International Students trying for graduate jobs....forget it!!!!!!!!!

26 March 2009 - 12:01am


Having worked for 3 years looking to secure a graduate job of my choice, I have concluded that getting a graduate job if you are a foreign student is in one word, impossible. I do not know why, could be the difference in working culture, or the companies expect a certain kind of communication style, but it is impossible to get into a graduate scheme.
The only companies that truly recruit foreign grads are the big 4, which due to this economy have stopped hiring. But for anyone wanting to try different avenues, it is better to stop dreaming and head back or settle for a smaller job in UK, which can be excruciatingly difficult.

But anyone who still wants to try, good luck but keep your expectations as low as possible


Latest comments

  • 24 November 2014 - 4:28pm
    • iAmWee

    For me, my problem was applying to the right company. I wasted a lot of time applying to end up been rejected just because they could not sponsor visa. Of course I could find manually in the PDF list from UK gov website, but it is such a hassle to use it on phone. I tried this app called "UK Visa Sponsor" from here and I found out I have higher rate of hitting the correct company. I got a job now, and still I think this is what you can try, nevertheless

  • 20 July 2014 - 4:12pm
    • info_10

    You can also check out the website for international vacancies:

  • 28 October 2012 - 1:10am
    • lupuspas

    Hi all,

    Being an international student who's currently doing a masters degree, I am also looking for some information about finding jobs in the UK. Can somebody tell me what are the chances of finding a job with a non-UK/EU degree, especially if I don't have any relevant work experience? The reason I ask is because I want apply for a consultancy grad job (Autumn 2013), but have to do it within the next couple of weeks. It is a bit surprising to me that the applications for those roles start so early. Also, is it possible to apply for consultancy jobs during the start of next spring or even latter?
    Any information you can provide will be helpful.

    saz88, as far as I am aware it should be possible to work full-time on a Tier 4 visa after your course has ended, but only for 4 months (if you finished a 12 month+ course). With that in mind, I believe it is possible to start your grad job without immediately having a Tier 2 visa. Can you tell me in which industry does the firm you got the job offer from work? If you can provide any tips in getting an offer, I would be grateful.

  • 29 August 2012 - 10:52am
    • chanchal

    m intntl student submitd my disttion now, how can i find job in UK

  • 16 August 2012 - 3:33pm
    • saz88

    Hey, I recently got job offer for a graduate role and i am an international student. By the way, can any one guide me if it is possible to join a 2 year graduate program on tier 4 visa after finishing degree. I know one can shift to tier 2 once result is announced. Permanent position is usually offered after completing graduate program successfully i presume.

  • 14 February 2012 - 1:32am
    • vipinradhak

    Hi Ogoma ,

    My application were done through jobsites and registering to graduate programes in companies.


  • 3 February 2012 - 6:52pm
    • vipinradhak

    Well its true that job hunting during the hard times like now can prove to be really mind boggling but it is it has very little to do with nationality.Yes,organisations would not be ready to take people or rather waste time interviewing someone who does not hold any a work permit.If you do have one then yes be hopeful but patient.I'm an international guy as well and yet have managed to find a full time job.Ofcourse it wasn't easy .I have had made dozens of applications/interviews to finally crack one.Yes it is really tough out there with high competition but it is not impossible.Chances for international candidates are high if you are looking for graduate schemes in the banking and investment sector as most of the big companies sponsor successful candidates.

  • 3 February 2012 - 6:19pm
    • wirawatireturns

    its been dreadful to be honest, especially latest news are talking about new rules of immigration will be implemented soon...therefore, I think less chance for International students to apply a graduate job.

  • 22 January 2012 - 11:29am
    • jseeker


    I just came across this thread while searching for jobs online and I agree that it seems impossible to land a job. I am an international student doing a postgraduate degree in Finance at a UK university. Just wondering how your job search went. Can anybody share their experiences during the past 2 years?

