Working in the UK – Information for international students attending the Grad Fair 2017

On the day – Making a good impression

Do not talk about visas with the employer at the fair. Consider how you approach an employer with your questions about the company. It is still important to be interested in the organisation and their opportunities and not just interested in finding any company that sponsors work visas. This will create a poor impression.

Should you discuss sponsorship or visas with employers at the fair?

We advise you do not talk about visas, sponsorship or hiring of international graduates with recruiters at fairs or events. Usually the employer representatives at the fair are not visa or immigration experts and are not the right people to discuss visas with. 

Do your research first! Know who sponsors and who doesn’t before you go. Make a good first impression by asking relevant questions about the company values, innovations, projects, culture, progression opportunities, development and retention. Visas can be addressed later at interview or offer stage.

Can I work in the UK?

If you are looking to stay on and work in the UK after graduation, you can find out more about work visa regulations for the UK on the Careers Service website: These pages link you through to excellent sources of visa information as well as links to UKCISA and UK Government site –

Any queries around your Tier 4 visa should be referred to the Student Immigration Team

What about work visas?

Employer sponsored visas (Tier 2 visas) are the most common way for UK employers to hire international graduates who need permission to work in the UK. To sponsor a visa, an employer must be on the Register of licensed sponsors: workers and the job must meet certain minimum requirements (such as a minimum salary and skill level for the role which is RQF Level 6). 

You can also check if a firm is on the Sponsor Register at:

Minimum Salaries

You can also check if the job you are interested in meets the minimum salary RQF Level 6 and skill levels for tier 2 sponsorship in the Codes of Practice:

Other Options

Tier 5 – Getting work experience

If you are looking for a short period of work experience in the UK (up to12 months) there are also options with a Tier 5 visa under the “Youth Mobility programme” or the Government Authorised Exchanges. There are no minimum salaries for this route and you can work for any employer. If you find an employer willing to offer you an internship, you can pay a private organisation that sponsors Tier 5 visas to arrange the visa for you.

Tier 1 – Starting your own business

The University of Manchester is a sponsor for the Graduate Entrepreneur visa if you are looking to start your own business in the UK. Find out more at:

PhD students

A 12 month visa extension scheme has been introduced for students completing a PhD in the UK. The scheme allows PhD students to extend their student visa for an additional 12 months allowing them extra time to find work with a Tier 2 employer or set up as an entrepreneur. More information can be found at:

Working in the UK – Work visas for international students Webinar

You can find more information on visa’s and your options ON THE University of Manchester Careers YouTube Channel in the International Student Playlist

What rules apply for internships?

Most undergraduate international students are able to work full-time during vacations on a student visa enabling them to take internships. Postgraduates are encouraged to confirm vacation periods with their School as your dissertation time in the summer is not classed as a vacation. For more information on working in the UK whilst on a student visa, see:

What about international jobs?

Some firms are happy to direct you to vacancies across the globe. Others may provide you with a contact to approach/website to use. Some international firms also hold international recruitment events at their Head Offices in the UK – so do ask them.

In addition to this consider the option of a J1 Visa to the USA if you are looking for some international experience before going home. You can apply for this visa in the UK and gain up to 12 months experience overseas. For more information see our Blog on J1 Visas

Think about your motivation for getting experience outside of your home country? Have you considered working for an international company back home and then transferring to another office overseas after a couple of years? You would have more to offer an employer including experience, building your reputation in the company and a global network.

Finally look at your chosen occupation for countries like Australia and New Zealand, is it on their Skilled Occupations list which you can find online.

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