To immigrate to another country, you can go there to study with a student visa and after graduation attempt to find work and stay there to live. Student visas are given to students of secondary schools, colleges, universities, and vocational schools. After graduation, the student can obtain a work visa for an internship or employment. To get a student visa, you must first apply to an educational institution and receive a confirmation of admission. After obtaining a visa, a student can enter the country and apply for a residence permit.

Many countries allow students to work while studying, which reduces their living expenses. Often this requires special permission. Students may face restrictions like the number of working hours per week or the choice of the employer, for example, work only at the university or for a business located on campus. It is important to understand that your work will not provide you with a comfortable life abroad and will only serve as a part-time job to earn some extra money.

Countries for student immigration


CountryExamBachelor’s/yearMaster’s/yearOpportunity to workUniversities in the top 1000[0]
GermanyEnglish / German3240 USD / Free9330 USD / Free20 hours/week46
USEnglish30000 USD25000 USD20 hours/week157
CanadaEnglish / French29700 USD17700 USD20 hours/week26
AustraliaEnglish28000 USD28000 USD20 hours/week35
New ZealandEnglish27000 USD31500 USD20 hours/week8
SpainEnglish / Spanish13000 USD4300 USD20 hours/week27
PolandEnglish / Polish3240 USD3020 USD20 hours/week16
IsraelEnglish / Hebrew8000 USD4000 USDNo6
NorwayEnglish / Norwegian108 USD108 USD20 hours/week4
Czech RepublicEnglish / Czech3780 USD / Free4530 USD / Free30 days/year9
FinlandEnglish / Finnish / Swedish10800 USD / Free10260 USD / Free25 hours/week.9
ItalyEnglish / Italian4320 USD7560 USD20 hours/week34
The average cost of education does not include living expenses, meals, and medical insurance.

Best countries for graduate employment



CountryMin. salary/month[1] Average salary/month[2]Tax with a salary of 2,000 USDTax with a salary of 8,000 USDYouth unemployment rate[3]
Germany1,768 USD4,151 USD39.875%67.875%[4][5]6.2%
US1,257 USD 5,258 USD29.65–38.60%31.65–40.6%[6][7][- ]8.4%
Canada1560 USD4,071 USD25.61–47.31%36.61–58.36%[8][9][10]11%
Australia2327 USD4,446 USD32.5%37%[ -]11.7%
New Zealand1,963 USD[11] 3,527 USD17.5%33%[12]11.1%
Spain1,013 USD3,230 USD30.85–42.85%?38.35–49.85%? [13][14]34.4%
Poland581 USD2,426 USD45.71%45.71%[15][16]11.8%
Czech Republic561 USD2,247 USD26%26%[17][18]6.7%
Finland [19]3,709 USD33.78%–39.78%59.03–65.03%[20][21]16.8%

Stages of student immigration

Preparation for immigration should begin as early as possible because it is not limited to simply applying for a student visa. Applicants to a foreign university usually require a language certificate. It is advised to start preparing for an international exam at least six months in advance, depending on the level of language proficiency. It is necessary to choose a place of study and find the exact list of required documents and deadlines way in advance, in order to not miss the application dates. This is important because some study programs are accompanied by scholarship competitions, the deadlines for which often come earlier than ones for the programs. When the university enrolls the student, he/she receives an admission letter. From the moment you receive it, you can apply for a student visa. The process usually goes without any issues and takes from 1 week, depending on the country of immigration. After obtaining a visa, a student can enter the country and apply for a residence permit.

Preparation for student immigration

  1. Search for an educational institution and program;
  2. Acquire language proficiency of at least B2;
  3. Search for a source of funding / scholarship;
  4. Pass language and entrance exams;
  5. Translate education certificates;
  6. Wait for admission and receive invitations from universities.

Documents for admission to a university:

Obtaining a student visa

Obtaining a visa is the first bureaucratic procedure that every student must go through. At this stage of immigration, the host state decides whether the candidate is worthy to enter the country. Not only this is the most important stage of immigration, but also the most difficult one - to get a visa you need to provide more than a dozen documents that are correctly filled and translated into the country’s language and meet the requirements of the consulate. Here the candidate should be especially vigilant - the omission of even one required document will close the gates of the dream country because the host state must be sure of the immigrant's integrity. That is why you should not delay the preparation of documents or do it haphazardly. Visa processing can take a few days or weeks - you should submit documents early if you do not want to be late for the start of the academic year.