  • 3 August 2009 - 3:44pm
    • Nick1

    Hi Peregrine,

    In my opinion, with regards what you wrote that UK graduate looking for work in Milan would have the same problem. I do not agree with this because I am international student and I was studying in UK undergraduate course and then during my 3rd and half of my 4th year I've done study and work placement in other EU country. And from my experience I can say that other EU countries value students who were studying in UK and are more open towards hiring international students than UK.
    I think that this is because of the fact that many people from around the world came to settle to UK and in other EU countries there are not so many international students applying for the job and therefore they treat international students in those countries a little bit differently. But to say, you have to be still good to get job anywhere. So that is my opinion.

  • 3 August 2009 - 2:31pm
    • peregrine

    Tudo Certo -
    I believe it is difficult for employers to understand overseas grades. For example, an Irish Leaving Certificate in no way equates to a UK A-level. Larger employers use a matrix to understand these grades, smaller employers don't necessarily have access to them. That said, a UK graduate looking for work in Milan would have the same problem. Of course in many respects the home student has an advantage, that is natural. And yes sometimes it takes an exceptional international student to land a role. But international students do get good jobs in the UK and some Home students don't.

  • 3 August 2009 - 2:20pm
    • Tudo certo

    Regarding the later comments, do you all believe it is equally easy or difficult for an international student (a person who has all his qualifications from an overseas country) - to get a job as it is for people who have completed their studies in the UK?

    I wouldn`t go as far as saying we should give up or simply blame our nationality but I do believe these major companies consider international students riskier or sometimes do not trust the quality of our studies. Sometimes they can consider that a british students or a person who has studied in the UK has the same capacity of doing the job so they choose them. I did go to some job agencies and I heard that it would be difficult for them to help me as I had never studied or worked in this country.

  • 3 August 2009 - 2:01pm
    • peregrine

    I don't agree with the OP.
    Yes the market is more difficult but international students (e.g. UAE and India) have succesfully got graduate jobs outside of the Big 4 - in SMEs and mid-tier accountancy firms. Blaming your immigration status or nationality is sometimes a little too convenient. The market is tough for everybody and yes you can throw your hands in the air and give up but that seems counterproductive to me.

  • 3 August 2009 - 11:38am
    • Nick1

    Hi redflash,

    Sometimes it depends on luck and as I am saying you have to be significantly better than home student to be picked. So maybe you are significantly better and they picked you. So maybe you met their requirements of international student.

  • 3 August 2009 - 10:42am
    • redflash

    Don't worry guys. I can assure you from my experience that companies are still hiring and being an international student is not a disadvantage.

    I am from China, and I have applied graduate schemes of top companies. So far (in less than a month time), I have secured 3 job offers and with the highest salary to 42k. So as long as you are good enough, you will be picked. Most of the firms are equal. In business they need the best people, so if you are good there is no reason why they would not hire you. Keep trying and good luck.

  • 3 August 2009 - 7:58am
    • Nick1

    You know, that's the thing that I mean. They expect from international students to be something more than home students. I think that under such a circumstances as you described above when they are two candidates one of them different nationality they would prefer home student. Personally, I think that it has to do something with communication and cultural differences.

  • 1 August 2009 - 2:45pm
    • Tudo certo

    I have been in the UK for a few months and have tried few grad jobs but wasn't successful. I do think these companies have a different criteria for international students and that they do prefer British students. I worked in one of the Big 4s in my home country and when I got here I applied to the same. Got through all the stages and tests. THought I was really good at the interview and was only competing with one person who was british and local. They took 5 days to tell me that they were not going to offer me a job. I have done the job before and I had really good references. I really don't understand. I feel very upset about this situation, especially when I read the 'equal opportunities policy' they have on their websites.

  • 31 July 2009 - 12:12pm
    • Nick1

    Congratulations ssimon to your job offer.

  • 31 July 2009 - 12:12pm
    • Nick1

    Congratulations ssimon to your job offer.

