Can international students be self-employed?

The simple answer to this question is no, unfortunately this is not an option open to international students studying in the UK on Tier 4 visa’s. An international student can get involved with internships, placements (as long as they are part of their degree programme), work experience, part-time jobs, work shadowing and volunteering.

Freelancing or working for yourself is not an option but it can be confusing when you look at job descriptions what is self employed and what isn’t. I was approached recently by an employer who regularly “hires” international students on a freelancing basis. In reality the employer is not hiring anyone they are engaging with the student for their services. The employer does not pay your tax, pension or National Insurance and this is classed as being self-employed/freelancing.

It can be a very serious matter if you are found to be working for yourself in the UK on a Tier 4 visa. If you are in the UK on a visa you must be fully aware of what the restrictions on your visa are as well as what you can do whilst you are here studying. Which lets be honest is quite a lot. So don’t be caught out if you have a question about a role and are not sure if it is suitable for you to apply then consult with your careers service and they will let you know. In addition if you have any questions about Tier 1, 2 or 5 visas consult the UKCISA website which is designed for international students


For the Tier 4 guidance and what the UKBA consider self employment you can look at their website

and see the excerpt below:

Self-employment and engaging in business activity

  1. You cannot be self-employed or engage in business activity. Everyone in the UK undertaking self-employed work must be registered with HMRC; you must check HMRC guidance to see if you need to be registered as self-employed.
  2. You will be considered to be engaging in business activity where you are working for a business in a capacity other than an employee in which you have a financial or other significant beneficial interest.
  3. This would include the following:
  • setting up a business as a sole trader or under a partnership arrangement and that business is either trading or establishing a trading presence;
  • being employed by a company in which you hold shares of 10% or more (including where the shares are held in a trust for you); or
  • working for a company where you also hold a statutory role, such as a director.
  1. You are permitted to be self- employed when you have made an application for leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant and are you are yet to receive a decision on that application. This provides an additional period for preparation and development work before you make the switch to the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route and establish your business in earnest. Everyone in the UK undertaking self-employed work must be registered with HMRC.

Do you have a story to tell? Can you help the University attract quality students?

The International Office are looking for students to be profiled across their digital channels. The University needs students who are involved in lots of extracurricular activities, enjoy student life and are willing to participate in marketing videos. Sound like you?


The following nationalities are of specific interest: Korean, Ecuadorian, Indonesian


The following languages are of specific interest: Chinese, Bahasa Indonesian, Korean, Arabic


If you want to take part please send us a copy of your CV, that way we will have all your contact details. We need roughly 2 hours of your time in total.


Students who are selected will be invited to an informal session so the team can learn more about them.  The project will take place towards the end of April and the closing date for applications is Wednesday 13th April. Please apply as soon as possible.


If you have any questions about the project then please contact Tracey Campbell Monks on 0161 275 8269 or

Did you hear the good news? No changes to the visa regulations for students on Tier 4 Visas!

iStock_000011817723XSmall Communication

So we have had the announcement from the government to say what changes the will be enforcing from April 2016 to the current UK visa regulations.

The main messages that government have released that will affect students on a Tier 4 visa looking to go to a Tier 2 are as follows:

  • Tier 2 minimum salary threshold of £20,800 for new entrants will be maintained
  • Tier 4 students switching to a Tier 2 visa will not be subject to a limit on numbers and their sponsor will not have to carry out a Resident Labour Market Test
  • the Immigration Skills Charge will be levied on Tier 2 employers at a rate of £1,000 per person per year from April 2017, with a rate of £364 for smaller businesses and charities, and an exemption for PhD occupations, Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Graduate Trainees and Tier 4 students switching to Tier 2

If you want to read all the highlights see the following webpage: 

International student job search FAQ UK

I was asked recently by a colleague to answer some frequently asked questions that all careers advisers/consultants who work with international students get. Here are my answers to these questions.

