How to find a Job in the UK as an International Student

As an international student, securing a job in the UK is indeed achievable. This article discusses helpful tips for international students looking for jobs in the UK using advice from international students who've been through it.

4 mins read
3rd April 2024


Leatherback Content Team


Leaving your home to study abroad feels like going on a big adventure. Many international students dream of learning in a new country to grow personally, do well academically, and experience different cultures. But once the excitement settles, the reality of paying for education hits hard. For lots of international students, finding a job in the UK isn't just an option – it's a must.

In the UK, where everything is bustling, international students, both undergraduates and graduates face lots of opportunities and challenges.

The UK isn't just known for its great universities, but also for its many job chances. Yet, figuring out where to start can feel overwhelming without some guidance.

For lots of graduate international students, finding a job in the UK isn't just about making money. It's also about making their time studying even better, learning important skills, and becoming more independent. It's like adding exciting new parts to their story while they're here.

What could be the challenge?

But finding a job in the UK can be tricky. There are things like visa rules and different ways of applying for jobs that can be hard to understand, especially for students from other countries.

Plus, needing a job that fits around their classes makes things even more complicated. So we spoke with Fajira’s concept to understand how international students can find a job in the UK. What you’ll be reading next are the gems she shared. 

So, how do you find a job in a new country like the UK? 

Well, it's like figuring out a big puzzle. The trick is to learn about the place and make sure you have what you need to succeed. 

First, you must understand there are two main types of vacancy to consider: 

  • graduate schemes

  • direct entry (sometimes known as jobs with an immediate start).

Graduate schemes are typically offered by companies that are looking to recruit several graduates each year into a range of areas, such as finance, IT, human resources, and marketing.

A graduate scheme will usually last for between 18 months and two years. Applications for these schemes tend to open in September each year; some closing dates fall as early as November, while others remain open until March. Early applications are always advised, though. If successful, you’ll usually start your scheme the summer after you graduate.

Direct entry jobs are often with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that do not need to hire a significant number of graduates every year, although larger employers do advertise some entry-level jobs, and these vacancies can crop up at any time of the year.

So how do you find sponsor employers?

If you have a graduate visa, you're all set to work in the UK without needing an employer to sponsor you.

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. GOV.UK has a register of licensed sponsors that you can use to identify companies with whom you may want to work.

This list is comprehensive and can be difficult to search so you may want to try to find licensed sponsors in other ways. For example, some companies have produced online lists of sponsors that are easier to search so you should research these.

You may come across a company that you wish to work for that isn’t currently a licensed sponsor. If this is the case, you can speak to them to find out if they’re open to applying for visa sponsorship and they can then start the application process. Once they’re registered, you’ll be able to work for them.

In general, larger firms are more likely to have the budget and resources to be a sponsor but you can check with any company’s HR department to find out if they’re licensed to recruit international workers.

What job sites are available?

According to Fajira’s Concept, these are the job sites to look out for: 

How do you receive your weekly payments?

As you gear up to secure a job, it's important to consider how you'll receive your payment. While companies typically determine the method of payment, you can take proactive steps by having your own GBP account and accessing a single platform offering various currency accounts such as USD, NGN, EUR, and more. Leatherback simplifies the process of receiving payment for your efforts. 

With our mobile app, you can easily send, receive, save, and exchange currencies—all from your phone. 

Watch this video to learn more about the Leatherback mobile app.

Click here to sign up on mobile.

As an international student, securing a job in the UK is indeed achievable. In addition to the previously mentioned tips, it's essential to craft a standout CV.

Consider having it reviewed by professionals if feasible. Many UK universities offer career services for current students and recent graduates, extending support even after graduation. Utilize this resource to have your application proofread for accuracy.

Furthermore, whenever feasible, include a cover letter with your application. While some online job postings may not explicitly request a cover letter, from my experience, it can greatly enhance your candidacy and help you stand out.

Wishing you the best of luck in your job search!

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