If you are an international student in the UK and looking for a job, I believe this post will help you. If you are a looking at to study in the UK, then you should definitely read this post on how to get a job in the UK as an international student.
It’s true that after the Brexit and scrapping of Post-Study Work Permit (2011), the UK job market is really hard for the international (Non-EU) students. But, getting a job in the UK is not at all impossible. More importantly, the number of job vacancies in the UK has gone up in recent times.
After finishing studies, you will have 4 – 6 months to look for a job. In the last few years, the competition has been very tough. Only 6 – 10 international students out of 100 have been able to find a job and switch to Tier-2 visa. So, you really need to be on your toes. You may need to look at the demand for jobs in the industry you’re trying to build a career in. For example, if your qualifications are in an industry with not many vacancies then you may need to rethink. On the other hand, if you want to do something like teach in england then there are always trainee teacher jobs popping up all over the place. You’re more likely to find a job if it’s in a skilled industry that has talent shortages.
I had to go through 50 odd rejections before securing my job in the UK. So, I pretty much know what it takes to find a job as an international student in the UK. So, let’s see how to get a job in the UK as an international student.
There are four aspects that you need to focus on for getting a job in the UK as an international student – making yourself employable, finding suitable positions, self-branding (personal branding), and the application process. As a UK alumnus (Aston University, Class of 2010), would like to share a few tips and tricks based on my experiences and advice from HR recruiters and recruitment consultants to help you with the job hunt.
Make Yourself Employable
Choose the Right University
Believe it or not, the employers do look at the university name. You don’t necessarily need to attend the best university in the UK. But, do focus on the top tier universities that have got good ranking in your subject area. This should be your first step to get a job in the UK as an international student.
For example, I had offers from two higher-ranked universities (overall ranking). But, I chose Aston University, which was among the top 20 in the UK at that time. One of the key factors of choosing Aston was among the top 5 in the UK in my subject area.
Quite a few faculty members and researchers at Aston had funding from AstraZeneca, GSK, Pfizer and other pharmaceutical giants. It’s very important to think about these factors while choosing the university.
Aston has also got a great employability rate the location was also perfect for my preferences. Yes, location does play a big role.
Develop the Valuable Skillset
Refine Your Domain Skills
If you need a job after finishing studies in the UK, good grades alone are not good enough. But, that does not mean you should study less for your coursework, dissertation, and exams. You will be primarily assessed on the basis of your technical (or domain) skills. So, having proper knowledge of domain-specific skills will be the obvious key.
Diversify Your Transferable Skills
Transferrable skills are equally important. Having sound knowledge of MS-Office (especially Excel & PowerPoint) is vital these days. Working knowledge of domain-specific software; say AutoCAD for Mechanical Engineering students. If you are from Finance background, CFA or FRM certification will be very valuable to your potential employers. Life science graduates should definitely work on the statistical software (e.g. SPSS, R, MATLAB, GraphPad Prism).
It’s also great to know a little about the programming language (C, C++, Java, HTML etc.). Get acquainted with Analytics and Digital Technologies.
If you are from IT background, do make the extra effort to learn R or Python. Spend some leisure time on foreign language(s), Adobe Photoshop or CorelDRAW.
Polish Your Soft Skills
Ask any employer what they look for in a potential employee. Attributes like communication skills, critical thinking, creativity, leadership, emotional intelligence are always highly sought after. Being able to convey your experience in whatever you have done will give any potential employer more information about yourself, just by reading your resume. It is all about giving the best first impression you can. A long list of soft and transferable skills can really help you to get a job in the UK as an international student.
Get Local Work Experience while Studying
An internship is the best opportunity to refine your technical skills and to gain an insight into the real world. You should also take your research project (dissertation) very sincerely. The employers take a good close look at the internships and dissertation projects of the candidates.
Your dissertation will play a key role in developing the core skills and also in your job search after graduation. Read How to Choose a Master’s Dissertation (Thesis) Topic for Improving Job Prospects.
Allocate some time for volunteering. If you are from life sciences background, volunteering for CRUK or BHF could be advantageous; likewise for engineering students – check out the activities of Shell, 3M, Vodafone, Reckitt Benckiser or BP. Community engagement is always useful.
