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THE UK: Visa Guides

Top tips on how to apply for a post-study visa in the UK

Get all the top tips about how to apply for a working visa after your studies in the UK from our friends at Student Circus.

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When Dhruv Krishnaraj came to the UK to study a master’s degree in 2015, he was excited by the prospect of finding work in the country – like a lot of international students. However, he soon discovered that it was not as easy as he was hoping it would be. There was little support available for him, and he was often applying to companies with limited knowledge of their visa policies.

 

He noticed that there was little help for international students when it came to applying for a post-study visa. But what could he do to change this? Dhruv and fellow international student Tripti Maheshwari came up with the idea of creating a company to support students through the post-study visa application process in the UK. From this moment, Student Circus was born.

 

 

“Student Circus is a dedicated job search platform for international students in the UK.” He says, “We pre-filter jobs & internships from employers who are accepting applications from international students. The idea sprung out when we were at university and faced the difficulty [with UK visas] first-hand.”

 

We met up with Tripti and Dhruv to pick their brains about the post-study UK visa process, and get them to share some top tips on how to get through the application process, so that a company will provide you with a Tier 2 visa. Here they are:

 

Apply for jobs early

It will seem like a simple bit of advice, but it really is crucial. University work may be keeping you busy, but you must take some time out to look for jobs. Most successful applicants for the Tier 2 visa will have a guaranteed job offer to follow their studies. Apply as early as possible in your final year of university so that you have time to get to grips with the graduate recruitment cycle in the UK, and you can improve your application throughout the year.

 

 

“International students are unaware of the longer application and interview process compared to other countries, and often don’t understand the need to apply earlier.” Says Dhruv, “A key mistake that students do is wait until the end of their degree to apply – they have almost reduced their chances to nil to secure a job in the UK [by doing that].”

 

Don’t forget that the average time it takes to go from application to job is between 20 and 30 days, so make sure you are patient with employers. For most graduate schemes, you will need to apply within the first couple of months of your final year of university (September/October ideally) to have a good chance of getting accepted onto it.

 

Dhruv has more advice on the application front, “[Students] should perfect their CV, tailor their cover letter to the particular job, practice the various psychometric tests and assessment centres.”

 

Understand the process

“Having an understanding of the company - it’s work, culture and business, and of course it’s hiring policies - is very important.”

 

You can gain an understanding of the company by doing some research about it online, understanding its vision and connecting with staff/alumni from your university who have worked there.

 

“Next, they [students] need to understand immigration and visa regulations, because this is the single most important piece of information that international students need to be aware of in order to get a Tier 2 work visa.”

 

Check out this article for more advice on the post-study visa system in the UK.

 

Be a leader

Coming to study and work in a new country is daunting for even the most confident of international students. But, in order to show what an asset you can be to the company, you need to prove that you are not fazed by being in a new country and show that you are a natural communicator.

 

But how can you show this? Dhruv has a suggestion, “Engaging in events at university can overcome this barrier. The best way to start is by being part of societies to attend events. It’s even better to be to be responsible for organising the event as a part of the committee. The key is to positively stand out from the crowd and make yourself get noticed.”

 

Utilise your university’s support services

Most universities will have a careers service and a team that will provide advice on immigration and visas. Make sure you get to know these groups of people as early as you can, and get the advice you need from them throughout your time at university.

 

“All the information that universities give is very useful right from the start.” Dhruv says, “They helped me make my profile in terms of a top-notch CV and cover letter. The visa team was hands-on with communicating the rules for employment.”

 

“I feel there is only one disconnect – when a student goes to seek career advice from the Careers team, they are not authorised to give visa information. So, they go to the visa team, but they are not trained to give career advice! This is exactly what Student Circus is solving – a seamless extension between the careers team and visa team.”

 

For more guidance on support services in UK universities, have a look at this article.

 

Don’t give up!

Lastly, we have a bit of a warning for you: there will be rejections along the way! However, you cannot let this get you down. Ask the company for feedback, see what you can do better and improve for the next application.

 

Dhruv agrees, “I think being open to feedback is critical. Practice mock interviews and tests and seek reviews from other people on your performance. Universities particularly have great resources for this.”

 

“It is not impossible to get a job in the UK! You just have to apply to the right places at the right time”, Dhruv explains.

 

 

“We at Student Circus are trying to make it simpler but it’s important not to give up. It is demanding for anyone to find a job in the UK due to the competitive market scenario - be it international or home student. It’s important to stay motivated and keep applying.”

 

Visit the Student Circus website to make the most of the various international student-friendly jobs and internships they have on offer.

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About Author

Raif is a huge football fan and loves an infographic. He studied on the NCTJ-accredited University of Sheffield Journalism course, which has recently been voted the UK's number one for journalism in the Guardian's University League Table. Raif will look out for any mentions on social media, and will always be happy to help with any queries on your study abroad journey.

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