Working in the UK

International students have a great skillset to offer potential employers and there has always been a range of opportunities for international students in the UK.

However, with increasing competition in the UK job market, finding a graduate job in the UK could prove very challenging for international students.

The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services have produced the document Working in the UK: Answers to International Students’ Frequently Asked Questions

Careers Network can help you make the most of your time in the UK and stand out to potential employers to land your dream job.

Alumni & Employer panels on staying in the UK

We have hosted multiple alumni and employer panel events focussing on staying in the UK after your studies, with helpful insight and tips from those who have successfully done it and those who recruit international graduates. Find them, and other useful sessions, in our Event Recordings page.

UK Visas and Immigration

We strongly recommend you consult UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and ensure you understand the government visa regulations, before you start to apply for graduate jobs in the UK. More information on Visas and Work Permit can be found from the links below:

Please be aware that Careers Network is not authorised to give advice on work permit or visa applications. For advice regarding your visa or work permit applications, please contact the International Student Team.

Finding graduate opportunities

Working for large companies 

If you plan to work in UK after graduation, then try to start your job search as early as possible. Large companies typically recruit a year ahead of the start date for their graduate schemes of 2-3 years’ duration and direct entry jobs. You will need to apply during Autumn Term when you start your course.  

Working for Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs)  

Although there are plenty of graduate opportunities with large companies, the competition can be extremely intensive. When you are considering your future career in UK, don't think that graduate schemes or direct entry jobs in large companies are your only option.  SMEs are increasingly offering job opportunities for international students in recent years. You will benefit from gaining a good understanding of different parts of the business quickly by experiencing different tasks and functions within the company. You can also take on a high level of responsibility at an early stage.  

There two things that we suggest you need to bear in mind when you apply for jobs in SMEs:  

  • Check job boards regularly - these kinds of opportunities are advertised according to business need.

  • Make sure the SMEs have visa sponsorship licences if you plan to apply for the Skilled Worker Route Visa, before making applications.  

Sources of vacancies include:

  • University of Birmingham Career Fairs - Our career fairs run throughout the academic year and are a great opportunity to meet employers and find out about their graduate roles. For more information visit: 

  • University of Birmingham Careers Connect - Log in to Careers Connect and go to the Opportunities section. The job vacancies advertised on this live job board are posted directly by the employer. We also suggest visiting employer websites for up to date information.  

Work experience, internships & mentoring

Careers Network can support you to find and apply for work experience opportunities in the UK.

Important considerations

International students who hold a Student Route Visa to study in the UK are subject to working restrictions imposed by UKVI (UK Visas & Immigration). However, most international students should still be able to undertake work experience.

We recommend you read the guidance written by the International Student Team before applying for any work experience. If you have any questions about working rights and visas, please contact the International Student Team.

Where to find work experience

We would recommend you use our Opportunities Board on Careers Connect as a starting point to look for vacancies. Other sources include:

If you are struggling to find advertised opportunities, you could make a speculative application to a company. 

Don’t forget to network with companies to find out about their opportunities. Careers Network run a range of employer-led events that you can get involved with. 

Final tip! Look out for your WOW (Work Opportunities Wednesday) newsletter, sent fortnightly to your inbox in term-time.

Funding work experience

If you’re worried about money affecting your work experience options, Careers Network has funding to support you. Find out more information about our work experience bursaries here.

Further guidance

Finally, if you would like to talk through your options with an Internships Officer, you can book a 1:1 appointment via Careers Connect. You can also send an email to Careers Network:

1:1 support from a mentor

We also offer various mentoring schemes where we connect you with industry professionals who can support you with your career development. 

Our mentors are from a wide range of sectors and job roles. Many are based in the UK but we also have international mentors from China, USA, India, Singapore, Australia and many more. They can share with you their experiences of living and working abroad and their tips for finding and applying for work experience.   

Find out more about our mentoring programmes here

Resources to support International Students

Career Talk podcast 

Careers Network have launched our own podcast 'Career Talk', hosted by International Employer Liasion Officer, Cate Linforth. This podcast is designed to be of particular interest to international students and graduates.

Each week, Cate will chat to alumni to find out about their career journey after graduating, and to employers to find out what advice they would give to students and graduates interested in working in their industry.

Listen to Careers Network podcast: 'Career Talk' on our website, Spotify or Apple Podcasts. 



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