Part-Time (Student) Jobs
Do take up a part-time job. Part-time jobs are very useful to get acquainted with the local work ethos, local culture, accent etc. They will help you with developing excellent inter-personal and people skills. Additionally, the extra money will be handy for you as well.
Find the Right Job Vacancies
It is very important you look for relevant jobs. More than anything else, it increases your chances of getting the job. If you studied chemical/process engineering, it is unlikely that you get a graduate job within the mechanical engineering domain. Likewise, if your MSc project was focussed around electrophysiology only, there is no point in applying for a job position that asks for molecular biology techniques.
University Career Services
You should get in touch with career advisers as early as possible to get your CV reviewed for the UK job market. It is also the best place to start looking for vacancies.
The Careers Service at all universities also stocks a directory called GET (Graduate Employment and Training) listing most graduate employers with vacancies. These days, mostly it’s online on the University Portal.
Job portals are very useful tools. Few good job portals are Reed, Matchtech, Monster, NewScientist Jobs, Jobs.ac.uk, Prospects.ac.uk etc. However, signing up for the job portals is not enough. You have to visit the portals and search jobs strategically. You have to apply on the websites of those advertised companies and/or recruiting agencies, rather than on the job portal sites directly. Do not apply to ten job positions on the job portal using the same CV and covering letter; that would be a waste of your time.
I would provide my example here: On the NewScientist Jobs, I had entered “Graduate + Pharmacology + Tissue Culture + Radiation” as keywords and got a list of around twenty vacancies. I had applied to first five of them (on their websites, and NOT on NewScientist Jobs), and I got interview offers from the first two.
Skills are useless if you don’t market them. Treat yourself as a Brand, and promote yourself wherever possible (including Facebook). You have to reach out to proper people, and the best available platform would be LinkedIn. You should make a habit of attending the Recruitment & Career Fairs. The fairs are attended by prospective recruiters and talent management coaches, who can help you with job hunting. With the rise of social media, any potential recruiter is able to find all your information just by using something as simple as an online phone book. You never know the sorts of people you can end up meeting through these networking events. Networking is not only important for getting to know about job vacancies but these skills would make you even more employable.
Recruitment agencies are very useful, as they are an excellent source of hidden-jobs. Besides, several big companies outsource the hiring process to the recruitment agencies.
Most of the recruitment professionals share their contact details on their LinkedIn profiles. Give them a call to discuss your profile and the kind of jobs you are looking for, and follow it up by emailing them your CV. There are a lot of recruitment firms in the UK. Few of the top ones are Reed, Blue Arrow, Michael Page, Hays many more. You should also try the agencies specialized in technical domains, such as Matchtech, SRG, SLS, Search Consultancy, Kelly Scientific, Key People, CK Science/Clinical, JAM, Levy, North Point, Reed Scientific, Paramount Recruitment.
Explore the Academic Jobs
The academia is also great sector to look for jobs. There are 40 odd research-based universities in the UK. So, if you are up for research work, do target the universities. Besides, universities also need people for other departments – Marketing, IT, Accounts etc. All the universities and few specific job portals (e.g. jobs.ac.uk) publish academic job vacancies regularly on their websites.
Last but not the least, it’s relatively way easier to get sponsored by the universities for your work permit and Tier-2 visa. If you look at my career track record, you will understand it.
Target the Proper Companies
Target those companies that are listed on the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) Register of Sponsors and who can offer you skilled employment in the UK. A Tier 2 visa is linked to a particular employer and job in the UK.
In order to work in the UK after the completion of your studies, you need to switch from Tier-2 from Tier-4 visa. As a Tier-4 (Student) Visa holder, there are few concessions:
- Your employer does not have to carry out the Resident Labour Market Test (this is to do with advertising the position)
- Your employer does not have to pay the Immigration Skills levy of up to £1000 per year of your visa
- You can get ‘unrestricted sponsorship’, which makes it easier to issue a CoS
- The minimum salary (£20,800 or industry minimum) is lower than other categories applying for Tier 2
- You can start working for your employer once your Tier 2 application is submitted (depending on your employer’s policies)
The top consultancy firms (PWC, EY, Deloitte, and KPMG) and large banks hire a greater proportion of international students as they always look for diversity in terms of academic backgrounds and nationalities. They have diverse job roles from consulting, tax, and audit to cybersecurity and technology and they are open to hiring students from all courses and backgrounds. So, definitely explore them. Know more about the UK Job Market 2018.
