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:
No sponsorship required: International students can apply for this unsponsored route independently, relieving employers of the sponsorship process and associated costs.
No employer fees: Unlike other immigration routes, the Graduate Route does not require employers to pay any fees.
Trial opportunity: This route allows you to observe and assess the performance of international graduates before committing to sponsorship.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
When offering a position to graduates switching to the Skilled Worker route, it’s important to meet specific salary criteria:
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:
License application process: You can apply for a Skilled Worker route license online by following the government’s guidance on becoming a sponsor.
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).
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.
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.
Queen’s alum Brian O’Rourke was a 2003 scholar and the experience changed his life so much that he is still in Japan to this day working as a senior researcher at the National Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), one of Japan’s largest public research organisations. Here is his story.
While I had visited Tokyo several times during the course of my PhD, when I arrived with my fellow scholars in September 2003, I couldn’t have imagined how the next 20 months would shape the rest of my life and career. Apart from the incredible immersion in Japanese language and culture, during that eventful period I both met my future wife and began research collaborations with my present work colleagues.
I am now a senior researcher at the National Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), based in Tsukuba, Ibaraki prefecture. AIST is one of Japan’s largest public research organisations and is mostly funded through the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. AIST’s goal is the development of technology useful to Japanese industry and to support commercialisation of research. In my own research group, we use exotic particle beams like positrons (the antimatter particles of electrons) and neutrons to probe and characterise novel materials. Presenting our research at international and domestic meetings has given me plenty of opportunity for interaction with other researchers doing similar work both inside Japan and internationally.
My main passion outside work and family life is cycling, especially cycle touring around Japan. The roots of this hobby can also be traced back to the Daiwa Scholarship when I brought my bike to my homestay in Yamagata and decided to finish my stay by cycling back to Tokyo. Since then, I have taken every opportunity to go touring when I can and just last year, during a short trip to Kyushu, I completed a long-held ambition to cycle in each of Japan’s 47 prefectures.
The Daiwa Scholarship continues to influence my life after all these years and I am extremely grateful for all the opportunities afforded to me through my participation. This appreciation has been made more acute in these times of travel restrictions due to the global pandemic. I hope the barriers imposed by the virus will soon be overcome and the opportunities for cultural exchange will remain strong into the future.
Applications are now open for this unique funded programme of language study, work placement and homestay in Japan. Daiwa Scholarships offer young, talented UK citizens aged between 21 and 35 with strong leadership potential the opportunity to acquire Japanese language skills and to access expertise and knowledge relevant to your career goals. No previous experience of Japan is necessary.
Takeaway 1:There is psychology behind the graduate application process
Sarah McKeag, Associate Director, from EY Belfast, who also sponsor the event, gave an insightful talk on their strength-based recruitment process. They engage the Centre for Applied Positive Psychology to help assess students. It’s not as scary as it sounds. Sarah explained that strength-based recruitment is not about the experience you have had, but about your potential as a leader.
“The different between strength and competency based interviews is that competency can be learned. Strength-based assessment is all about your natural energy and enthusiasm. The challenge for students is how they portray that energy during the virtual recruitment process, she said.
Takeaway 2:Some of the key strengths employers look for
Sarah listed the ten strengths EY assess against – have them in your mind during the graduate recruitment process:
In the know
“We are not looking for students to have reams of work experience or to have done work experience with us or another accountancy firm,” said Sarah. “In our assessment centre, we will give candidates a situation or a task and we will ask them how they feel about that. We may give them a number of tasks and ask them to choose their preferred five. We may give them a group activity. Afterwards, we ask them to evaluate what they would do differently,” said Sarah.
Takeaway 3:How you cope during lockdown could help get you hired
Being adaptable and resilient is huge for students who we have onboarded in last six months. This year, many students started uni in a different way than they would have envisaged. Things are changing for us all. It’s how you manage that change process,” says Sarah.
Takeaway 4:Teamwork matters
“Listening to colleagues, make them feel valued and supported. Everyone has an important role to play. We are one big family. Leadership and Teamwork is about integrity and treating colleagues and our teams with respect whilst modelling and expecting excellence by helping others fulfil their potential.” said Sara Venning from NI Water
Takeaway 5:Challenges keep work interesting
“I’ve been Chief Executive for siz year. I love my job I love that no two days are the same. I’m always learning something new, constantly innovating and problem solving, and I love that what we do makes a difference to people’s lives across NI,” said Sara Venning from NI Water
While Natasha Sayee from SONI Ltd added: “I am passionate about what I do. If it’s challenging, then I bring my best every day. If it forces me to drive hard, then it is something I will stick with.
Takeaway 6:You can’t be an island
“To be truly successful, you need to take your passion and use it to collaborate with and motivate others. Passionate people are fierce; we are strong. Don’t do a solo run, find your squad, you will achieve so much more together,” said Natasha Sayee from SONI Ltd.
