Job Prospects for International Students in the UK
Written by: Anna Clarke (15writers)
One of the largest economies in the world, the UK is home to numerous cities which are widely recognised as international business hubs. Apart from diverse job sectors, the country boasts its good working conditions and an outstanding infrastructure making it a great place to work for ambitious graduates. As per UK council of international student affairs (UKCISA), the total number of international students studying in the UK during 2016 – 2017 was 442,375 which was 13% of the total number of students pursuing higher education in various UK universities.
With the unemployment rate of only 4%, the UK’s graduate labour market has successfully maintained its robust and steady nature. In spite of fierce competition for graduate jobs, the candidates holding right skills, experience and qualifications hold a good chance of getting their dream job in the UK. If you are an international student who is already studying at one of the UK’s prestigious universities or are simply considering to pursue your higher education in the UK, this article will help you explore various job prospects for international students in the UK and what steps you can take to increase your chances of finding your desired job.
Due to the strict visa regulations, the international students can only stay up to four months in the UK after the completion of their course. In order to extend your stay, you will need to switch to a work-related visa. As a graduate trainee, you can utilise the four months after graduation for finding a job that pays a starting salary of £20,800. Different visa options are available for international students who wish to work in the UK after graduation. However, advanced planning will help you act quickly and make the right choice. Below are some of the visa options which can help you extend your stay in the UK:
- Tier 2 (General) Visa
One of the most common ways for international graduates to work in the UK is by obtaining a Tier 2 visa. It is open to recent graduates holding a Bachelor’s, Master’s or a PhD from a well-recognised UK university. Before applying for this visa, a student must possess a skilled job offer from a licensed UK employer with a minimum salary of £20,800. Additionally, it also requires the employer to validate that even after advertising the job, they were not able to find an appropriate UK applicant to fill the position before offering it to an international student.
- Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa
An excellent visa option for young entrepreneurs, Tier 1 visa option can be availed by all international students who have developed an outstanding business idea. To obtain this visa, you must demonstrate a strong potential to start your own business in the UK and must get a sponsorship from an authorised UK university. No matter, from which discipline you have graduated, to be eligible for the Tier 1 visa, you must possess strong English language skills and a minimum savings of £945.
- Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme
International students from Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Monaco and Canada are eligible to apply for a two-year work scheme permit in the UK. Even if you moved back to your home country after graduation but are in the age group of 18-30 years, you can be eligible for the Youth Mobility Scheme. However, there are limited visa spaces available under this scheme and you will be required to have minimum savings of £1,890 to be eligible for this visa.
Although staying and working in the UK after graduation is a tough challenge, students can improve their chances of finding a good job by some advanced planning. With the right preparation and some hard work, there are high chances for students to secure an excellent job in the UK. Getting in touch with your university career office will also help you get the right advice to deal with a specific situation. Below are some tips which can help you improve your chances of obtaining a work visa in the UK:
- Part-time Job
In addition to the university degree, graduates need to gain adequate work experience to be successful in the UK job market. Due to the diverse job market, numerous job and work opportunities are available for students in the UK. As international students are allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week while studying, taking up a part-time job can be highly beneficial. Most of the universities also offer career and work placement centres to help students find a part-time job.
An internship is a great option for students who wish to effectively utilise their mid-term or term-end breaks. It also helps students to gain relevant work experience at top-notch organisations from different sectors. While work opportunities are available in every field, there might be a difference in the work duration depending on the type of organisation. No matter whether the internship placement is for a week or for several months, just grab any opportunity which comes in your way to increase your chances of getting a permanent position in the organisation.
If you really want to gain work experience and are willing to work without any pay, then you can consider opting for voluntary roles in the UK. Taking voluntary placements will not only help you develop your English language skills but will also allow you to give back to charitable organisations. The experience gained from such positions will be worthwhile and is also likely to boost your CV. If you do not wish to work for a charitable organisation, you can approach different companies and offer to volunteer in your preferred industry.
- Entrepreneurial Skills
Business knowledge and skills are not only limited to entrepreneurs. Employers value candidates who display various skills from and beyond their subjects. Various universities conduct different training programmes and seminars for students to improve their skill set. Proactive involvement in such training programmes and seminars will enhance your knowledge and will help you impress the potential employers.
“Job Prospects for International Students in the UK”
Anna Clarke is the owner of online writing company 15 Writers. She is a successful entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in freelancing, academic dissertation writing consulting, specializing in Business, Economics, Finance, Marketing and Management.