Self-Branding and Online Presence
This is something several folks underestimate. But, in today’s digital age, having a consistent and strong personal brand online can take you a long way. When you are looking for a Job in the UK as an International Student, personal branding could be your best weapon.
Personal branding has been very effective in my case in the past. It helped me to get a job in the past while beating 200 odd other resumes. Know more about .
Job Application Tips
Don’t wait for the completion of your program. You have to start applying at least 6 – 8 months before the end of your course.
Secondly, the majority of UK companies hire on a rolling basis i.e. they evaluate applications as and when they come in, instead of waiting till a set date and then looking at all applications. For most of the graduate vacancies programs starting in Sept 2019, the applications will open up in June 2018 or December 2018.
Finally, if you make an application to one of the consultancies or banks and fail at any stage (typically 6–7 stage process), you are not allowed to re-apply to that company for at least 6 months. So, please make sure your preparation is top notch and research/practice as much as you can.
The earlier you apply, the greater your chances are of securing a job.
Application Tips for the Advertised Positions
After identifying relevant vacancies, you have to apply directly to them. CV and covering letter are the most important components of a graduate job application. I assume you know how to make a CV and cover letter. You could get several templates for both on the Internet. Get advice from career advisers, tutors and recruitment consultants.
- No more than two pages for CV, and one page for the cover letter
- Include a personal profile including your educational background and domain-specific technical skills at the top (below your name and contact details)
- In the cover letter, just focus on two things in your own words – why are you interested in the job role, and what makes you perfect (or ideal) for the job
- Get your CV and cover letter proof-read by at least five different people (ideally your career adviser, supervisor, peer, recruitment consultant, and friend)
Application Tips for the Non-Advertised Positions
Another alternative could be an open application, which means writing a ‘pain letter‘ to a company that has not advertised a position. A pain letter is more or less like a traditional cover letter, but you pitch yourself for the positions that might arise in the near future. So, you need to do thorough research about a company, about their business and requirements. It might be possible that the company is actually hiring, but did not advertise any job positions. In that case, your open application would be a perfect thing at the perfect time. You need to send a targeted CV and pain letter to the hiring manager or HR Manager of the company.
- Read the job description carefully and do research about the company beforehand
- Send a short email to the HR person to inquire further about the job role, objectives etc.
- Be confident, calm and inquisitive (little nervousness is normal)
- Send a follow-up email within 24 hours of the interview; if you think that you could have answered a question in a better way, do it now
- Always ask for interview feedback, this can help you prepare for future interviews
It’s absolutely fine to choose USA, Canada, Australia, or any other European country for higher studies. But, don’t avoid the UK in the misconception that there are no jobs in the UK. There are jobs in the UK for the international students.
The UK is one of the best countries when it comes to quality teaching and training. Besides, the country is the home to some of the most prestigious universities on the planet that have been there for ages. Even for some people who are originally from the UK, they made the decision of looking into something like new homes in spartanburg sc and had to relocated to the States to pursue their dream career, it is a massive change. But it will all be worth it in the end regardless of where you choose to start your working life.
So, choosing the UK as your study abroad destination is definitely a good idea. But, you have to work hard in a lot of areas.
Good Luck and Happy Job Hunting!
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If you have a graduate visa, you have no need of an employer to sponsor you in a job. However, if you're planning to stay and work in the UK under a skilled worker visa or one of the temporary work visa options, you'll need to secure a job with an employer who is a licensed sponsor.Can I get a job as an international student in UK? ›
On an international student visa (Student route visa), you're able to work up to 20 hours per week during the term. Common part-time jobs for international students in the UK include: Receptionist. Retail worker.How can international students earn in UK? ›
If you are an international student and your study program will last six months or more, you will require a Tier 4 General Student Visa to work. This visa can enable you to work up to 20 hours part-time during the semester. During semester break, you are allowed to work full-time.Do international students need sponsorship for work in UK? ›
Temporary work – creative worker visa
You'll be required to have a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed sponsor before you can apply for the visa and you cannot use it to start your own business while in the UK.
