In this post I talk about the main reasons why international graduates are not getting jobs in UK. You will learn the main issues which are stopping international graduates and what you can do to increase your chances of securing a job with sponsorship.

Now this is a question that we are asked frequently at Inter-CV. Why are internationals students not getting jobs in the UK?

Is it the government? Is it because the UK employers don’t want international applicants? Is it because of Brexit?

The reality is that if you are an international graduate looking for a job in the UK it is not easy and there seems to be a lot of confusing information out there regarding jobs with sponsorship.

Add this to the task of trying to balance all of your obligations of your course at university, adapting to new surroundings and culture and it’s easy to see why many international students feel as though they are fighting a losing battle.

What you will find out from this article are the real reasons why international graduates are not finding jobs in the UK. Most importantly you will find out what you can do about it to improve your chances of securing one with a sponsorship visa.


The first reason why we see  international students not getting jobs in the UK with sponsorship is because they are not educated about their options.

This is a two sided problem because in addition to knowing what your options are, you need to see if they align to the long term career plans you have set for yourself.

This is mainly tied to the length of time that you are permitted to stay in the UK with the working visa you have received sponsorship for.

As many of you will know by now, your main options for sponsorship are the Tier 2 visa and the Tier 5 GAE visa. Most jobs under the tier 2 visa will last for 2 – 3 years where at the end you will have the option to stay permanently depending on your performance .

The jobs under Tier 5 GAE visa  will allow you to stay up to 2 years maximum. However at the end of this period you will have to leave the UK as this cannot turn into a permanent job.

What you need to ask yourself if which of these 2 visa option more closely align to my long term plans?

Do you want to stay in the UK and find a long term permanent position? Are you just looking for a temporary role for a year or two to get some international work experience on your Cv and open up more opportunities in the future. Are you open to both?

Either way you need to be clear on this and what we see from many graduates is that their inability to decide on what the plan is affects their decision making and where they allocate their time when searching for a job with sponsorship.

Many graduates end up wasting time applying to the wrong types of roles simply because they are unclear on what to focus on. Get yourself organised on this first step and you will start off on the right path.

Underestimating the UK graduate recruitment process 

This is a big issue for international students when trying to find work in the UK with sponsorship. Once you know what your goals are, and understand the visa options for finding the right jobs, your next obstacle will be the graduate recruitment process.

Especially for the Tier 2 visa this is often an extremely long and complex process. You will need to know what to expect, and you will need to make time to prepare for the multiple stages required.

The biggest problem we see international students struggle with is that they are unable to balance their studies along with the multiple stages they need to prepare for.

The most common stages you will encounter for the Tier 2 or Tier 5 Visa are the following:

Application stage (CV, cover letter, application form)

Psychometric tests (verbal, logical, numerical, diametric, situational judgement etc)

Video / Digital / Telephone interview

Assessment centre ( In-tray exercise, E-tray exercise, Online tests, Group exercises, Presentations, final face to face interview)

The reality is that many of you will not be able to handle the time required to prepare for these multiple stages while doing your course at university. Again this is a question that you need to ask yourself and if you are serious about finding a job with sponsorship, you will need to be highly organised and set yourself allocated time to dedicate to this.

If you are interested in finding our more about each specific stage of the UK graduate recruitment process you can find out more about it here.

Starting the whole process far too late

Timing is the last crucial part of why international graduates are not getting jobs in the UK. There are far too many of you who are starting the process far too late.


This is an error made by so many graduates, mainly due to the fact that many of you assume that finding a job in the UK with sponsorship is similar to finding a normal job anywhere.

Even if you have 2 – 3 months left on your tier 4 visa after your course ends, you will not have enough time as you need to not only find the right vacancies, pass the recruitment process, then finally you will need to start the process of changing your visa over from the Tier 4, to the Tier 2 or Tier 5.

If you include the time it may take for employers to notify you of whether you have passed a particular stage in the recruitment process (which sometimes takes weeks), you will see that 2 – 3 months is simply not enough. I recommend having a minimum of 4 – 6 months for the whole process.

An extremely important thing that you need to remember is that you need to receive the job offer ideally before your Tier 4 visa ends. Particularly with the Tier 2 visa, once your student visa expires any employer interested in hiring you will need to do a resident labour market test (RLMT).

The RLMT costs UK companies time and money to do and some employers who hold a Tier 2 sponsorship license will not even accept applicants who do not have a Tier 4 visa at the time of the job offer. This is why you need to calculate time for this also when looking for a sponsorship job.

With the Tier 5 visa it is slightly different. You have up to 12 months after your Tier 4 ends to receive a job offer from a UK company. However, you need to be aware that many UK employers may want a face to face interview and if you are not in the country, you will have to fly back just to have the interview.

Also you need to think about the situation of having multiple interviews all on different dates. This will cost you much more time and money for flights and accommodation so we recommend that you also aim to get a Tier 5 job offer while you are still in the UK with your student visa.


As you may have noticed by now, in all of the reasons that I have written about why international graduates are not getting jobs in the UK, I have not mentioned anything regarding Brexit, employers not wanting to hire international candidates or the UK government.

This is because the only thing stopping you getting a job in the UK, is YOU!

Everything I have mentioned  are related to things that are in control of the individual who wants to find a job, not other outside influences.

Of course the process to find a job for sponsorship is long and at some points complex but in reality, what visa process which can lead to work or permanently stay in any country is easy?

It is something which is unavoidable so the responsibility is on you and what actions you take to achieve your goal of securing a job in the UK.

If you are serious then you will read all of the information about the visa options, learn how to find the right jobs with sponsorship, educate yourself and allocate time to prepare for the multiple stages of the recruitment process, and set yourself a goal for the number of applications you will do.

This is the difference between those who are successful in getting a job and those who just talk about it. The question is, which one are you?

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