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employability Employer Engagement international students postgraduate

Employing International Students: A Guide for Employers

As an employer, tapping into the diverse talent pool of international students can bring numerous advantages to your organization. The recent changes in UK immigration policies have made it easier than ever to hire international graduates, allowing you to benefit from their skills and knowledge. In this blog post, we will explore two key routes for employing international students: the Graduate Route and the Skilled Worker Route. Additionally, we will cover the salary requirements and the process of obtaining a Skilled Worker route license. Let’s dive in!

The Graduate Route

The Graduate Route offers international graduates the opportunity to work or search for employment in the UK for up to two years (or three years for PhD holders). This route presents several benefits for employers:

  1. No sponsorship required: International students can apply for this unsponsored route independently, relieving employers of the sponsorship process and associated costs.
  2. No employer fees: Unlike other immigration routes, the Graduate Route does not require employers to pay any fees.
  3. Trial opportunity: This route allows you to observe and assess the performance of international graduates before committing to sponsorship.
  4. Potential for switching to the Skilled Worker route: If you find a valuable employee during their time on the Graduate Route, they can apply to switch into the Skilled Worker route, providing a seamless transition.

The Skilled Worker Route

The Skilled Worker visa has replaced the previous Tier 2 visa and offers employers even more advantages:

  1. Increased flexibility in skill levels: Employers can now sponsor jobs at or above the minimum skill level of RQF 3, equivalent to A-level qualifications, making a wider range of roles eligible for sponsorship.
  2. No time limit or cooling-off period: There are no restrictions on the length of time an employee can spend under the Skilled Worker route, providing greater control over staffing plans. Moreover, there is no cooling-off period between a person’s Skilled Worker visa and their next visa.
  3. No cap on numbers and no Resident Labour Market Test: The removal of these requirements has significantly reduced the time it takes to sponsor a Skilled Worker, allowing for quicker and smoother recruitment processes.
  4. Lower salary commitment: The lower “new entrant” rate has been extended from three to four years, making it more affordable for employers to hire international graduates.

Salary Requirements

When offering a position to graduates switching to the Skilled Worker route, it’s important to meet specific salary criteria:

  1. New entrant salary: Graduates switching within the UK from the Student route or the Graduate Route are considered new entrants. The salary offered to new entrants must be at least £20,480 per year or at least £10.10 per hour, along with meeting 70% of the “going rate” for the job.

Skilled Worker Route License: To employ international graduates under the Skilled Worker route, you will need to obtain a Skilled Worker route license. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. License application process: You can apply for a Skilled Worker route license online by following the government’s guidance on becoming a sponsor.
  2. License fees: The license fees are £536 for small or charitable sponsors and £1,476 for medium or large sponsors. These fees are one-time payments, although you will need to pay again when the license is up for renewal (typically every four years).
  3. Processing time: The government aims to process most applications within eight weeks. For faster processing, you may opt to pay £500 for a decision within ten working days.

Closing Remarks

Employing international students offers great benefits to employers, fostering diversity and bringing fresh perspectives to the workforce. The Graduate Route and the Skilled Worker Route present excellent opportunities for hiring international graduates, with streamlined processes and reduced costs. By embracing international talent, you can strengthen your organization and contribute to a global workforce.

If you have further questions or need assistance with employing international students, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Careers Department at QUB. We are here to support you in navigating the recruitment process and making the most of the talent available to you.

Find out more here.

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advice employability Employer Engagement Employer feedback Employer Insight job search

20 Ways to Develop Your Employability at Queen’s

  1. Volunteering with SU.
  2. Joining a campus club or society.
  3. Participating in an internship programme.
  4. Attending Careers fairs or employer networking event.
  5. Completing employability programmes.
  6. Seeking out mentorship or guidance from professionals in your field.
  7. Writing for a campus publication or blog.
  8. Conducting research with a professor or industry expert.
  9. Participating in study abroad programmes or exchange programs.
  10. Serving as a peer mentor or teaching assistant.
  11. Developing a personal brand and online presence through social media and blogging.
  12. Participating in business games and challenges.
  13. Attending professional development workshops and seminars.
  14. Contributing to group projects or community initiatives.
  15. Participating in design competitions or showcases.
  16. Organizing and hosting events on campus.
  17. Participating in problem-based learning projects or case studies.
  18. Joining a mentorship program or mentorship network.
  19. Attending conferences or industry events to network and learn about the latest trends in your field.
  20. Collaborating with classmates on group projects or research initiatives.
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employability Employer Engagement Employer events Employer Insight Employer Q&A MyFuture MyFuture App Uncategorised