- Programmers and Software Developers.
- Cyber Security Specialists.
- Health Services and Residential Care.
- Graphic Designers.
- Physical Scientists.
- Sales Assistant.
- Operations Manager.
If you work more than 20 hours in any one week you will be breaching your visa and this could prevent you from obtaining a new visa in the future or completing your studies. Your focus should be on your studies. The University of Liverpool recommends that all students work only 15 hours per week during term time.Can US students work in the UK? ›
Students on full time degree-level courses holding a Student visa are permitted to work in the UK. The requirements and rules are as follows: Up to 20 hours per week during University term time. UKVI has defined a "week" as "a seven day period starting on a Monday and ending on a Sunday"Can I work for 40 hours in UK as an international student? ›
A student visa issued for full-time degree level studies allows you to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week during term-time. This is a maximum of 20 hours in total in any one week, including paid or unpaid work and for one or more organisation.
The capital city, London, has the most job opportunities for international students in general.Is it harder for international students to get in UK? ›
Is it easier for international students to get into UK universities? Yes; most universities in the UK are very welcoming to international students and actually have a higher acceptance rate for international students than domestic ones.
|Wage band||Current rate (from 1 April 2023)|
|Age 23 or over (National Living Wage)||£10.42|
|Age 21 to 22||£10.18|
|Age 18 to 20||£7.49|
A Student sponsor is an education provider that can sponsor international students to study in the UK. Some types of institution (academies and state-funded schools) are not eligible to apply for a Student sponsor licence. Read the sponsor guidance to find out if your institution is eligible.Can a US citizen work in the UK without sponsorship? ›
If you are a US national and would like to work in the UK, you will need to secure a work visa before you travel here. In most cases, to secure a UK work permit, you will need a suitable job offer from a UK employer with a sponsor licence granted by the UK Home Office.Can an American work in the UK without sponsorship? ›
Non-UK residents require permission to work in the UK. In most cases, this means applying for a UK work visa.How many hours is full-time in UK? ›
There is no specific number of hours that makes someone full or part-time, but a full-time worker will usually work 35 hours or more a week. Part-time workers should get the same treatment for: pay rates (including sick pay, maternity, paternity and adoption leave and pay)What is the fastest way to get a job in UK? ›
- Find jobs that fit your qualifications. Don't rely on your existing CV. ...
- Tailor your cover letter and CV. With a tall stack of CVs to go through, hiring managers may scan yours for all of a few seconds. ...
- Ask for help from your network. ...
- Consider a temporary role.
- Veterinary medicine.
- Chemical engineering.
- Physics and Astronomy.
- Mechanical engineering.
- Computer science.
- Early Years Practice Lead. Red Bus Nursery & Pre-School3.6. ...
- Nights Warehouse Operative. Ocado Group3.0. ...
- Commis Chef & Chef de Partie. The Honingham Buck. ...
- Veterinary Surgeon. Avenue Vets, Malvern3.4. ...
- Veterinary Surgeon. ...
- Kitchen Assistant. ...
- Assembly Person. ...
- L2/3 Qualified Nursery Practitioner.
You cannot work more than 48 hours a week on average - normally averaged over 17 weeks. This law is sometimes called the 'working time directive' or 'working time regulations'. You can choose to work more by opting out of the 48-hour week. If you're under 18, you cannot work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week.How much a student can earn in UK per month? ›
The average salary for most of the part-time jobs in the UK is nearly £100-£200 per week, and if your skills are advanced, you can also expect a whopping amount of £300-£400 per week. Annually, you can even earn up to £4000-£7000.
UK Minimum Wage Per Hour Rates (April 2022)
For individuals age 23 and over, the revised minimum hourly rate will be £9.50. For individuals with an age range between 21 and 22, the revised minimum hourly age will be £9.18. For individuals with an age range between 18 and 20, the minimum hourly rate will be £6.83.