Takeaway 7:Go in strong in a virtual interview
“Plant yourself like an oak tree and allow yourself time to blossom,” said Natasha Sayee from SONI Ltd.
If you missed Day One of our Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair, you missed some golden nuggets of advice about graduate recruitment. Lucky for you, we’ve pulled together some top tips below. If you want more expert help navigating the graduate recruitment landscape, don’t miss Day Two of the fair.
“Your career can be a winding path, take opportunities that come your way. You might find your first job isn’t your dream job but it will allow you to grow into a role that is your dream job.”
Mary McLaughlin, Queen’s Careers Consultant.
2. Networking is a key stage of research
“Networking is so important to learn about the career paths of other people and to where they are. It can help you determine if you are a good fit but also help you learn about other jobs you might not otherwise have heard about.”
Diane Masson, Queen’s Careers Consultant
3. Virtual Fairs have the same principals as traditional fairs.
“The principals of a virtual fair are the same. It’s about networking with employers. Finding out about the work culture as well. Is it an organisation you would thrive in and develop and grow? Does it sit with your own values and your own interests? It’s also about finding out about job search and recruitment. Asking questions about when employers recruit and how they recruit. What are those cycles, do you know when their deadlines are? What is there selection process? A Fair is opportunity to find out about those things. It is unlikely that you will leave with a job, but you will leave armed with information. The more informed you are, the more equipped you are to make good career decisions. And the better informed you will be about how to perform well in the selection process.”
Diane Masson, Queen’s Careers Consultant
4. MyFuture contains a wealth of opportunities
“Jobs that are advertised on MyFuture are from employers who are targeting Queen’s students, so employers who are on MyFuture want YOU.
“You can find placements, internships, Global Opportunities and even insight days, which will enable you to find out about the organisation. International students can access Student Circus to find work in the UK. You just need your QUB email and password to access a range of opportunities. You can set filters for industry and sector and get job alerts specific for you.”
Diane Masson, Queen’s Careers Consultant
5. Read the small print on a job description
“Read the information about a job and the detail. You might dismiss a job without reading the detail and if you read the information, you might discover it is applicable to you.”
Diane Masson, Queen’s Careers Consultant
6. There are loads of places to find jobs
“Websites like Prospects, Target Jobs, GradIreland are a great resources. You also have industry specific sites like Gradcracker – which is STEM sector specific. Company websites are also a good resource. Big graduate recruiters have lots of info on own websites and of course you can also find lots of information of the Careers Service website.”
Diane Masson, Queen’s Careers Consultant
7. It’s never too early to look for jobs
“Don’t leave to last minute. That applies to both your job search and the application process. It is never too early to start your research. That is what this virtual fair is all about. Research sectors you want to work in.”
Diane Masson, Queen’s Careers Consultant
8. Knowing yourself is half the battle
“Knowing yourself and identifying your skills is really important. Think through your experiences and how those are going to help in your career.”
Mary McLaughlin, Queen’s Careers Consultant
9. Don’t downplay your skills
“Sometimes we have a tendency to downplay our skills. Think through part-time jobs and what type of skills you learned. Those are skills any employer will want to have. It’s not just that you stacked shelves at the supermarket, for example, you also communicated with your colleagues and helped others on the team. Those are skills that make you a great fit for any role.”
(Psst! There are over 300 jobs on offer over the two days!)
Wow! What a jam-packed day of amazing exhibitors we had yesterday at the Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair. We have over 70+ more organisations coming today, so make sure you come back and check them out. The Day Two event lobby is already open, so you can pop in and check out employers and jobs, request interview slots with selected employers and follow employers to receive alerts.
Here are just some of the awesome companies signed up for Day Two – they are all hiring students just like you! If you haven’t registered yet, you can do so here:
The Almac Group is an established contract development and manufacturing organisation providing an extensive range of integrated services across the drug development lifecycle to the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors globally.
You can upload your CV to your profile, so that will let an employer know what you’ve done. The key is to articulate what you have learned and the skills you have collected along the way. Employers want to know what skills and experience you can bring to the role. Below you will find a list of top skills employers told us they are looking for in student and graduate recruits, along with a brief explainer. Tag as many of these as you can to your online profile ahead of the event.
Cognitive/intellectual skills, such as:
Problem solving:Ability to analyse issues, identify barriers and offer/implement potential solutions. This may involve prioritising tasks, coping with complexity, setting achievable goals and taking action. It may also involve innovation at relevant points.
(Other terms might include – Thinking creatively/Decision making)
Applying subject knowledge and understanding: potentially from the degree pathway.
(This might also include researching the types of industry/roles that the subject knowledge could lead to and mechanisms for doing this.)