Employer Quick Guide to the MyFuture Virtual Careers Fair (VCF): During the Fair

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR REPRESENTATIVES OFFERING ONE-ON-ONE CHAT:

  1. Each representative who has been set up in the employer virtual booth for 1 on 1 chat will see a red “View Chats” box icon appearing in their MyFuture account against the relevant fair one hour before the fair goes live. Click on this to enter your unique 1 on 1 chat area and familiarise yourself with items explained her n this and other guidance.
  2. Remember that you will be using the MyFuture built in video chat to meet students for 1 on 1 chats only, so make sure to accept this option when you go live and do not use Teams, Zoom or other conference meeting software alongside this.
  3. When you are ready to meet students, switch your chat Online, if you need to take a break, switch to Busy (do not switch to Offline until you are permanently leaving the event.
  4. Once the VCF goes live at the start time (not before), students will begin to join 1 on 1 chat queues These will show in the “Upcoming” tab in your chat view. You will see the “Start Chat” option is red for the student at the top of the queue (click on that and follow join instructions).
  • While you are talking to a student, you will also see Icons to open text chat and share screen under the incoming video. You will also note a meeting time countdown. When this reaches 0 the meeting is automatically closed. However, employer reps (not students) will also see an option to extend chat by a further 2 minutes when the 2-minute point is reached.
  • When chat is completed, click “End Chat,” make any notes (students do not see these) and start chat with the next student at the top of the queue.
    • Note re: student behaviours at VCFs: Some will join 1 on 1 chat immediately, others elect to go to group or other 1 on 1 chats first. Should you invite a student into a 1 on 1 chat, and they do not accept within 2 minutes, you can click “End Chat” and move to the next student (you will see the meeting timer starts to countdown just before they join you to let you know that they are about to come on screen.)

AFTER THE FAIR:

· Switch your status to “Offline.” You will still be able to view your “Completed” chats and notes. Employers also receive an emailed CV pack and 1 on 1 notes relating to students who elected to share their CV and/or the notes from completed 1 on 1 chats.

For more tips and advice ahead of the fair, visit our Employer Resources here

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employability Employer Engagement Employer events Employer Insight Employer Q&A MyFuture MyFuture App

Employer Quick Guide to the MyFuture Virtual Careers Fair (VCF): Prepare for the Virtual Fair

PREPARE FOR THE VIRTUAL ELEMENT OF THE SPRING FAIR:

SET UP YOUR VIRTUAL BOOTH AT LEAST TEN DAYS IN ADVANCE OF THE FAIR:

  • One representative sets up the virtual booth by logging into their MyFuture account and going to “Events & Fairs”>Virtual Event at Career Spring Fair>”+ Register”.
  • Complete the fields to set up your Standard booth. We advise that 5 minutes is suitable chat time for 1 on 1 (there is also option to extend time during a live chat).
    • Note that 1 on 1 video chat is built into the MyFuture VCF
  • You can add more than employer representative for 1 on 1 chat to help to move students through the busiest employer queues more quickly. Those who do not already have a MyFuture employer account will receive an auto-email with access to a limited account to enable them to join the live fair – ask them to look out for this.
  • Set up your Group Chat instructions by using the HTML text formatting tools to advertise a time schedule of short talks (max 20 minutes) with hyperlinks to Teams/Zoom or other connected virtual meeting that a colleague, who is not simultaneously involved in 1 on 1 chats will deliver. This chat type is very popular with students and can be repeated at scheduled intervals during the event.
  • Once you have set up your booth, click Review and Confirm, followed by Confirm to save and submit for approval by Queen’s CES. Should you wish to adjust your virtual booth later, go back into “registration,” scroll to the bottom on the page and click “Modify,” before reviewing and confirming again.
  • You and your colleagues (please communicate/share invite and guidance to them) will also be invited to a 30-minute training event (will be recorded). The following 2-minute video also provides a useful overview for participating employer representatives on how the 1 on 1 video chat works.

