I wrote a post a few months ago about looking for jobs. Well today, I’m happy to say I have been offered – and have accepted – a position at a London-based consulting firm!
Now this is exciting for many reasons, but there is one in particular I would like to talk about.
As an international, non-EU student, I do not possess the right to work within the UK beyond the expiration of my Tier 4 Student Visa. The only way for me to stay in the country after I graduate is to find a company or organisation that is willing to sponsor me with either a Tier 2 or Tier 5 Visa.
Before I go into too much detail, I want to point out that I am not an expert and the information within this is just what I have learned through personal research and attending uni seminars. If you want more specific and accurate information regarding your visa situation, please contact Aston directly.
Tier 5 Visas, while having many perks, can be bought for a fee from designated organizations as long as you find a qualified position within the UK. They do allow you to stay in the country, but the time is limited and there are certain criteria that must be met throughout the duration of the visa. It is a good option, but is just a temporary solution to remaining within the UK.
Tier 2 visas, on the other hand, are much more desirable as they are more permanent and provide more certainty to those who have them. As such, they are also more costly and difficult to obtain. If you are serious about living and working in the UK as a foreigner, this is the visa you want to get.
Difficult…but not impossible
The reason I bring this up is that the company that offered me the position is going to sponsor me on a Tier 2 visa. From what I’ve been told, it is pretty rare for a foreign graduate to find a company willing to invest the time and resources to sponsor them. It is a fantastic opportunity, and one for which I am very thankful. While there are some stipulations within my contract regarding my commitment to the organisation and their investment in my sponsorship, they are there to protect the company and I completely understand why they have been included.
The point I want make with this is that, while it is rare and it is difficult, it is possible for a foreign graduate to receive sponsorship here in the UK. When I came to Aston, my ultimate goal – beyond a good dissertation grade or earning a distinction – was getting a job in the UK. At first I thought it would be fairly easy, but after looking into it more and speaking with people who knew the situation here, I began to think it would be impossible. I applied for over 12 positions (mostly graduate programmes) and never made it to even a phone interview. While there could be many reasons for not progressing through the process, I think what it came down to most often was the fact that I needed sponsorship and most companies were unwilling to invest that amount of money in a graduate position.
Given all of these rejections, hearing back from this company – even for a phone interview – felt like a huge win for me. I put everything I had into this application process. It was challenging and uncomfortable at times, but I learnt a lot about myself and the company, and I feel like this is the right place for me to start my career. It has been a difficult journey, and I’m sure there will be more obstacles to come, but achieving this goal has been one of the proudest accomplishments of my life.
So, for all of you international students looking to start your careers here in the UK, remember: It won’t be easy, people are going to tell you it’s unrealistic (you are going to tell yourself it’s unrealistic), and your opportunities to impress are going to be limited. But if you stay positive, look for positions that fit you, and impress when given the chance, there is always a possibility for something good to happen!
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions please leave a comment below.