‘Our goal is to empower students based on their talent – not the colour of their passports’

Author: Louise Rasmussen

This article is by Louise Rasmussen and is part of Changing the Narrative. Articles in this series are written by student or early-career journalists who took part in The Local’s training course on solutions-focused migration reporting. Find out more about the project here.

Every year more than 300,000 non-EU students move to the UK to study – many of whom need a student visa – a so-called Tier 4 visa – to live and study in the country. In 2019 alone, the UK Home Office granted roughly 277,000 student visas. Thousands of international students go on to look for employment in the UK after they graduate.

However, finding a job is more difficult than it is for their European counterparts for two reasons: The Tier 4 visa is time-limited, meaning that students often only have a month or two to find a job after they graduate before having to leave the country. More importantly, non-EU citizens need to find an employer who is willing to sponsor their work visa, also known as a Tier 2 visa.

Tripti Maheshwari and Dhruv Krishnaraj were both looking for jobs in the UK after graduating with a Master’s from City University of London and the University of Bristol respectively. As Indian nationals, they had to find an employer who would be able and willing to sponsor their work visa.

Currently, just under 31,000 companies in the UK have acquired the government license to be able to sponsor Tier 2 visas in the first place. However, most job adverts don’t even indicate whether the employer sponsors visas or not.

“It became like a matter of trial and error, where you are lucky to get a reply,” Tripti remembers. After a frustrating period of job seeking, they approached the university’s career service, expecting to hear about an online job portal that would allow international students to filter opportunities and licensed employers. But there was no such thing.

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