For more tips and advice ahead of the fair, visit our Employer Resources here

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employability Employer Engagement Employer events Employer Insight Employer Panels Employer Q&A Employers Graduate recruitment Graduate success

Autumn Fair: Employer Q&A

“What do employers look for in students and graduates for employment?”

“Its very much understanding what each individual has done with their life, not just their academic life. So, its understanding where they have worked in teams, being able to work with different people, how they have been able to manage projects” – Mark Shimmings, Deloitte

“It’s really important for students to try their best to speak to as many employers, putting themselves out there and see if they can do volunteer days, work placement opportunities different things like that because it really gives you a great idea of the industry that you want to go into and the different people you can meet and also helps to build your confidence with talking to different people and professionals” – Eilish Crickard, ESO

“A lot of our interviews as about your collaboration, your teamwork, your communication skills” – Claire Brennan, FinTrU

“We look for people who can put into practice what they’ve learned and can take a practical approach and a very personable approach to what we do” – Brian Moss, Worthingtons solicitors

“You see a lot of amazing CVs but its not really just about what you’ve studied and what you’ve done its about being able to apply those skills, being able to communicate with people… its really important to try different things  and put yourself out there and just try build your CV because lots of people have a degree nowadays so its trying to find that niche that will make you more attractable to employers” – Eilish Crickard, ESO

“Obviously, a degree is important in a lot of the roles but not all of them but yes additional to that, its how they utilise what they’ve done through their life as well as their degree and can align the skills that they’ve learnt in order to use those in their roles moving forward.” – Emma McCourt, NIE Networks

“We don’t expect people to have working experience but there are so many transferable skills from the clubs, societies.” – Niamh Heaney , FinTrU

“Extracurricular activities such as the, you can see everywhere here about the clubs and the societies that’s very important for us at Baker McKenzie as well, we have so many clubs and committees, so if they have any information like that on their CV, again just makes them stand out a little bit more.” – Sarah Fowler, Baker McKenzie


“Why do employers come to QUB campus for recruitment?”

“Queen’s produce some really excellent graduates and it’s the range of graduates that come out of Queens within Deloitte we are looking for a wide range of skills and Queen’s equips the students with those range of skills, not just academic but softer skills that we are looking for” – Mark Shimmings, Deloitte

“The reputation the university, the quality of the teaching is all huge positives for coming specifically to Belfast, and to Queen’s.” – John Paul Cooney, Bank of America

“There is a number of Queen’s students that are already working for us and that their dedication, enthusiasm and desire to work for our business is just amazing and we love having them on the team, they’re great fun and absolutely know their subject” – Helen Sayers, Cooneen Group

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Career planning Employer Engagement Employer events Employer Insight Employers Graduate success motivation Strengths-based interviews Student experience Uncategorised

6 things we learned about resilience from our Employer Hotseat

Beth MacDougall, EY

Beth MacDougall from EY delivered a session on Resilience. Here are the top takeaways.

Its normal to be nervous

“The one thing that terrified me literally more than anything was what am I gonna do for work. How am I gonna go into the workplace with this really strange title, this really long list of symptoms? And a degree that I don’t know how to be of use anymore and no experience. I was completely shook. I was absolutely terrified because all I wanted to do was work.”

But Beth goes on to say…

“I wish that I could go back to myself six years ago and say it’s going to be okay. It’s gonna be fine.”

Challenge = Change

“I learned that it is absolutely OK to challenge things in a process or on an application form, or in a procedure that you feel like you’re going to make you feel disadvantaged or unfair. There were plenty of times in an application form that actually will ask you to disclose a disability way before the ‘do you have a disability question’…that was my first lesson that it’s okay to challenge things. And that it’s the only way that we’re going to change things, by challenging and by asking the questions.”

