Information for Non-UK students
Here at askUS we have a range of services to support you as an international student. Whether you need help with your visa, advice about how to get a part time job or would just like to learn about life in the UK and to meet new people we’re here to help.
For visa renewals, finance matters or any other issues, you can contact askUS and our advisers will do their best to answer your query or direct you to the service that can help you best.
Working in the UK
Working whilst you study is a great idea as it allows you to add UK work experience to your CV and earn some extra cash. Careers & Enterprise can provide support with how to write your CV to make sure you're selling yourself to employers as much as possible.
Most international students can work up to 20 hours a week (Mon-Sun) during term time and full-time during vacations. However, it is crucial that you confirm your permission to work before starting a job. You can do this by:
- Checking the wording on your Passport or ID card
- The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provide a factsheet and further help with checking your work status and what your visa can and can’t allow you to do.
- Contacting askUS
Everyone who wants to work in the UK must have a National Insurance Number (NIN). The NIN acts as an account number and makes sure that you pay the correct amount of tax and National Insurance contribution.
Work visas for international graduates wanting to work in the UK have undergone considerable changes over the last year. For a full listing of all visas available in the UK please see the UKBA website. This page aims to summarise some key information.
Note: If you are from the EEA or are Swiss, no work visa is required. Some EEA students may need to register with the Home Office, check the UKCISA website for more information.
There are no restrictions on work for other EEA or Swiss nationals. You will need your passport or identity card and you may need to show this to your employer as proof of your identity.
Please note that although legally you may be able to work up to 20 hours per week term time, we advise students to work no more than 16 hours per week during term-time.
Main work visa options for non-EEA students
Before you start to look for work please check the immigration stamp that is on your passport. The stamp will indicate whether you can work while studying in the UK.
- If your passport has a prohibition stamp on it, then you are not allowed to undertake any type of work, paid or unpaid, while you are in the UK. If you are a full-time student, it may be possible to have your prohibited stamp changed to a restricted one: contact askUS.
- If your passport has a restriction stamp on it then you can undertake part-time work and/or vacation work while you are studying here at Salford. However, you are not allowed to: work more than 10-20 hours per week during semester; engage in business, self-employment or the provision of services; undertake work as a professional entertainer or sportsperson.
Students studying at degree level or above should have a 20 rather than a 10-hour restriction. If this is so, we do not advise students to work for longer than 16 hours.
Tier 5: Work Experience for international graduates
This scheme is part of the temporary worker visa legislation.
This scheme allows international graduates the chance to stay in the UK for a maximum period of 24 months for training and 12 months for work experience. It is relevant to students who need to do a period of professional training in the UK to qualify, e.g., architects, lawyers, pharmacists. Individual employers cannot sponsor an individual and a sponsor must have no intention of employing an applicant in the UK after period of training completed.
This scheme also allows for participation in government-authorised internship programmes such as BUNAC and Tier5intern. Such schemes allow for up to a six-month paid internship in the UK. A student generally finds a placement and will need to show they meet certain financial maintenance and English language requirements and apply for the visa from home country.
Tier 2 - Employer sponsored work visa
Summary of the Tier 2 visa:
- Get a degree from a university with sponsor status
- Work for an employer on the UK sponsored register.
- The graduate level job needs to be paying at least £20,800
- Pass the Points Based System for Tier 2 before the students Tier 4 Student visa expires
The information on the new Tier 2 scheme is that applicants must have a job offer from an employer before their student visa expires (currently the length of the course, plus 4 months), and must be paid a minimum salary that is likely to be in the region of £20,800 (or the salary specified in the Standard Occupational Code published by the UKBA). The individual also has to meet “points” requirements. The employer will not have to apply the Resident Labour Market Test, unlike the main scheme under Tier 2. So there will still be scope for International Students to find graduate level opportunities.
Providing information to employers about hiring international graduates
If an employer asks you for information on visas and employing an international graduate, refer to their company's HR department for advice in the first instance.
International Graduate Recruitment Forum on LinkedIn - This group has been set up by Nicky Dean, an in-house Immigration and Compliance Specialist. It is aimed specifically at employers recruiting international graduates from UK universities, so you could direct employers to that group if they are keen to employ you but are uncertain about how to do so.
Top tips for finding work in the UK after graduation
Find a graduate job from a sponsoring employer on the UKBA sponsor register. Given the current information inferring Tier 2 General as the main route students interested in working in the UK after their studies would be advised to look at the employers who are already registered and also check to determine if an employer of interest is registered to take migrant workers under Tier 2 General. Some employers recruit all year round, others close around October/November; Prospects have a lot of the closing dates and information for bigger employers.
It would also be useful for students to be aware of the UKBA Employer Helpline so that if a potential employer needs advice regarding the routes to recruiting a non-EEA graduate, they can obtain it from there. The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) advice line is also an excellent source of support for international students.
- UKBA Employer Helpline: telephone 0300 123 4699 or via email
- UKCISA advice line open from Monday to Friday, 1pm - 4pm: 020 7107 9922
Tier 4 – Doctorate Extension Scheme
The Doctorate Extension Scheme is relevant to PhD students who are about to complete. It allows you to extend your Tier 4 status for 12 months.
You can work and look for work during this period, but would need a Tier 2 sponsor after this time. The date of your application under the extension scheme must be within 60 days of the expected end date of the course leading to the award of PhD. Certain rules apply in order for you to be eligible including having achieved your PhD within 4 years, 100% attendance, tuition fees all paid, and no immigration rules having been broken.
The University remains your sponsor during this period, and you must respond to all Salford emails within 10 days, tell us of changes in address or email immediately, tell us if you leave the UK
Further information about the scheme is available here: Doctorate Extension Scheme [article under admin essentials]
Tier 1 Exceptional Talent
This route is open to postdoctoral researchers who have already made a significant contribution to their field and have proven potential to be a world leader.
Applicants will have held or hold a prestigious UK/international research fellowship and have a personal recommendation from an eminent qualified UK resident. They may also have evidence of a relevant prize or award for early career research and funding achieved during/following tenure of fellowship.
Applications under this category need to be endorsed by a National Academy, such as the British Academy /The Royal Society / The Royal Academy of Engineering.
- UK Visas and Immigration Further information about the visa, eligibility and application guidelines.
Top tips for improving your employability
Make sure you use your time wisely in the UK by gaining relevant skills and experiences that will help you secure a job with that company.
Take advantage of everything you can whilst at University ensuring to develop skills that UK employers are after. Below are just some of the things we offer that will help boost your employability:
- Part-Time Job/Placements - Gain some real life experience through a part-time job or a placement linked to your degree
- Volunteering can be a great way to develop new skills, get exposure to an area of work you are interested and do something that you enjoy.
- Enterprise - Many employers highly value Entrepreneurial skills. With many activities around how to start your own business, run your own project as well as the ENACTUS society who run and develop outreach projects in the community- plenty to get your teeth into.
- Having a high standard of English is an essential skill to have when applying for jobs in the UK. Where possible practise your English as much as possible. Here are places you can go to help: Salford Languages, regional International Society