Can you switch from student visa to work permit? It is possible for students in the UK to switch to a UK work visa such as the Skilled Worker visa, provided they meet the eligibility requirements.Can a US citizen get Student visa in UK? ›
You can apply for a Student visa to study in the UK if you're 16 or over and you: have been offered a place on a course by a licensed student sponsor. have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course - the amount will vary depending on your circumstances. can speak, read, write and understand English.What kind of part time jobs in UK for international students? ›
- Retail Assistant. Retail assistant jobs are one of the most popular part-time jobs in the UK for international students. ...
- Receptionist. ...
- Tutoring. ...
- Customer service representative. ...
- Library assistant. ...
- Data entry clerk. ...
- Food delivery driver. ...
Lack of work experience
With most international graduates now only having academic experience, this is a significant reason why international graduates are not getting jobs in the UK. The best advice is to seek out multiple employability experiences such as internships during your studies.
There are some restrictions on the types of employment you can undertake as a Tier 4/Student visa student. You cannot do any of the following: Be self-employed*. This includes freelancing and 'gig-economy' work, such as Deliveroo or Uber drivers.Is UK increasing working hours for international students? ›
The UK is one of many countries that have resorted to an increase in working hours for international students. Last year, Canada took similar measures to change the working hour policy. Full-time international students can now work more than 20 hours a week until the end of 2023.Is UK or US better for international students? ›
The UK almost exclusively has shorter courses than their American counterparts, and this goes for all levels of higher education. A bachelor's degree in the UK is normally 3 years, to the American 4 years. Taking a master's in the UK will typically take just 1 year, while in the U.S it is 2 years.Which is the safest city in UK? ›
|1||Woking||South East England|
|2||City of York||Yorkshire & The Humber|
|4||Swindon||South West England|
If you are looking for opportunities, you may want to consider the UK, because the opportunities are more plentiful. In America, people are encouraged to work hard and achieve success. In the UK, people are expected to work long hours and be dedicated to their jobs but not attain a high level of personal success.
Medicine, Architecture, Aerospace Engineering and Dentistry are some of the hardest courses to get into the UK.What problems do international students face in the UK? ›
- Culture Shock. ...
- Language Barriers. ...
- Financial Challenges. ...
- Homesickness. ...
- Social Isolation. ...
- Academic Differences. ...
- Visa Restrictions. ...
Cost. The cost of education in both countries is far from cheap, but in the United States it is generally higher. According to a law passed in 2012, universities in England may charge up to £9000 (approximately $14,300) per year. Of course, this applies only to citizens of the UK and the EU, not international students.What is a good hourly wage UK? ›
in 2021, the average hourly pay for all employees was £13.57 – it was £13.00 in 2020, and £10.54 in 2013. employees from the white Irish ethnic group had the highest hourly pay out of all ethnic groups in 2021 (£18.14) employees from the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group had the lowest (£12.03)What is the London living wage? ›
As of September 2022, the London Living Wage rate is calculated £11.95 per hour. For the rest of the UK, it's £10.90 per hour. There's a significant difference between this rate and the government's national living wage of £9.50 per hour (£9.18 for under 23 year olds), previously known as the national minimum wage.Why is minimum wage so low in the UK? ›
A big contributing factor to the difference in pay in the UK and the US boils down to British subsidised social benefits, specifically the NHS, our free healthcare system. In the US, healthcare is a complicated and expensive system involving providers, payers and patients.How can I work in the UK without sponsorship? ›
UK visas without sponsors
Visit visas, family visas, and graduate visas do not require a sponsor in the UK. It is solely the work visas that require sponsorship in the UK. Most work visa, especially long-term ones, requires sponsorship for the application process.
