the work permit

Good things come to those who wait, and your work permit is no different. Now that you’re done with all the paperwork, you’ll have to have a bit more patience. The maximum duration you’ll have to wait for each country are:

  • The U.K. – 56 days max
  • Germany – between 14 and 21 days
  • Canada – 90 days max

Check out Masters in Germany, the U.K., and Canada

Hopefully, all this information will make it easier for you to decide which country fits your plans best for working after completing your studies.

So, good luck, and remember to have fun!

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