1. How easy is it to get a job in the UK?

It is not easy getting a job in the UK but it can be done.  If you are looking to stay on and work in the UK, you can find out more about work visa regulations for the UK and how they affect international student hiring on the Careers Service website at: UKCISA and UK Government site – are excellent sources of visa information

The students that succeed in getting jobs in the UK work just as hard on their job search strategy as they do their degree. The do the following:

  • Attend employer events, networking sessions, skills sessions and open evenings
  • Join relevant industry clubs
  • Attend fairs and prepare for the fairs through researching the employers attending
  • Engage with their careers service to ensure their CV and applications are good enough and portray the right information
  • Attend careers events on campus
  • Attend alumni events on campus
  • Research thoroughly their sector and the companies they want to work with
  • Reach out to alumni working in those organisations of interest
  • Engage with employers at events and on campus and ask for business cards

2. How likely is it that I will get sponsored?

It depends on your job hunting strategy? No employer wants to hear the question “do you sponsor visas?” this makes them nervous and they feel that is all you are interested in, not a career with them but to stay in the UK. Your approach to employers is key but you need to be education yourself. Know the visa regulations by referring to the UKCISA website for the latest updates and how they may affect you and in turn you may be able to educate employers who show interest in hiring you. It is more likely that you would get sponsored by a large multinational than by a small to medium sized company but there are many different firms who sponsor. For the latest list of Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsors see here: Register of Licensed Sponsors 

3. At what stage do I tell companies that I need to be sponsored for a visa?

This will depend on you and how risk averse you are. It also depends on what information you have researched on the company. For instance if they are not on the sponsor register then they are unlikely to sponsor you but if they are on the sponsor register they are more likely but not guaranteed. Some organisations are only on the sponsor register to hire experienced professionals but you won’t know this until you apply. If the organisation states on the job description that you “must be eligible to work in the UK “or “have the right to work in the UK” then again it is unlikely they will sponsor.  Some companies are put off by becoming sponsors as they feel it will be too much work this is where your knowledge of the visa system can work in your favour. A conversation and a referral to an immigration lawyer can put them at ease.

Most students will be upfront on their application and cover letter. If the company asks your eligibility you must be truthful. The rest of the students will go through the process of recruitment and take the risk at the end when the question is asked at interview or offer stage. Both approaches have their own advantages and disadvantages. To see an example of a cover letter that includes discussing your visa requirements see our Starting points guide area and look for Covering Letter Guide.

4. Who sponsors international students?

To see who sponsors refer to the sponsor register. This is continually updated and has over 29,750 employers listed. It is a PDF so can be navigated holding down the “ctrl” button and “F” key together to give you a search bar at the top right of the document. To see the latest document follow the link Register of Licensed Sponsors 

5. Which career sector is more likely to sponsor me?

I have put together a list of some of the sectors I believe are happy to sponsor international student applicants for graduate roles. This is provided in good faith, but do check with the organisations themselves to confirm their position and that they are on the Sponsor Register.

  • Banks/Finance
  • Consulting
  • Law firms
  • IT
  • Engineering/Manufacturing
  • Scientific

6. Can I get some UK experience and then go home?

All work experience is important to employers and if your intention is to go home but get a little experience first then Tier 5 could be a valid option for you.  Tier 5 visas are available through particular agencies who act as the visa sponsors so that your employer does not have to sponsor your visa or be on the sponsor register which gives you far more options in terms of potential employers.

Tier 5 Temporary Worker (Government Authorised Exchange) is intended to give university students the chance to gain work experience related to their course before they return home. You can find more details on the UKCISA website and the university careers webpages

Each agency has different criteria for sponsoring under Tier 5 so read their conditions thoroughly before applying but most follow these rules:

  • The role must not be for longer than 12 months (BUNAC this is 6 months)
  • The work must be related to the graduate’s course of study
  • The role must be supernumerary (outside regular staffing requirements)
  • The internship must be paid at least National Minimum Wage and be in line with all applicable employment legislation
  • The work must be at a skill level of NVQ Level 3 or above

When your tier 5 is up you must leave the country and apply for a new visa from outside the UK, so this is only for graduates looking for a short period of work in the UK. Remember you must consult with an immigration lawyer when applying for a visa the Right to Appeal no longer exists so you only get one chance to get your application right!

7. Where can I find Tier 5 schemes and sponsors?

There are over 70 schemes under Tier 5 Temporary Worker. Tier 5 sponsors are listed alongside Tier 2 sponsors in the Sponsor Register or you can find a list of all the current Tier 5 schemes and sponsors on the UK Visa and Immigration website.

