Applying for jobs in the UK after graduating is a popular choice, but only a few students are successful in getting a job offer from an employer that can sponsor them for a Tier 2 visa. This blog post talks about an opportunity you might have missed, called the Tier 5 visa.
As a non-EU international student, working in the UK can be very valuable in terms of your career prospects back home. In 2012/13 I studied a masters course at the University of Bristol and really enjoyed it. However when I arrived back home, I realised that getting a good degree isn’t enough to get a dream job. Employers are looking for transferrable skills and knowledge and also whether you have experience of putting those skills into practice. For this reason, work experience in the UK is highly valued.
So if working in the UK is so valuable and so many people want to do it, what’s stopping them? The most common answer is “I can’t get a visa”.
As you probably know, non-EU international students need a visa to work in the UK. If you have been offered a skilled job in the UK, you can apply for a Tier 2 visa. However, it’s hard to get an offer for a skilled job in the UK. The job market is very competitive, and includes plenty of hard-working UK and EU graduates who don’t need a visa. The job has to have a high salary and the employer also has to be willing and able to sponsor your visa application.
But this isn’t the end of the road for non-EU international students – there are other ways for you to work in the UK, and using a Tier 5 visa scheme could be right for you.
So what is a Tier 5 visa?
On February 10th I attended a talk held by the University of Bristol Careers Service Centre that included some good information on the subject, which I’ll share with you here.
There are a number of categories of Tier 5 visa, but the most relevant one for non-EU international students is the “Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange)” visa. There are many different Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) schemes available, which allow non-EU international students to apply for internships in the UK. Their aim is to share knowledge and allow the interns to experience the social and cultural life of the UK.
You can find the official UK government website showing details of the visa here:
The Tier 5 visa is different to the Tier 2 visa in several ways and there are a number of criteria, so I’ve tried to summarise the most important ones below.
- Under a Tier 5 visa, you will require an overarching body, such as AIESEC or the British Council to sponsor your visa. The employer doesn’t sponsor you directly.
- The maximum term of placement for the internship is usually 12 months at a time, but some do stretch to 24 months.
- The person doing the internship must have completed their last studies no more than 3 years ago.
- The internship should be full time (35 – 48 hours per week) and the conditions of employment should be in line with the National Minimum Wage Act if outside of London or £15,000 per year if based in London.
Are you interested? Well, there are a number of organisations that provide Tier 5 GAE schemes, and you can find a full list by pasting the following link into your browser window.
Overall, the Tier 5 scheme can be a useful option for non-EU international students who are keen to work in the UK for a while before going back home.
If you’re interested in hearing this talk for yourself it will be taking place again at 5pm on 9th June 2015 at the Careers Service. However please don’t forget that all immigration enquiries should go to the International Advice and Support Team at the International Office.
So the above is what I have learnt from the event. Some other attendees commented, “Very informative, clear and concise” and “Very good, should have a few more of these to reach more international students.” I hope it’s useful for you too.