Jobs in the UK (for international students)

As an international student you may want to consider working here while you study.

There are a number of ways you can gain work experience so that you can develop and showcase your skills, for example:

  • Part time jobs
  • Placements and Internships
  • Volunteering
  • GCUs Common Good Award

You may also want to explore the possibility of working in the UK after your studies.


Eligibility to work in the UK

Students from within the European Economic Area (EEA) have no restrictions on the type of work or the number of hours that they work.  As an international student or graduate (not from a European Economic Area), you must be absolutely clear about your eligibility to work in the UK as stated on your visa. The Careers Service does not give advice on these mattersIf you are in any doubt, you must check this with GCU’s  VISA team  (Visa Immigration Support and Advice) who will advise you on all related issues.

The most up to date information on visa requirements is available from:

UK Visas and Immigration – GOV.UK

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA)

Visas and permits for international students who wish to work in the UK (Target Jobs)

TARGETjobs also explains the UKs immigration rules on working while studying:

Getting Work Experience as an International Student


Hours - Key Requirements

Remember that as a GCU student your priority is to study and achieve your qualification.

The following information is given only as general guidance and the hours that you can work while studying will be clearly stated on your student visa if you are a non EEA student:

  • During term-time this will be part-time with specific hours as stated on your visa (10/20 hours)
  • During university vacations you can usually work full-time. Check with your School to clarify the vacation dates that apply to you.

Please contact the VISA team if you are in any doubt about your working entitlement.


National Insurance

Everyone working in the UK must have a National Insurance number. If you are an International or EU student you will need to apply by phone for this in order to work while studying. You must be eligible to study or work in the UK to get a National Insurance number.

Phone using the National Insurance number application line: 0345 600 0643 Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm.


Finding Work Experience

Your first step is to sign up to CareerHub@GCU to see all of our current paid and voluntary work experience opportunities. This also gives you access to on campus opportunities coordinated via the Work Experience Hub.

In addition you can:

  • Explore opportunities for Placements, internships, part-time jobs and volunteering. These are all really good ways of developing your employability skills and can be used to provide evidence when applying for employment.
  • Check out the Employment Guide written by GCU’s Students Association. This gives information about looking for a part-time job and includes useful websites as well as providing information about your employment rights.
  • Consider registering with recruitment agencies for part-time or temporary work related to your field.

You can also:

  • Follow us on Social Media to keep up to date with careers related information and activities both on and off campus. There will be opportunities for you to connect with employers at Careers Conversations and Careers Fairs, so make sure that you find out what’s going on.

Some of the complexities Tier 4 visa holders are faced with are discussed in this UKCISA blog: A Working Definition


Graduate Jobs

If you are looking for a graduate job you will need to become ‘career ready’ very quickly. Use your time at GCU not only to gain your degree but also to develop the graduate attributes and employability skills that employers expect you to have, for example, team work, leadership, communication, and problem solving skills. Remember to follow GCU Careers on social media and register on CareerHub@GCU to see all our latest vacancies.

Some graduate employers advertise early and expect you to apply before your course has finished. These employers are likely to have a have a long recruitment process that may involve a number of stages, and can also be very competitive. Plan well ahead and make good use of Graduate Careers Fairs, Career Conversations and additional events and support organised by GCU Careers Service.

Target Jobs explains about when and how employers recruit graduates, including the difference between graduate schemes and direct entry routes: International Students Guide to Job Hunting in the UK  


Graduate Case Study

This is a case study of an international Engineering and Material Science Graduate from Queen Mary University gaining UK employment.


Finding Graduate Opportunities

Most employers are prepared to accept applications from international students for vacancies. However, for graduate opportunities, some may not be in a position to sponsor if they are not on the Register of Sponsors or the job may not be suitable as they don’t meet the minimum salary or graduate status required.

For graduate opportunities, international students can switch from Tier 4 General Student Visa to Tier 2 General Visa provided you meet specific criteria, and this will allow you to obtain graduate level employment in the UK. UKCISA has detailed information relating to your options if you are considering working after your studies.


Guide for Employers - Employing International students (non EEA)

UKCISA provide advice for employers to help them understand the responsibilities that they have when employing you. 

The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) publication Recruiting International Graduates: A Guide For Employers offers great advice, and includes information on Tier 5 Internships / Work Placements.


Key points for information

Register of Sponsors - Employers who recruit international graduates have to be on the Register of Sponsors or be prepared to make an application to register. There are currently just over 27,000 employers on this register. This listing is now available in a searchable Excel spreadsheet format. Please note that if an employer is listed on the Register it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are currently recruiting or that they usually recruit graduates.

Graduate job offer - you must find a graduate job offer with a sponsoring employer before your student visa ends.

Salary level - for Tier 2 visa, you will need to secure a minimum salary of £20,800 or higher (check with UK Visa and Immigration's Codes of Practice).


Six top tips for increasing your employability:

Campus and student activities
Get involved on campus, with activities and societies and seek out opportunities to develop your communication, confidence and language skills by applying for positions such as Student Ambassador, or the Student Leaders Programme. If English isn’t your first language, then it’s important that you use every opportunity to improve your language skills. Employers will expect that your standard of English will be at a similar level to native speakers. 

Volunteering or part-time work
This can be very rewarding and gives you an opportunity to further develop your employability skills. Find out about  on campus paid opportunities through the Work Experience Hub, based in the Careers Centre.

Common Good Award
GCU is the University for the Common Good, and the Common Good Award provides you with an opportunity to recognise the contributions that you make as it is a personal and skills development award.

Careers Conversations and connect with employers
GCU Careers Service organise a series of Career Conversations where you can chat informally to employers.  Use this opportunity to ask about recruitment processes for internships and graduate opportunities.Look out for ways to meet with employers either on campus, at Careers Fairs or with industry professionals who are invited on to your programme. All careers activities will be posted on our Events pages.

Social Media
Use social media to connect or follow employers that interest you, and think about sourcing companies from your home country who have links in the UK. To keep up to date with events on campus, follow GCU Careers Blog and Twitter & Facebook

CVs and Applications
Produce strong tailored CVs and covering letters for each opportunity that you apply for. We recommend that you read our Successful CVs, Covering Letters and Applications leaflets.

Careers Advice

Please arrange an appointment with a careers adviser if you would like to discuss your global job search or any other career related issues. The Careers Centre is located in the Campus Life Lounge, Level 1, George Moore building and we are open throughout the year, including vacation periods.