8. Can I work during the summer?

Gaining work experience whilst you study through a part-time job, vacation placement or internship will help you develop skills to add to your CV. UK and international employers value the range of transferable skills and commercial awareness which you can gain through work experience in addition to academic qualifications.

If you are an undergraduate student the Summer Vacation is part of your vacation period and under your Tier 4 visa you can work full time. You can also work full time during Christmas and Easter.

If you are a Postgraduate student the Summer Vacation is considered your term time and therefore you can’t work full time. You can however still volunteer and work part-time for up to 20 hours per week during this period. Your vacation time for full time work only includes Christmas and Easter vacation periods.

9. Can I get part-time work in the UK which is related to my future career?

Part-time work can include work experience, volunteering and a part-time job. Employers are increasingly looking for students who have diversified their CV’s. They aren’t interested in hiring academics even though your final degree result is important. They want you to develop soft skills such as leadership, team work, communication, interpersonal skills and many more which can be done in the workplace.

Your work experience can be in your field of interest but you have to be diligent to find this and ensure there are opportunities in this field where you are studying as commuting long distances for a part-time job may affect your studies. All work experience is held in high regard by employers.

It is down to you to communicate effectively to employers what it is you want them to know about you. If you are applying for a job don’t list what you did during your part-time job in a hotel as a list of tasks be more creative and think of this as an opportunity to market your skills effectively to employers through quantifiable key achievements rather than “answered email, answered phone, cash handling” these tell me nothing about you, but if you said “worked as part of a diverse team of 15 people across 2 departments” then I would be more impressed.

There is no quick fix or an easy way for an international graduate to get a job in the UK

I get asked on a regular basis how as an international student/graduate is the easiest way to find a job in the UK? The answer is there isn’t an easy way to find a job in the UK as a UK graduate or an international graduate.

The situation is not helped by the fact employers on most job posts indicate “you must be eligible to work in the UK” at the bottom of the job description. This can be very frustrating for international graduates as they have paid large sums of money to study in the UK with the hope of a career after. As it stands the visa regulations in the UK are very strict and are expected to be even more restricted in the coming months.

But what can you do if there is no easy fix or search engine to help you. Here are a few pointers to help you as an international student/graduate looking for work in the UK or in fact anywhere.

1. Use job search engines like , LinkedIn, University Careers Services vacancy database CareersLink, to help you find those graduate jobs and schemes. From this job search you need to do two things. Firstly ensure that the employers you have listed are on the employer sponsor register Secondly start to compile a spreadsheet of organisations who are hiring graduates in your field.

2.  Once you have your list of employers start to search for alumni in those companies. You can do this through LinkedIn and the “My Network” tab on the tool bar. Hover over the “My Network” tab and a drop down menu will appear. Select the option “Find Alumni” and if your details on your profile are up to date your current University should appear. This tool is fantastic and allows you to find alumni via their location, company, expertise, what they studied and what the are good at. You can then start to find alumni in the organisations/sector you are interested in and that are possibly hiring. But be careful… never, ever connect with alum and ask for a job!!! This is your opportunity to showcase your talent and connect with the individual to build a professional relationship that may in the future benefit you.

3. Attend employer events, workshops, skills sessions, fairs and networking opportunities. Ask for business cards so that you can get the company representatives name to connect with later via LinkedIn or to mention in a job application. Attending these events and getting an opportunity to showcase your commercial awareness to a potential recruiter can be key to getting that graduate job in the UK.

4. Keep up to date with your home market. Everyone needs a plan B! Understand how important is international work experience at the start of your career? Would getting experience in your home country in your field of interest building your knowledge, skills, expertise and network benefit you more initially then in 4 or 5 years time look at developing an international career and utilising the global network you have built for yourself. Employers in your home country value your overseas education and experiences whether extracurricular or work focused when they are looking to hire. Having a year in another country post graduation although difficult to get how beneficial overall would it be? Understand your market and what employers are looking for. 

