Earlier this month we hosted a panel with representatives from LSE’s International Student Advice Team, the Head of Immigration at Penningtons Manches and an international resourcing director and manager of a Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) scheme.

The discussion was wide ranging, while acknowledging that government committees were due to report back and many other things were still very uncertain given the current political climate.

During the panel and in their summing up discussion our speakers shared their top tips for international students looking to work in the UK. Here are their top ten tips:

  1. Don’t break the rules. The repercussions can be very serious.
  2. Know the facts. Look at all the available resources there are and make sure you know what your rights are and what timelines you are working to.
  3. Do your research. Educate yourself as far as you can about the process and be prepared to share these insights with employers. It may be that they simply do not know how the process works and you can helpfully signpost them.
  4. Strike the right balance between getting the facts about whether the firm sponsors and marketing your qualities. First and foremost your job is to convince them that you are the best candidate for the job.
  5. Think about what type of organisation you are keen to target and look at where there is a good fit in terms of for example language skills, global mind-set, international experience, global mobility etc.
  6. While larger multinational organisations are more likely to be familiar with the sponsorship process and know how the Tier 2 works, don’t overlook smaller organisations if they are a good match with your skills and interests. The process for companies to get onto the registered list of sponsors is not that difficult to navigate. Their sponsorship licence also lasts 4 years so others may well be able to benefit.
  7. Apply to a company because you want to work for them and do that particular role, not because they sponsor. Positions are competitive and a recruiter will be able to see through an application where the motivation isn’t genuine.
  8. Many larger employers in particular recruit on a rolling basis. The advice is to apply early. Remember too that you also need to focus on your studies and not over-commit to making job applications as your degree will suffer.
  9. Work experience is very important for a number of reasons. Not only will it give you valuable insights into a sector and area of work as well as experience of working in another country, importantly it will also demonstrate to an employer just what you are capable of.  In certain instances this can then help to position you when a full time opportunity becomes available.
  10. Be proactive. Reach out to international alumni via LinkedIn etc and see where they work and get advice on how they secured their visa and the processes they went through.

And best of luck!

If you have any specific questions about working in the UK after your studies relating to visas, get in touch with the International Student Visa Advice Team (ISVAT) at LSE.