Documents for a student visa

  • Passport valid for the duration of the study (and for 3-6 months after);
  • Photos;
  • Confirmation of enrollment;
  • Evidence of funds to cover the trip, accommodation, tuition (bank statements, scholarship, etc.);
  • Sometimes a motivation and recommendation letters;
  • Other documents depending on the country.

Student visas in different countries

CountryVisaCostsConsideration period
AustraliaSubclass 500420 USD2–11 weeks
GermanyVisa D81 USD4-8 weeks
CanadaStudy permit114 USD2-12 weeks
USVisas F, M360 USD6+ weeks
New ZealandFee paying student visa235 USDUp to 2 months
SpainVisa D65 USDFrom 1 month
Czech RepublicVisa D43 USDUp to 2 months
PolandVisa D65 USD2–9 weeks
FinlandStudent Visa325 or 358 USD2 weeks
IsraelStudent Visa A/245 USD2 weeks
  • Provide a full package of documents in accordance with the requirements;
  • Show evidence of funds substantial enough to cover travel, tuition, and living expenses.

Life in the country after graduation

Often a foreign graduate can apply for a special work visa in the country where he received a diploma - a post-graduate visa. The purpose of such a visa is to give the graduate time to figure out what to do: find a job or start a business. On average, graduate visas are valid for up to 1.5 years, and obtaining them is the most convenient way to gain a foothold in the country after graduation. You can also apply for a visa for research or internships. Like a regular immigrant, a student has the right to apply for a work visa.

Ways to stay in the country after graduation


CountryMethodDurationCostEmployer invitationTime for consideration
AustraliaTemporary Graduate visa (485)18–48 months1,098 USDno4–5 months
AustraliaSkilled-Recognized Graduate visa (476)Up to 18 months268 USDno7–8 months
AustraliaTraining visa (407)Up to 24 months204 USDyesUp to 4 months
AustraliaResearch activities (408)Up to 24 months204 USDyesUp to 2 months
GermanyResidence permit for graduatesUp to 18 months64–113 USDno4–6 weeks
CanadaPost-Graduation Work PermitUp to 36 months194 USDno12+ weeks
USAPost-Completion OPT12–36 monthsFreeno3–6 months
USAWork Visa H-1B3-6 yearsFreeyes6 months
New ZealandPost-study work visa12–36 months340 USDno4-6 weeks
SpainChange in stay status3-60 months193[22] USDyes1-3 months
Czech RepublicEmployee card3-24 months44 USDyes2-3 months
PolandTemporary residence permit12 months103 USDno1+ months
FinlandResidence permit (degree in Finland)Up to 48 months399-626 USDyes1–4 months
  • Lack of work. In the past 10+ years, a number of European countries have faced the problem of unemployment - especially among the youth. The most difficult time the student will have in Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, and Finland[23].
  • A limited number of offers for foreigners. Full openness of the labor market is a risk for the state, as labor immigrants can leave its citizens without work. For this reason, governments introduce quotas and additional roadblocks for issuing labor visas to foreigners. In the USA, for example, the employer must prove that the immigrant worker will not cause the working conditions and salaries of other workers to deteriorate[24].
  • High standards. Some countries evaluate labor immigrants with a special test, on the basis of which they decide whether they need an immigrant or not. In Australia, for example, points are awarded not only for the candidate’s education and experience but also for the qualifications of the partner/spouse and even age: a thirty-year-old candidate will receive twice as many points for his age as a forty-year-old[25].
  • The possibility of discrimination. It is difficult to verify any bias of the employer against the nationality or origin of the candidate and how it influences the decision to accept an employee, but this possibility cannot be ruled out.
  • Devote the initial period to study. The search for work or internships should begin about a year and a half after the start of the studies at a bachelor's degree, or after 4-5 months at master's.
  • Start with a part-time job. Most countries allow students to work about 20 hours a week. Consider this not only as an opportunity to earn extra money but also the way to get your first work experience in the chosen specialty, get recommendations and make useful contacts.
  • Improve language proficiency and receive certificates as you master new levels.
  • Be a good student. To get a graduate visa, you need to demonstrate good results in your studies.
  • Immerse yourself in the culture. Not only it pleases the employer but also benefits the employee. Knowing the language of the country well, and respecting its customs and laws will make your life easier.
  • Integrate into the local community. If a person decides to connect his life with the country, the feeling of social belonging and interaction with others is paramount. This will not only save you from loneliness, but also help you receive important information on time and make new connections and find opportunities.
  • Get a job in an international company. Especially if it has an international team. This will help the immigrant to feel comfortable. Also, the risk of discrimination on the basis of nationality will be less likely.
  • Choose a profession that is in demand. In this case, one can rely not only on popular truths like "IT specialists are needed everywhere", but also on official statistics, like in Canada. In case of Australia, relying on such a list is not simply recommended, it is mandatory: ​​possessing a profession from this list is a prerequisite for obtaining a work visa.
  • Do not count on outside help.
  • Remember that obtaining permanent residence should not be the end goal of the student - the main thing is to study well, use professional opportunities and make connections.