Finally I get asked all the time “do international students get jobs and visa sponsorship in the UK after graduation?” The answer is yes they do, but this is critical to understand, those students that succeed don’t say they haven’t the time to apply for all these jobs or research these companies. They don’t tell me they are too busy to attend employer events or that London is too far to travel for a networking event. They don’t turn up to fairs unprepared and not know everything they need to know about the employers they are interested in, because if they did they wouldn’t get jobs in the UK. Follow their lead, make time for researching jobs, build that resilience when companies turn you down, keep going and maybe you will get that job offer! Good luck!

The Latest Events & Jobs for Chinese, Hong Kong and Taiwan Students UoM

1. Decathlon China – Store Department Manager Programme

Event on Campus; 2pm – 6pm on 16 October 2015 in Theatre A, University Place, Oxford Road. There will be some hiring managers present from the company and they will be hiring for jobs. You can get an interview with the hiring manager on site. Dress smart for interview and bring your CV with you.

Event ID 2730 on CareersLink Places are limited so book now!

Job Role

You will be responsible for One Department of Sports in a Store and manage your own department with full autonomy. You will be trained to help achieve professional targets.
Key duties will include:

• Achieving the economic target of my department on turnover, margin, expense and profitability.
• Working directly in the field with the team, devising the best layout to welcome our customers.
To apply search Job Vacancy ID 46024

2. Nielsen China (Alibaba) Recruitment Talk

Nielsen, the world’s largest market research and consumer insights company, is looking to hire Chinese-speaking Manchester graduates to join as Analysts and Specialists in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.  These positions are based in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Taipei and other cities.

Date & time:      Wednesday, 21st October from 11:00 – 12:00

Location:             Room G.03, Williamson Building

Book now for a place Event ID 2799


Date & time:      Wednesday, 21st October from 12:00 – 13:00

Location:             Room G.03, Williamson Building

Book now for a place Event ID 2800

Nielsen’s graduate recruitment is open to 2015 and 2016 graduates in any subject, at both Bachelor and Master levels.  Nielsen is in search of top talent from universities across China and around the world, for enthusiastic individuals with diverse backgrounds. As part of Nielsen, you have the opportunity to be challenged, contribute and grow across our many services and geographies. You can see additional details on Nielsen’s graduate recruitment and

Apply at


3. Lockin China – 2015 Chinese Enterprises Overseas Campus Recruitment Campaign Workshop

23rd October 11.30-2.30pm University Place

Are you graduating in 2016? Have you started to seek a job? Are you worried about it? Lockin China is ready to help you.

Do you know which job suits you? Do you know how to choose the proper companies? Do you know the procedure of campus recruitment? Lockin China is ready to help you.

Who can provide thousands of positions to returnees? Who can provide all the information of startup to returnees? Who can provide the core skills of interview to returnees? Lockin China is your best choice.

Lockin China is now planning campus workshop will help to solve your doubts about job-seeking.

Book now for a place Event ID 2807


4. Mandarin Consulting Talk – UK internships and jobs for Chinese students

24th Nov 5.30-7.30pm Roscoe Building

Are you an ambitious Chinese student studying in the UK and wanting to know how to get an internship or a job? This is a seminar you must not miss!

In this seminar, you will find out:

· Where the opportunities are

· What Western employers want

· What are the common misunderstandings Chinese students have

· What your strengths and weaknesses are in the international job market

· How to overcome weakness and demonstrate your strengths

 Book now for a place Event ID 2680


5. Hang Seng Bank Career opportunities in Management Trainee Programme

If you are looking for a high-flying career in  managerial role leading a team or subject matter expert in the banking industry, our Management Trainee Programme is an excellent place to begin your journey. The programme prepares recent graduates to take up executive-level positions in one of the following six business / function streams: Commercial Banking, Global Banking, Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Financial Control, Operations, Services and Technology and Financial Crime Compliance

To apply search Job Vacancy ID 45247

6. Unilever China Future Leaders Program

As part of the programme you will get an Individual Development Plan (IDP), Job Rotation and International Experience, Mentor and Buddy Plan, First-class Training Programs and Leading Compensation & Benefits

To apply search Job Vacancy ID 46568


7. Mars graduate leadership programme

When people think of Mars, most often they think of chocolate – and we do make some of the best loved chocolate in the world.  But we’re much more.  We are a privately owned company with approximately 70,000 Associates .  Looking for a graduate leadership programme to start in 2016 and speak Mandarin?

