How can I stay and become a permanent resident as an overseas student in the UK?

If you are in the UK on a Tier 4 student visa, then you currently have no way to stay permanently in the UK because you cannot count time on a student visa towards permanent residency.

If you wish to be able to stay after your degree, you will need to find a company to sponsor you for a Tier 2 work visa. If you have a degree from a UK university and are still in the UK on a valid Tier 4 visa it is easier to qualify for a Tier 2 than if you are not in the UK and don't have a UK degree.
If you can get a Tier 2 visa, you will have to spend 5 years on it before you can qualify for ILR (permanent residency).  However in order to stay permanently you will need to be earning at least £38,000 per year after those 5 years (that's the figure for 2021 I think).

Once you have held ILR for 12 months you could then qualify to apply for UK citizenship.

So to have a shot at staying permanently, you're looking at:
- 1 more year as a student
- 5 years on a work visa, after which you need to be earning £38,000+ (the average UK income is about £26,000).

See here for more information about Tier 2 visas: https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general/overview

(copied from post by ksand24 in our UK Visas discussion forum)

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