Work after university in Australia

Main article Immigration to Australia
A temporary graduate visa in Australia can be issued only once. The application may include the partner and children. You can apply for a visa and get it online, but you need to be in Australia while doing that. There are several types of visas:
  • Temporary Graduate visa (485) Graduate Work Stream. This visa is issued for 1.5 years for those whose profession is on the Skilled Occupation List;
  • Temporary Graduate visa (485) Post-Study Work Stream. This visa is issued for 2–4 years (2 for bachelor's, 3 for master's and 4 for doctoral graduates) for those who completed a course from the Commonwealth Register for Institutes and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS);
  • Skilled–Recognized Graduate visa (476). This visa is issued for 1.5 years for graduates with an engineering qualification from the list of accredited institutions. A detailed description of qualifications and institutions can be found on the Australian Department of Home Affairs website.
On a graduate's visa, you can get a job and, with the support of the employer, start applying for an Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186), Skilled Independent visa (189) or Skilled Nominated visa (190). Registration takes 5-15 months. The cost of visas starts from 2,696 USD.
You can obtain citizenship after five years of living in Australia.

Work after university in Germany

Main article Immigration to Germany
A foreign graduate of a German university can apply for a residence permit for a job search for a duration of 1.5 years.
To do this, you must contact the regional office for foreigners (Ausländerbehörde) at least three months before the expiration of the student temporary residence permit, otherwise an extension will not be granted. With such a residence permit, a graduate has the right to open a business in Germany. Permission takes effect after passing the last exam at the university.
After a graduate gets a job, he can apply for a residence permit as a labor immigrant or receive a blue card as a highly qualified specialist. Permanent residence can be obtained either on the basis of a residence permit after 2 years of residence and work in Germany, or on the basis of a blue card after 21 months after its registration if the candidate speaks German at least at B1 level[26][27]. Permanent residence will cost 152 USD for employees, 226 USD for self-employed and 282 USD for blue card holders[28].
You can obtain citizenship after 6-8 years of living in Germany. Upon receipt of a German passport, you will need to abandon your previous citizenship[29].

Work after university in Canada

Main article Immigration to Canada
After graduating from a Canadian university, a student can participate in the Post-graduation work permit program (PGWPP), but only if this university is eligible for the program. Training should be full-time and take at least 8 months. Thanks to the professional experience that graduates receive in this program, they can immigrate to the country as professionals on a permanent basis. You can get permission to work on this program only once in a lifetime. You must apply for PGWPP at least 180 days before the end of the Study Permit. You can start working even before obtaining permission, but after graduation, if before that you had the right to work outside the campus without special permission[30]. Current information can be checked on the official website.

Education periodMax. post-graduate visa duration[31]
8 months - 2 years8 months - 2 years
2+ years3 years
Graduates from the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island can also participate in the Atlantic immigration program. If a candidate does not meet the criteria for obtaining a post-graduate work permit, he can use other opportunities for labor immigration, for example, the Federal Skilled Worker Program and Provincial Nominee Program.
In order to get a permanent resident card (PR card), a candidate must work for at least 12 months full-time after graduation. Detailed requirements are published on the Government of Canada website.
To obtain Canadian citizenship, you must spend at least 3 of the last 5 years in Canada[32].

