The fairs… useful for international students?

Absolutely! Whether you are looking to stay on and gain experience in the UK or leave the UK after study, the fairs provide something for most international students. Here’s how.

I was just settling down to write a post about making the most of the forthcoming fairs for international students, when I spotted Holly’s recent blog post about the very same thing at: “Making the most of the fairs”  Although not specifically written for an international audience, all the messages are applicable, so do take a look. More importantly, though, it is good if you can consider the international angle too and tailor your approach.

1) There’s no getting away from the visa issue. It’s fair to say that many of the firms coming to our forthcoming fairs are visa sponsors, which is good news. But there are a significant few that are not. For example, those not on the UK Border Agency’s Sponsor Register are not in a position to sponsor a visa for you. Not on the register – not a sponsor! They can apply to go on there, but it will take around 6 months or more. There is one firm, Morgan Crucible, coming to the end of October fairs, who are waiting to get onto the register and who are therefore keen to meet international talent, but some have no plans to join the register anytime soon and no plans to sponsor. To find out who is not on the register, you can look through the UK Border Agency’s Sponsor Register online at:   Alternatively take a look at each fair’s web pages. We have a section for international students for each fair with a listing of those firms not on the register and some general advice. The list for the Ethnic Diversity Fair is now live at:, and the others are coming soon.
Of those firms who are on the register, some are not planning to sponsor visas. Some have national security restrictions, like Logica, GCHQ; some say they have limits on numbers (Toyota) and some just don’t seem to want to sponsor. Some, however, may not be entirely up to speed on the new visa regulations, so remember, if you are, you may be able to help them along! Whichever firms you speak to, though, don’t ask about visa sponsorship straight away. Be sure to ensure you come across as interested in that organisation, what they do, their positions (etc, etc) and not just “any” visa sponsor option.

2) Think global, ask local! Despite these being primarily UK opportunity fairs, more and more of our fair exhibitors each year have global opportunities. Some are seeking to attract international students in the UK now, for positions back home when you finish your studies and some even have an option to train in the UK for a year or two before returning. Even without these programmes, though, the UK recruitment teams are also a great source of information and intelligence on a firm in general before you apply to overseas branches. I have met a few students over the years who have been invited to special international recruitment days at London head offices of firms after they have approached recruiters at a Manchester fair. If you don’t ask the question, you’ll never know the answer! A few examples…. At the Ethnic Diversity Fair on Wednesday you will find Unilever who have schemes for China, Russia, Malaysia and Nigeria live at the moment. At the next round of fairs you can meet Decathlon (China), Deloitte (recruiting globally as well as UK), Standard Chartered Bank (with positions around the world) and Contact Singapore (who help international graduates find opportunities in Singapore)… and that’s just for starters!

3)International students careers week… and just when you think the fairs are drawing to a close, there is another “mini fair” happening on 31st October as part of international students careers week. Here we will have a panel of international and UK recruiters talking about global job hunting tips for international students and available to discuss their opportunities with you. Look for the “international recruitment event” 2pm – 4pm in University Place – lecture theatre A at



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