Hints & Tips for non-EU students leaving uni this summer


Are you a student from outside of the EU looking for a job opportunity in the UK now that you’ve finished your course? If so, well look no further! I will give you 5 top tips on what to do to help you make the most of the time left on your visa.

*Please note that I am focusing on non-EU students at the moment, as the rules are slightly different. Also the impact on the referendum might make some changes to this, so let me update you later on once we know more.

Tip #1 – check how much time you can stay

Depending on how long your course is will depend on how long you can stay once your course has finished. You can read the specifics here. There are a number of other visa options, which you could have a look at. However, most of you will be looking to get a Tier 2 visa from an employer.

Typically after a BSc you will have 4 months to stay in the UK once it’s finished. This will take you up to around November.

You therefore have 4 months to be entirely focused on your job hunt, getting work experience or even an internship.

Tip #2 – apply, apply, apply

This period of time is essential to helping you find the job you want here in the UK. It is not an easy process by any means, as I am sure you have found out.

It’s not easy for a number of reasons:

  • Some roles are restricted
  • Some companies do not provide visas
  • They have strict entry requirements
  • They see a HUGE amount of applications for each role
  • The number of international visas a company can have will be limited

But, this isn’t to say it’s impossible. I would recommend that you research what roles you are keen to apply for, what companies offer those roles and see whether they do or do not take international students. Once you have this information then you can be a lot more targeted in your approach to finding work.

Tip #3 – check what help you have at home

If you are unable to find work then it is worth ensuring that you have a Plan B sorted at home.

  • Research what the job market is like at home
  • Understand what employers want at home compared to what UK employers are looking for?
  • Think about what you’ve learnt here that will be an advantage when you get back home – better use of the English language, new skills from work experience etc.
  • See who the main recruiters are in your field
  • Look at speaking opportunities from multinational employers on campus
  • Scroll through LinkedIn for employers and contacts
  • Speak to your alumni service to see if they have any contacts for you
  • Your university will have a list of international links too so ask them for it.

Tip #4 – extend your stay

If you’re on a longer-term course (over 12 months) you can extend your Tier 4 visa from within the UK, provided your course begins no more than one month after the expiry of your current leave to remain.

With a Tier 4 visa you have to demonstrate academic progression, so you can’t just do any course. Most students look into doing a masters degree.

What are the pros and cons of doing an MSc after your BSc?


  • It will increase your knowledge of a subject matter
  • It will allow you to spend more time developing your writing, listening and analytical skills
  • It can help you (depending on what course you do) get exemptions from professional exams*


  • Don’t forget that another year at university = more debt
  • It will not guarantee you a job as most employers will not have it as an entry requirement
  • It is another year out of employment, which no matter how much studying you do will benefit you as much as a paid working role

You can find out more about extending your stay here.

*please contact the relevant professional body to find out more information

Tip #5 – don’t panic

There is still time, no of course not lots of it, but there are options for you so don’t worry. By taking steps as above you can ensure that you are well prepared for the coming year.

  • If the UK is where your focus is then make sure you are doing what you can with employers here
  • Don’t lose sight of making plans at home, if you need to engage with Plan B, you need to have that set up
  • Get some work experience, no matter where you are, that is going to benefit you
  • Make a list of both UK and international agencies who could provide you with jobs
  • Speak to those around you and ask for contacts or advice
  • Look into a masters programme if that would suit your career goals – I will point out at this point that a masters for most jobs is not an entry requirement, so will not guarantee you a job.


If you haven’t finished your course yet and you are looking for some tips to help you get a job when you finish then these are for you.

  1. Get work experience – anything from part-time work, voluntary work, summer placements or internships
  2. Apply for jobs early – the recruitment processes are long and the competition is touch so get going as early as you can
  3. Use your internationalism to your advantage – do you have another language, do you have experience of a particular market etc.
  4. Check if an employer will employ you – most employers will state on their websites or application forms if they do not employ international students. Think medium/large firms for job opportunities rather than small/boutique firms
  5. Network, network, network – I feel like I say this so much, but it is so essential. Use the careers service to find out when employers are coming in, make the time to go to those events as you never know who you will meet
  6. Get a back up plan – if you can’t stay in the UK what are the agencies and job opportunities back home? What are you going to do? Be resilient but also realistic.

Jenni Hughes is a Career Coach & Job Search Specialist with Gateway. For more details on all the ways she can help you with your job search, your CV and plans for your future. Contact her by email – jenni@gatewaycareers.co,uk or by phone 0845 459 0035.

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