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Working in the UK

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International students finding work in the UK
2:02pm 16 Nov 2023

Information on how to find work in the UK

During your studies

Can I get work in the UK on my student visa?

Most international students’ visas allow them to work part-time in the UK while they are studying.

For all the latest information and how it applies to you, plus to check any recent changes, check out the UK government’s information and advice for international students.

What is a National Insurance (NI) number and do I need one?

If you want to work in the UK, you will need a National Insurance (NI) number. Your NI number is a unique personal number which is used to record your National Insurance (NI) contributions. You do not need to have a National Insurance Number to apply for work but you must have one before you start a job. Please head to the website for details on how to obtain a NI Number.

What kind of work can I do in the UK during my studies?

You can undertake a part-time paid job, you can do some volunteering, plus you can also undertake career related work experience such as internships and placements.

After your studies

How can I get work in the UK after I finish my degree?

Once your student visa expires, it is possible to work in the UK if you are able to secure one of the visas listed here.

Please note that although the Home Office have a registered list of employer sponsors in relation to the Skilled Worker visa, some of these employers may only choose to sponsor for particular levels of position or certain roles.

Will UK employers be interested in me?

You have so much to offer – for example, as well as your academic ability, you have lived in different countries and experienced different cultures, you have the drive and motivation to study in and adapt to a very new environment and you may speak more than one language proficiently.

It is important though that you demonstrate your ability to compete with UK nationals in your applications, ensuring your written English is strong and providing evidence of how you meet the criteria for the jobs you apply for.  Getting UK work experience and making professional connections will be key to your success.  See our advice on how you can develop your English language skills on the “Preparing for your future” page.

It is also important to know that many UK employers are not familiar with the visas available to international students so it is very important that you develop knowledge of UK visas yourself so you can educate employers when you need to.

It is important for you to know as well that UK employers sometimes have a preference for the visa you are on – for example, if they are recruiting you for a role that is due to last longer than two years, they may prefer to sponsor you under the Skilled Worker visa rather than be limited by the shorter length of the Graduate Route visa.

Student Circus - provides UK opportunities with employers sponsoring international students and graduates. Log in to this site using your usual BCU login details.

Take a look at this presentation by Student Circus to support you to Kick start your UK career journey.

Target the right UK employer: eCareersGrad provides a searchable list by sector/company of the employers who have provided visa sponsorships over the last three years and includes testimonials and interactive guides to sourcing UK jobs and work experience. Use your BCU email address to access this resource.

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