Overall, what are the benefits of studying in the UK? Attain lifelong world-class degrees to help you prepare and succeed in your career. Enjoy higher standard of education with institutions that consistently rank among the best in the world. Secure post-study work opportunities through the new Graduate Route .Can a UK citizen sponsor a friend for student visa? ›
For visa sponsorship letter to be considered by the consular officer in support of the application, it should be written by a UK citizen or a UK lawful permanent resident. The individual should also have a relationship with the visa applicant, such as being a relative, friend or partner.How can I move to UK from America permanently? ›
Get a UK Visa and Residence Permit
Contrary to popular belief, you need a visa to move to the UK if you are an American citizen. The only exception to this is that if you are visiting with no long-term plans, you can stay in the UK without a visa for six months – but you cannot work during your visa-free stay.
Yes, you can move to the UK without a job if you have enough money to support yourself and if you are born to British parents or qualify for one of the following visa's: Tier 5 Youth Mobility (this is country and age-restricted) UK Ancestry. Right to Abode.How long can Americans stay in UK? ›
You can visit the UK as a Standard Visitor for tourism, business, study (courses up to 6 months) and other permitted activities. You can usually stay in the UK for up to 6 months. You might be able to apply to stay for longer in certain circumstances, for example to get medical treatment.How do I get a work visa for UK from the US? ›
- work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship.
- do a second job in certain circumstances.
- do voluntary work.
- study as long as it does not interfere with the job, you're sponsored for.
- travel abroad and return to the UK.
You can apply for a visa up to three months before you intend to work in the UK. Applications are processed through the British Embassy or High Commission closest to you. Processing time is about three weeks, though it can take longer for certain nationalities.How do I find sponsors in the UK? ›
Using the sponsor licence list to find a sponsor. The Register of Licenced Sponsors is an extremely helpful tool for workers looking to find visa sponsorship in the UK. Before you can apply for a sponsorship visa for the UK, you first have to be sponsored by a qualifying UK employer.Can I work 6 hours without a break UK? ›
Workers have the right to one uninterrupted 20 minute rest break during their working day, if they work more than 6 hours a day. This could be a tea or lunch break. The break doesn't have to be paid - it depends on their employment contract.How long is a working day UK? ›
Usually 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. However, due to new working ways and flexible forms of work, this can vary between organisations and industries. The statement of employment particulars should state the employee's regular working hours and days of the week they work.
How to Find Part Time Jobs in UK. Being a student in UK if you are willing to do anything then it is quite easy for you to get a part-time work in any sector. A student is allowed to work up to 20 hours each week. The areas mostly students work in are bars, restaurants, supermarkets, university unions etc.How hard is it to get a job in the UK as a foreigner? ›
While the competition for many jobs remains high, with the right experience, language skills, qualifications and professional attributes, you will find that finding a job in the UK is more than achievable.Is studying in UK easier than USA? ›
If you're a little unsure on your major or want to experiment for a year or two, then the USA is probably the better option. If you are 100% set on a subject, and just want to get going, the UK may be the place for you.
As an international student coming to the UK without dependants, you can expect to pay around £1300-£1400 per month in London or £900-£1300 in the rest of the UK to cover your accommodation, bills, groceries, and a range of other living expenses during your studies.
If you are a US national and would like to work in the UK, you will need to secure a work visa before you travel here. In most cases, to secure a UK work permit, you will need a suitable job offer from a UK employer with a sponsor licence granted by the UK Home Office.Are there more job opportunities in UK than US? ›
In the UK you have more job opportunities, higher salaries, and a wider range in earnings. In the US there are fewer jobs, the pay is not as high, and only a few people earn above $35000.Which jobs are easy to get in UK? ›
- Nights Warehouse Operative. Ocado Group3.0. ...
- Early Years Practice Lead. Red Bus Nursery & Pre-School3.6. ...
- Supply Planning Manager. new. ...
- Blind Fitter. Labetts Ltd - www.labetts.co.uk. ...
- Kitchen Assistant. London Inn. ...
- School Art Technician. ...
- Commis Chef & Chef de Partie. ...
- Veterinary Surgeon.
- Eligibility. You must meet the following requirements: ...
- Who cannot apply to switch to this visa. ...
- Fees. ...
- Proving your identity and providing supporting documents. ...
- Apply to switch to a Skilled Worker visa. ...
- Continue your application. ...
- How long it takes to get a decision. ...
- After you apply.