Professional attributes/attitudes such as:
Communication skills: the ability to communicate effectively in a range of professional contexts (both orally and in writing).
(Could also include body language, presentation skills, listening skills, communication styles)
Teamwork: the ability to work with others in a team, to communicate, influence, negotiate, demonstrating adaptability/flexibility, creativity, initiative, leadership and decision-making.
(Might include knowledge of their teamworking style, types of teams, working with remote teams, leading teams, running meetings)
Interpersonal skills:includes ability to engage with and motivate others, sensitivity, global and cultural awareness, moral and ethical awareness and the ability to adjust behaviour accordingly.
(Other terms might include – Emotional intelligence, self-awareness, building on strengths, self-management)
Leadership skills: leading other individuals or groups through a set of complex decisions as part of goal achievement within projects or significant and challenging activities.
Utilise modern technology:associated with work place or work-related activity.
Information technology skills: includes ability to learn, apply and exploit relevant IT programmes.
Business and organisational skills such as:
Business operational skills/ Commercial awareness: understanding of relevant commercial, marketing, management and/or financial processes/principles. Awareness of differences in organisational cultures and practices.
Business communication skills: Written, verbal and/or online.
(Could also include – Business etiquette, coaching, collaboration, influencing others)
Language Skills and Cultural Awareness
Proficiency in foreign languages: developed through courses or overseas experiences.
Cultural awareness/intelligence: and the ability to implement this in a variety of multicultural contexts.
If you haven’t registered for the Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair yet, make sure you do it today. Use your QUB email to enjoy uninterrupted access to our virtual platforms and register for both days so you can experience everything on offer.
FORGET PALM PRESSING AND SWAPPING BUSINESS CARDS, NETWORKING IN THE REMOTE WORKING ERA IS AS EASY AS ONE, TWO, TWEET
As a university student, you’ve probably been advised to start building your professional network while you are still at university – but what does that mean and where do you start?
Sandra Scannell Head of the Employer Engagement Team at Queen’s explains: “A great degree can get you far, but the network and connections you build at university can help you get there faster. While the old adage ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is not entirely accurate – a brilliant academic qualification makes you more likely to get a job than a non-graduate (89 per cent compared to 72 per cent, according to the Department for Education) – networking remains an essential part of the graduate job hunt. According to recent statistics from LinkedIn, as much 85 per cent of jobs are filled via networking. No matter what way you cut it, it’s important to know people.”
Networking without the stress
Traditionally, networking on campus might have meant completing a circuit of the Whitla Hall at the annual Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair, collecting handshakes, business cards and solid job leads. All very well if you are the confident type; slightly awkward and stressful if you are not. This year, however, the event is being hosted virtually – levelly the playing field.
“The virtual platform dispenses with a lot of the embarrassment and stress that comes as part of a traditional networking environment– especially if you are more introverted or less confident,” says Sandra. “You can ask questions directly to recruiters and companies via live chat instead of navigating the throngs to speak to a busy recruiter, who is already being bombarded with questions. You can hone your ‘elevator pitch’ into a succinct 100-word introduction on an online profile, giving you a stronger chance to get noticed. A few simple clicks and you can add you CV and the URL to your LinkedIn profile. Names and key details are displayed on screen – meaning awkward introductions are also dispensed off.”
As easy as Instagram
The good news is, if you’ve ever used Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you know how to network online. “The Instagram generation are more than capable of flexing to new ways of working and are very comfortable networking in the digital realm,” says Sandra. “Facebook was launched in 2004, meaning students enrolling in 2022 will be the first generation of university students for who social networking has always existed. You have the tools to build an online brand: whether its chronicling your life on your Instagram grid or presenting a professional profile picture, you are more than ready to network from your laptop.”
The golden rules
While modern day networking is as easy as clicking a button, some golden rules still apply, of course. “Preparation is key,” says Sandra. “Doing your research on a company and making sure your CV is tailored to the job you want, for starters. Our Careers Consultants are still on-hand to walk you through the recruitment and application process. But, rest assured, you already have a lot of digital tools in your armour – and you know how to use them.”
She adds: “Professional networking sites like LinkedIn allow you to sell your personal brand with key words and phrases relating to your target industry, well-written profiles and a strong professional headline. You can join LinkedIn professional groups, participate in conversations and pick up industry intel. Twitter allows graduate jobseekers and recruiters to connect through hashtags like #hiring #recruiting and #gradjobs. You can follow potential employers, Tweet organisations and ask about graduate opportunities… The online networking opportunities for students are endless.”
Not sure if postgraduate study is for you? Attending an information or open day event is a good first step. When it comes to desktop research, there are loads of great sites to help you explore your study options. Here are 11 to save in your favourites.
Prospects postgraduate search
This search tool lets you explore postgraduate taught courses by subject and location.