The scheme is designed specifically for graduates who hope to become general international senior managers, either to pursue a career in China or to move globally in the future.  We are looking for our future senior leaders.  The General Management program offers cross functional placements including HR, Marketing, Sales, Logistics, Commercial, Finance, Manufacturing, Engineering and R&D over 3 years.

On line applications open on 1 September and close 24 October, followed by on line numerical and verbal reasoning tests.  Face to face interviews take place in China early December.

To apply or find out more visit:

8. Hilti Asia Outperformer Programmes in Logistics and Commercial

You must have a Master’s in Business or Engineering

For full details of the programme and to work for a Global Organisation then visit CareersLink

Search Job Vacancy ID 45883  OUTPERFORMER Trainee – Commercial Track (2016 in-take) 

Search Job Vacancy ID 45884  OUTPERFORMER Trainee – Global Logistics Track (2016 in-take)

Changes to visa regulations what it means for university students!

So there has been much panic and misrepresentation of the recent changes to visa’s for students. I have been heavily involved in pre-departure webinars at The University of Manchester and there is a reoccurring theme in the questions I ma being asked by new undergraduate students coming to study here next month.

Can I work in the UK while I study at University?

The answer is YES YOU CAN! If you have applied to study a degree or postgraduate course at a University in the United Kingdom then under your Tier 4 visa you can work in the UK while you study for up to 20 hours a week. Some visa’s may have different stipulations on them depending on your country of origin so check your visa paperwork carefully when you receive it to understand how many hours a week you can work.

The main changes that have come into effect for Tier 4 visa’s relates to students at publicly funded colleges. What this means in the UK is that students under a tier 4 visa studying at a publicly funded college (not university) can’t work during their studies.

In the UK the term “College” relates to the institution you attend prior to going to University to study A Levels or to study a vocational apprenticeship or course. (Some colleges have partnerships with universities and if you have applied to do a degree in a college partnered with a university contact their visa team for advice.) 

If you still have questions see an immigration lawyer. For more information see our webpages and understand how to make the most of your time in Manchester

Clarification on the UK Visa Situation for International Students & Graduates and a Look at Plan B

There has been a lot of reference to visa caps in the news recently and this has put recent graduates and students on edge. The caps that are being referred to relate to applications from outside the UK from applicants. The graduates in the UK on tier 4 visas are not affected by this cap. All applications from within the UK for example if you are moving from a tier 4 visa to a tier 2 visa, or extensions on tier 2 visas are considered unrestricted and therefore have no limits ( as not adding to net migration). If you are applying from outside of the UK (your visa expired and you have gone home) you are subject to the visa cap and a labour market test. The more information you know about the visa system in the UK the more you can educate others including employers increasing your chances of sponsorship.

To ensure you are complying with visa regulations if you have any questions make sure you consult an immigration lawyer. 

It is important however to have a Plan B! What does this really mean? This means that although you may be motivated to work in the UK and feel that this will add to your career experience you need to have at least one alternative plan. The immigration laws are strict in the UK and it is difficult for international graduates to get roles in the UK so think about your home market.

Is an international career experience in the UK at the start of of your career essential? For most of you NO!

Would going home getting a job in your field of interest, building your experience, knowledge, skills and brand make you more attractive to employers later in your career? YES it would.

Keeping up to date on the labour market in your home country as well as other countries you are interested in working in is essential so that you have the most up to date information. Be prepared if your job applications in the UK don’t work out and have applications ready for employers back home. Having a plan B, C, D, E etc is not failure it is preparedness. It shows that you are a passionate, determined and informed graduate.

Top Tips for International Graduates:

  1. Do your research!
  2. Be prepared!
  3. Know your home market as well as the UK market.
  4. Make connections with alumni in the businesses you want to work for.
  5. Build your commercial awareness.
  6. Apply to jobs back home at the same time you are applying in the UK – Don’t wait until your visa expires and go home you could miss out on great opportunities.
  7. All else fails be the best you can be wherever you are in the world – build your reputation, brand, knowledge and skills and look at an international career later in life when you have more to offer an employer!!!!!!!!