Work after university in the USA

Main article Immigration to the USA
Foreign graduates with an F1 visa to the USA can take part in Optional Practical Training (OPT). It should coincide with the area of training. The internship lasts up to 12 months and up to 36 months for graduates with a degree in STEM fields. To complete the post-completion OPT, you must ask your school to recommend an OPT candidate and fill out an I-765 petition at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Documents can be submitted 90 days before graduation and no later than 60 days after. If a student has already completed an internship under this program while studying (Pre-Completion OPT), then the admissible duration of his stay in the country under the Post-Completion OPT program after graduation will be reduced by the period that he has already "spent".
After graduation, a graduate receives 60 extra days to determine further status. If the employer is ready to support him in obtaining a specialist work visa, the student will be able to stay in the country. A visa for H-1B specialists has a quota (65 thousand visas per year) and is issued to graduates of American universities with degrees of bachelor’s or higher. Master’s graduates in the United States have access to an additional 20 thousand visas[33]. You can work at positions that correspond to the qualifications of the candidate - you won’t be able to get a job like washing cars with a master’s degree in law. A visa can be extended for up to 6 years.
The quota is updated annually on October 1st, but it is depleted extremely quickly, so it is best to submit documents in advance and request a visa from that date. If you have already submitted an application for a work visa from October 1, after completing the OPT, the so-called F-1 CAP GAP EXTENSION should be obtained, which will allow you to stay in the United States until the decision to issue a work visa is made.

Obtaining a specialist work visa is a step towards getting a green card, although this visa is not considered "immigration": after obtaining an H-1B work visa, you can start the process of applying for a green card EB-2 with the assistance of the employer.
US citizenship can be obtained after 5 years of residence in the country.

Work after university in Spain

An experienced traveler may have the impression that Spain is extremely loyal to foreigners, but this rule applies exclusively to tourists. Spain has strict requirements for students who are studying in Spain and wish to remain in the country to work after graduation. In Spain, there is no special visa for graduates, but it is possible to "renew" your status in accordance with the new goals of your stay. To renew student status (modificación de la situación de estancia por estudios) for work purposes it is needed to fulfill certain requirements:
  • Consecutive living/residence in Spain for three years (one year for entrepreneurs). Two years spent studying for Master’s won’t be enough;
  • Confirmation of the successful completion of studies / research;
  • Education received without the use of both private and state grants and scholarships;
  • The absence of a criminal record (which can be considered significant by Spanish law) neither in Spain nor in a home country;
  • Availability of job-related professional qualifications;
  • Filing an application for a change of status no later than 90 days before the expiration of a student residence permit;
  • An agreement signed with the employer that guarantees continuous work and meets certain conditions for employment; or
  • Evidence of funds / investments to open the business for entrepreneurial activity; or
  • A research agreement signed by the employer.
To change the status of your stay, depending on the purpose, you need to inquire for detailed information about the documents and duration of consideration. You can do this on the official website in the section "Status Change" (modificación de autorización). In the process of updating the status of a student visa, you need to acquire an alien card.
An alternative for a graduate can be getting an EU blue card or registering for arraigo social status. It is intended for exceptional cases when a person living in Spain is deeply integrated into Spanish society and has relatives there, for example, a spouse. To do this, you also need an employment contract.
You can obtain permanent residence in Spain (residencia de larga duración) after five years of consecutive stay in the country (50% of the time spent studying or without work will also be taken into account). Blue card holders can obtain Spanish permanent residence if they have lived with the blue card in the EU for 5 years and the last two years in Spain[34]. The price of permanent residence is about 24 USD[35]. To obtain Spanish citizenship you need to live in the country for 10 years[36]. In Spain, dual citizenship is not allowed, therefore, according to the law, the previous citizenship must be abandoned.