People’s opinions are not your reality

“I remember the first time that I spoke with someone about my disability in a workplace, they actually told me that I was a health and safety risk, and it was selfish of me to be wanting to work in a workplace environment, after speaking to me for all of 2/3 minutes. I just wanted to have a conversation and explain, you know, but I can do this! But then why do I have to explain something? Why am I defined by this label that I have attached to me?”

Beth then speaks about how working as a recruiter allows her to speak to a range of people from all works of life

“We can learn from so many different people by having those conversations and again as recruiters we are in that position where we can constantly speak to a diverse group of people and learn from every single one of them. Giving someone a voice, really means that person is going to be able to bring their true authentic best self to the workplace.”

Play to your strengths (and find out how to play to your strengths!)

“Strength-based recruitment was definitely my friend…We might not have as much experience as persons who don’t have disabilities because it’s been harder for us to get that 0r maybe we’ve needed to take a break at times”

“So strength-based recruitment for me was so powerful in terms of I knew I didn’t have the experience that probably everyone else applying for this job did. I actually had no recruitment experience. I had plenty of student experience, plenty of mental health, well-being, events, development – but it was all dotted around different areas. I could only get small different bits of experience in different ways. I didn’t really know how to combine that. Until, I spoke to someone who help me do that”

Be proud and honest of who you are

“My interview at EY was actually the first time I ever disclosed my disability in an interview, outright. First question, “what are your motivations for EY” – well I have a disability. Straight up there. I’ve heard about this and this is why I did it because EY’s brand was all about a culture of belonging – our world your way. And I really truly believe that. I could see the images I could see the stories and I could see the things EY were doing to support people like me.”

“70% of people with a disability actually have an invisible disability which brings its own challenges. You can hide that until you get into your workplace, but if without disclosing a disability it’s very hard to get the support that you might need to be able to thrive and employ yourself the way that you want to.”

Who you are will show in what you do

Beth speaks about how people with different disabilities are often overlooked for employment and workplace stigma towards those disabilities

“People with disabilities are the largest pool of untapped talent. And that is because we do have, again those natural barriers, and sometimes that natural stigma of – traditionally disabled has meant something that someone cannot do.Whereas I would challenge that… people with disabilities are nature’s greatest problem solvers. We have to learn to live in a world that isn’t actually built always for us. We have to find different ways to do things. Which kind of brings me to my final point in terms of people with disabilities are some of the most valuable workforce that you can bring into an organisation. Those qualities of resilience communication, because you’re constantly having to communicate things, and ask for things and explain. Problem solving, creativity innovation, you name it, a person with a disability has to show that every single day in their life.”

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Employer Engagement Employer events Employer Insight Employer Panels Employer Q&A student success Student success stories Uncategorised

Graduate success story: Eoin Deeney, Baker McKenzie

Eoin Deeney

My name is Eoin Deeney, I’m a Data Privacy Specialist at Baker McKenzie and I studied Law at undergraduate at Queen’s and a postgraduate degree in Law and Governance as well at Queen’s.

Describe your current role.

As part of my current role, I help with the firm’s compliance efforts in the space of data privacy, so that involves working with colleagues across the globe and understanding the data privacy laws and regulations across the world and how the firm can comply with those laws and regulations. I suppose my favourite part of my role is working within the firm itself and the people that I work with across the globe, that they’re globally-minded and like-minded as well and also that it allows me to work in the office with like-minded people but also the ability to work from home and work in a hybrid fashion as well.

How did you get your current role?

After graduating from Queen’s I spent a couple of years in Industry getting experience, which then gave me the opportunity to join Baker McKenzie as a legal professional. Shortly thereafter I became a Team Lead within the Legal Professional team and then I also went to another organisation after that to gain experience in the field of Data Privacy which then prompted the opportunity to return to the firm in my current capacity as a Data Privacy Specialist.

What interview tips do you have for students/ graduates?

The advice I would give to students and graduates when it comes to interviews would be to be themselves, to be authentic and don’t feel that you have to be a certain version or acertain caricature of someone that the employer wants to see because ultimately, if successful in that role, we’re going to be working with you and that’s what we want to see in the interview process: the person that we’re going to be working with, not a caricature of the person you think you ought to be.