So exams are finishing and its time to start thinking about what is next!

So what is next for you, do you feel under pressure to make that decision “what will I do with the rest of my life?” Don’t fret and don’t worry in this day and age the first job you do after university at graduate level does not dictate what you will do for the rest of your life.JL_picture_70

Many people change careers at different points in their lives. The one thing I would say is when you do get your first job pay attention to what you like and what you don’t like, this will make the next career move simpler.Knowing what works for you and what doesn’t is important as these are the areas you can look at in the next role. Does the next job have more of what you like than what you don’t like.

We talk about self awareness in the careers service and this can be daunting for some student and others may think it is a waste of their time. For some this may in fact be true but how are you going to know that a particular company or job is right for you if you don’t know who you are, what skills you have, what values you have, and most importantly what motivates you. These things are important especially if you want to change career in the future, for instance if you are changing from accounting to marketing you need to understand what transferable skills do I have. What have I done during my time as an accountant that would be useful in marketing. If I were interviewing you for a marketing role this is one of the questions I would ask you.

So how do you go about understanding you values, motivations and skills? There are a number of things you can do including seeing a career consultant. If this is not for you then the University of Manchester Careers Service website has a number of online tools you can use to help you identify what motivates you and what you skills may be. You can find more advice , tips and tools on

What else can I do? Well you can join your graduate networks on LinkedIn and connect with other alumni of the university as well as current students to build your connections for your career. Remember if someone can’t help you now because they are still studying that doesn’t mean in 5 years they can’t open doors for you. So join our online LinkedIn networks:

The African Manchester iStock_000013296501Small Network of peopleGraduate Network

The Pakistan Manchester Graduate Network

India Manchester Graduate Network

The China Manchester Graduate Network

The International Graduate Network ( for those of you who do not want to join the other region specific groups.

But if this piece of advice is not enough to put you at ease come and talk to us at the The University of Manchester Careers Service and we can help you look at your options. We are located on the 1st floor of University Place in the Atrium or you can ring to make an appointment +44 (0)161 275 2828 by phone or Skype. No matter where you are in the world whether you are due to graduated or you graduated within the last 2 years we can still help you.Remember it is never too late to have a chat with us and we are here all Summer.

Graduate Fair June 10th & 11th June – How relevant is this fair for International students?

The Graduate Fair will take place on 10th & 11th June at The Armitage Centre in Fallowfield, Manchester. They are popular with international students who are looking for jobs in the UK after graduation and who have not yet secured a graduate scheme place, but how relevant are these fairs for international students?

With over 150 employers and recruiters over two days offering a variety of positions, there really is something for everyone. You will also have the opportunity to find out about postgraduate courses and further study options. The fair is a way to find out about graduate jobs and employers across Manchester and the UK. However, not all firms at the fair will be able or willing to hire international students for their positions. This blog pJL_picture_80ost explores some key messages, if you are heading to the fair and ways to prepare:

Who will be hiring international students?

It is difficult to predict which firms will be willing to sponsor international students for Tier 2 visas, but here are some insights which may help you to plan ahead.

1) Typically, only firms who are on the UK’s Sponsor Register are currently in a position to sponsor graduates for working visas. (There is an alternative for those not on the sponsor register Tier 5 read on to learn more about Tier 5.)

There is a list of the exhibitors here that are NOT on the Sponsor register. Firms not on the Sponsor Register

Firms can still apply to join the register, and some firms did attempt this last year, following the fair, but it can take time and money to do this. For many firms, that do not struggle to fill vacancies, there is no incentive to do this. Some firms also have nationality requirements for their roles. However, if you have a strong CV and a professional approach, some firms may spot the opportunity, particularly IT or engineering firms or firms needing language skills.

What’s the alternative? Tier 5!

If the minimum salary is not high enough and you are a PhD then you can extend your visa alternatively you could look at a Tier 5 visa – which is a fixed term visa to enable you to gain work experience in the UK for up to 12 months. You will need to get the internship offer first, and also to pay a fee to the visa sponsor such as BUNAC, AIESEC, GTI & ISIS(Chinese students only), the employers or the University of Manchester do not sponsor Tier 5 visas. As there are no minimum salaries and it can be with any employer, there is more flexibility, but you do need to leave the UK after your experience so it is not really a way to move to Tier 2 sponsorship. Find out more about Tier 5 at:

2) For those firms who are on the Register, and can sponsor, the next consideration is the salary for the position.