Work after university in New Zealand

Main article Immigration to New Zealand
New Zealand provides excellent conditions for graduates of their universities: at the end of the university, you can apply for a post-study work visa, which allows you to stay and work in the country for 1-3 years depending on the degree, as well as apply for a work visa for your spouse / partner and give free education to minor children. You can apply for this visa only once, unless you complete another bachelor’s or higher degree.
After a post-study work visa, you can obtain a permanent residence in New Zealand with a skilled migrant category resident visa. It is necessary to score a minimum of 160 points in a test that assesses the age and skills of the candidate. In addition, you must already have a job or a job offer in New Zealand. The chance of getting a permanent work visa will be significantly higher if the candidate’s profession is on the official skill shortage list. Visa processing costs about 365 USD and takes 7–11 months. You can familiarize yourself with other options for work visas on the official website. Citizenship can be obtained after 5 years of residence in the country[37].

Work after university in the Czech Republic

In 2014 the Czech Republic’s residence permit for employment purposes has been replaced by an employee card that allows you to live and work in the Czech Republic. The card can be obtained on the basis of a diploma of education and a contract with the employer. You can even work in several places - the main thing is that your working time has to be at least 15 hours a week. An application for card renewal can be submitted no later than 120 days before the expiration date. Highly qualified workers should apply for a blue card.
Permanent residence in the Czech Republic is issued after 5 years of consecutive stay in the country (50% of the time spent in the Czech Republic during training is also taken into account)[38]. Blue card holders can receive Czech permanent residence if they have lived with the blue card in the EU for 5 years and two of which in the Czech Republic[39]. Permanent residence costs about 67 USD[40].
Citizenship can be issued after a minimum of 5 years of residence in the country. Previously, dual citizenship in the Czech Republic was prohibited, but since 2014, foreigners no longer need to abandon their first citizenship[41].

Work after a university in Poland

A graduate can obtain a temporary residence permit in order to search for a job for a period of 1 year. Graduates of full-time programs at Polish universities are exempted from the need to obtain additional work permits during this period. After a job is found, you can apply for a residence permit as a labor immigrant.
Permanent residence in Poland is issued after 5 years of consecutive stay in the country (50% of the time spent in Poland during training is also taken into account). Blue card holders can receive Polish permanent residence if they have lived with the blue card in the EU for 5 years, two of which in Poland[42]. Permanent residence costs about 182 USD[43].
Citizenship can be issued after a minimum of 5 years of residence in the country.

Work after a university in Finland

A graduate of a Finnish university can obtain a Finnish residence permit if he has a job offer or to seek employment. And there is no time limit - you can apply for a residence permit even several years after graduation[44]. If necessary, the residence permit can be extended[45].
Permanent residence in Finland can be obtained after 4 years of consecutive stay in the country[46]. The cost is 215 USD, the review takes 1-2 months if submitted online and 4-8 months if submitted in person[47].
Citizenship can be obtained after 5 years of residence in the country[48].

EU blue card for employment


The EU blue card is a temporary permit for residence and work in one of the EU countries for highly qualified specialists. The blue card streamlines the process of labor immigration to EU countries - only the time of consideration, cost and some other conditions differ from country to country. On the other hand, the introduction of a blue card provides an influx of specialists with good qualifications that the EU needs. To receive a blue card you need to not only show high qualifications but also fulfill the minimum wage requirement, which each country sets on its own. The minimum salary under the contract should be at least 1.5 times the national average. Information about its size is most often published on official government websites, but is not always updated on time, so you should check the actual number yourself (for example, ask the consulate). With a blue card you can:

  • Work in the country that issued the blue card and move freely throughout the European Union, except for Ireland;
  • Change work after a certain time;
  • Get permanent residence after a few years.
More information about getting a blue card can be found on the official website.

Blue card in different countries


CountryValid forConsideration periodCostMin. salary by contract/year[49]
Czech Republic2 years3 months44 USD15,595 USD[50]
Poland2 years<2 months115 USD20,045 USD[51]
Italy2 years<90 days273.6 USD43,730 USD[52]
Spain1 year<45 days472 USD38,297 USD[53][54]
Germany4 years6-8 weeks124 USD47,220 USD–60,538 USD[55]
France3 years6-8 weeks294 USD60,234 USD[56][57]
Finland2 years1–2 months395 USD/ 621 USD64,134 USD[58]