What soft skills are most important in your role?

The soft skill that’s most important in my role would be an openness and willingness to learn and I suppose really without that I wouldn’t be in the role that I am currently in because this field wasn’t as prevalent as it is now when I was at university so I would encourage students and graduates to be open and take advantage of opportunities that present themselves by being open-minded and willing to learn.

What training did you get when you started the role?

When I first joined Baker McKenzie I was presented with a suite of classroom trainings which were invaluable in getting to know the organisation and the types of work that we were engaging in but I suppose the most important training that I’ve had has been on the job and learning from more experienced peers and colleagues that have experience of the business and of their subject matter.

How have the people in your organisation inspired you?

What I think about the people that I work with and the organisation and what inspires me about them; I suppose it’s their agility of mind and their ability to apply themselves to a variety of different problems and come up with a variety of innovative solutions. You know, those problems will vary on a day-by-day basis but they’re always agile and thinking of innovative solutions to those problems.

Why would you recommend students and graduates apply to your firm?

I would recommend Baker McKenzie to any student or graduate for two reasons, really. One, it’s a fantastic place to start and develop your career, especially if you’re not entirely sure where you would like your career to go. There’s a number of opportunities that will be available to you. Personally, my career has ended up going in the direction that I didn’t know it would go in but I’m in a job that I love and absolutely enjoy every day. I suppose the second reason I would recommend it is really the people and the people make the organisation. There’s a real culture of friendship; there’s any number of clubs and societies that you can get involved in and explore interests that you may have or may be wanting to develop. So, I suppose the people and the opportunities available would be the reasons I’d recommend the firm to any student or graduate.

Baker McKenzie are proud sponsors of our Autumn Fair

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Employer Engagement Employer events Employer Insight Employer Panels Employer Q&A student success Student success stories Uncategorised

Workplace Insight: Holly Emerson, Baker McKenzie

Holly Emerson

My name is Holly Emerson and I’m a Legal Professional at Baker McKenzie.

What are the values of your organisation?

Baker McKenzie asked people at the firm how they would describe the firm and they come up with brave, brilliant and kind and I think those values really some up what the firm stands for. People are brave. They are not afraid to challenge convention. They aren’t afraid to innovate. People are brilliant. They are always striving to progress at the firm and people at the firm are kind. They aren’t just kind in the work that they do for charities, but they’re also kind in that they treat their colleagues with respect.

How inclusive an environment is your organisation?

Inclusion and diversity is integral at Baker McKenzie. We have 77 offices which means that you could be working with people from New York or Singapore and it truly shows that inclusion and diversity is a major part of daily life at Baker McKenzie.

What social events bond you as a team?

Baker Mackenzie has plenty of social events every month. There are drinks on the terrace, we have summer BBQs, Christmas parties and as well as that there are clubs and committees like LGBTQ committee and the charity committee who also hold events as well.

How easy is it to progress and carve out a career in your organisation?

In the year that I have been at Baker McKenzie, I started by taking comprehensive training which has allowed me to be seconded to the Data Privacy team at Baker McKenzie which I really enjoy and this opportunity is available across multiple functions. The opportunities are here just as long as you are willing to take them.

What personal attributes are you looking for in recruits?

The sort of person who would fit in at Baker Mackenzie is somebody who has a positive attitude, who is willing to learn, is a team player. We work with many different teams at Baker McKenzie so somebody who works well at collaborating in teams would fit in really well at Baker McKenzie.

Baker McKenzie are proud sponsors of our Autumn Fair

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Employer Engagement Employer events Employer Insight Employer Panels Employer Q&A student success Student success stories Uncategorised

Graduate Success story: Luca StClair,Baker McKenzie

Luca StClair

Hi, I’m Luca and I’m a Legal Professional at Baker McKenzie.

Why are you excited to come to the Autumn Fair?

As a Queen’s alumni myself, it was at the Autumn Fair that I met the team at Baker McKenzie and what eventually led me to eventually apply to the firm so we’re excited to show you what’s on offer and who we really are as a team.