There are minimum salaries in place for employers looking to sponsor. The absolute minimum is £20,800 per year, but some career areas will have a higher minimum than this. You can find the list of minimum salaries under the Codes of Practice on the UK Visas website, and this UKCISA information is useful.

3) So if the firm is on the register and the salary is high enough, will that be okay?

Well, it could be, but it may not! Some recruiters are not familiar with the latest visa regulations for recent graduates so it can be helpful if you follow the latest legislation yourself as you may find it appropriate to help a recruiter with the latest regulations. For example, some changes that recruiters may not be aware of are that:JL_picture_70

– if you apply for Tier 2 sponsorship before your Tier 4 visa expires, then there is no longer a labour market test required (where the firm has to show that they could not find a UK / EEA worker for the role).

– if you are moving from a valid Tier 4 visa to a Tier 2 visa the sponsorship does not fall into the monthly quotas for the UK, so certificates are not restricted for Tier 2 visa sponsorship. Employers can ask for more.

You can stay up to date with the most up to date information through links on our website: and watch the UK Visa Master-class Webinar  (Don’t rely on us, we are not immigration experts in Careers, just trying to help you find your way through the regulations!)

What about the other firms?

Many firms at the fair are smaller organisations, who may not have a history of hiring international talent. If you show a real interest in their firm, what they do, demonstrate your own passion for the role and ensure you come across well – who knows. If your first question is “do you hire international students?” , “how much do you pay?” or you find yourself shouting “but you have to hire me, just get on the Sponsor Register!” … probably not! Professionalism is crucial – it’s the one quality they can definitely observe when at the fair.

Perhaps think about the unique skills that you could offer that organisation (language skills/expertise) and communicate that.

How do I prepare effectively?

There are some useful documents/sites that you should read in advance of the fair. The most essential is the Exhibitors Day 1 and Exhibitors Day 2 links for each of the days of the fair. This will tell you about each of the organisations attending and their vacancies with a link to their website. This can be an excellent way to ensure that you come across informed and motivated by specific companies.

One complaint that I have heard many times from exhibitors at fairs is that students do not have an idea of their own career strengths and motivations. If you hear yourself saying “I am a finance student at MBS, what have you got for me? or “I am studying business information systems, what do you think I could do?”… then you may as well spend your time having a cup of tea at the kiosk. Employers want to hear something more akin to: “I am a finance student at the Business School and I am keen to explore opportunities in xxxxxx, I was really interested to read about your xxxx programme on your website, could you please tell me a little more about it?”…

Tips on the day for international studentsJL_picture_128

We have also put together a handy summary sheet for international students who are attending the fair. It provides a summary of firms who are not on the Sponsor and also a summary of key visa legislation and sources of information.

If you are not up to date on regulations, this will help you. The attached sheet was produced in good faith, but please check out firms on the UK Visas website yourself, or ask the firms directly to ensure you have the most up to date information.

Getting help

On the day there is an immigration solicitor available at the fair to offer free one to one short sessions. There are so many different aspects to immigration (Ancestry/ EEA rights) that it can be useful to explore your own situation. In addition the International Career Consultant will be at the fair on both days with the Immigration expert for career related queries.

“My only tip for job hunting would be to make sure that you have a focused approach when you’re looking for a job rather than having a scattered CV approach. I would also recommend that you always keep your options open on location and countries you would like to work in and always have a backup plan if things don’t work out. Getting a job back home in your country can also be a good option for you and you should plan ahead for that just in case things don’t work out in the UK.

Omer Zakaria, Msc International Human Resource Management, 2012. Recruitment Consultant, Robert Walters Plc, Dubai.

Considering shorter term UK experiences or applying for graduate positions back in your home country is encouraged to provide a back-up plan. Our pages on International job hunting, international visas and our country pages are all useful sources on the Careers Service website.

Our international networks can also provide you a way to connect back into international job markets or explore new ones. Find them at:

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