What opportunities will you be showcasing at the Fair?

We don’t just have legal roles on offer at Baker McKenzie, there are opportunities for students to get jobs across a range of departments here, such as marketing, finance and IT and many more.

What is the best thing about working at your organisation?

Aside from the opportunity of working for a global law firm, the best thing about working at Baker McKenzie is the people. Everyone is so supportive and welcoming and is really committed and driven to seeing you succeed in your career. There’s also lots of opportunities for you to personally and professionally develop yourself through the various training and development programmes on offer and as well as this the firm is very social and it’s really fun place to work.

Why should students visit your stall?

I think students should visit our stall to hear more about the opportunities on offer at Baker McKenzie. As well as this, it would be a great opportunity for you to meet the team and learn a bit more about our culture.

How would a student impress you at the Fair?

Students can impress us at the Autumn Fair by knowing who we are and what we stand for. Aside from this, we want you to be your true authentic self and a tip from me would be to have any questions ready about the work we do or the opportunities on offer.

Baker McKenzie are proud sponsors of our Autumn Fair

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Employer Engagement Employer events Employer Insight Employer Panels Employer Q&A student success Student success stories

Graduate Success Story, Louise Dooley,Andor

Louise Dooley

Hello everyone, my name is Louise Dooley

I am Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist with Andor Technology, part of the Oxford Instruments Group. I joined Andor in April 2021, I’m based in Belfast and I recruit for positions for our Belfast site and across the EMEA region. I completed my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at Queen’s University Belfast and I’ve worked in various sectors and in a number of different roles in recruitment for the last 20-years.

Why are you excited to come to the Autumn Fair?

Andor is a spinner? company from Queen’s University Belfast so we’ve always had a very very close relationship with the university and have continued to develop that to work with several of the schools on their employer engagement events and we are absolutely delighted to be one of the key sponsors for the Careers Fair this autumn. Queen’s has an excellent range of degree pathways and a very diverse student population which is important to us. We find that not only are Queen’s students academically strong, but they’re also well supported on their journey into the workplace by the Careers service.

What opportunities will you be showcasing at the Fair?

Andor offer a range of entry-level positions to join our business. In July 2022 we doubled our 12-month placement opportunities for students and we plan to increased that again in summer 2023. Our placement opportunities cover the areas of Manufacturing Engineering, Software Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electronics, FPGA and front-end web development. This year we’re also expanding that to include sales, operations and supply chain positions. Our graduate roles are similar to those I’ve already mentioned but also include Optical Engineering and we offer some potential summer internships as well for students who are at the earlier stages in their degree.

What is the best thing about working at your organisation?

That’s certainly a big question to answer. It’s great to be part of a global leading company which was founded right here in Belfast and it’s really making a huge difference in the world. Some of our products are being used to develop cures for cancer, explore deeper into space and examine clean energy sources. I don’t think there’s too many companies in Northern Ireland who could say NASA is one of their customers. Also everyone’s input is very much valued, regardless of whether you’re writing code, designing a PCB board, testing equipment or paying an invoice, the company doesn’t function without every single person’s input. We’re very innovative in Andor and hard-working and we’ve access to a huge number of employee assistance programs, mental health provisions but we’re also a very fun place to work and have lots of social activities for example dog walks, fitness bootcamps and quizzes.

Why should students visit your virtual and or online stall?

At Andor we are very much looking forward to attending the virtual and in-person Careers Fairs this year at Queen’s University Belfast. We have various levels of staff who will be available on the day to speak to you about your career paths and they can give you advice on where they came from and how they reached the positions they’re in today. We have some Senior Engineers, we have some graduates and some of our current placement students will also be available (on the) day. So they can really give you a good insight into their experience with us.

How would a student impress you at the Fair?

We are very much looking to hear from students from within Engineering, Physics and the Business Disciplines. Engineering, that really includes the Mechanical, Manufacturing, Electronics and Software Engineering Disciplines, Physics, that’s right across whether it’s the MSci or also PhD students as well and the broad spectrum of Business degrees as well as they can support our supply chain and wider operations functions as well.

Andor are proud sponsors of our Autumn Fair