  • 31 July 2009 - 3:03am
    • ssimon

    Yea, I guess I got super lucky. I had no problems with my visa either- They pretty much just gave me a 3 year one. I'll be working for Barclaycard Commercial. It starts in september, and I'll be hopping the pond in 3 weeks.

  • 31 July 2009 - 1:23am
    • londonbloke

    Like I said it is, sometimes, all about how lucky you are. ssimon, will you work in commercial banking/finance or other field?

  • 31 July 2009 - 1:13am
    • ssimon

    I graduated from a small uni in USA and accepted an offer to work on Barclays Graduate Programme. It was the first and only one I applied to. I found no troubles in the interview process, although I was the only one from outside the UK at the assessment centre.

  • 29 July 2009 - 11:43am
    • Nick1

    Hi there,
    Well, also to me it seems really extrodinary but lucky those people who secured schemes with such employers. When I was at assesment centres I was only international student and all the rest were at every assesment centre home (british) students. In my opinion, if the organization is going to hire some iternational student that student has to be significantly better then the home student. If there is international student and home student roughly at the same level they would offer job to home student. That´s obvious.

  • 29 July 2009 - 12:29am
    • londonbloke

    Micky you might be right in that employers have higher benchmark for foreign students. I have not discovered that yet as I am just graduating. I have applied several places earlier though and I know why my applications have been rejected. I am now trying to improve a weak area of mine. I think sometimes it depends on how lucky one is. One has to be at the right time at the right place.

    You said, you have been to many assessment centres, I have not been to any. You are luckier than me and it is the fact that ACs are the last stage of recruitment process, i have not been there yet despite sending out several applications.

    Now remember how many intl students were there along with yourself at one of these assessment centres. Have you taken their email addresses to find out if they were successful? If you have not been selected then one of them should have been selected. There should be something that does not let you pass the last stage, have you discovered that?

    I know an intl student who made it to BarCap trading desk with a degree from a uni in the UK not listed in the league table, not to mention the fact that he did not have 70% required final grade. Just keep going.

    It is easy to blame recession, if someone asks me why i have not got a job I think i too will say that recession is biting. because it is what everyone thinks happening now. But if you look around yourself, many are being employed right after they graduate.

    The right answer is "It is getting more competitive, I should have competitive edge". Then you will work on your weak areas. try to work for free, volunteer with charity etc. show your edge. I have done that, let's see where it will take me now. Wish me luck.

    good luck to you mate

  • 28 July 2009 - 3:21pm
    • Nick1

    Hi Londonbloke,

    Well, your comment is quite encouraging that all of your international friends landed jobs with blue chip companies!

  • 28 July 2009 - 2:53pm
    • londonbloke

    All of my friends who graduated from UK universities secured places in grad programmes at blue chip companies. All of those guys graduated before recession started biting. Now, I have not heard any of my friends being employed by any of those companies during this recession. All of my friends are intl students like myself. I think it is because of mixture of factors that do not make it easy for international students to land a grad job now: recession, visa, culture, perceptions, etc.

    Intl students can get grad jobs easily if they have multiple language skills, however, these jobs involve some sort of sales tasks. In addition, intl students should have a really good analytical mind now - math guru. That's what gives them leading edge in the job market.

    good luck with the job hunting

  • 28 July 2009 - 4:08pm
    • micky123

    Hi Nick, London bloke.

    Thanks for all your comments. Londonbloke it is really extraordinary that all your friends got placed in blue chip companies considering that many of them dont even provide visas and the remaining have few places on their grad schemes. Many people are saying that recession is the reason behind international students not getting into graduate schemes, but my experience has been over 3 long years, out of which I have dedicated 20 months to just graduate jobs of my choice.
    I am not going to say that there is discrimination or not but to put it succintly, graduate employers have a higher benchmark for foreign students ( I am pretty sure about this) and I find that unfair.

  • 28 July 2009 - 2:02pm
    • Nick1

    Hi there,

    I completely agree with micky123. I study International Business in UK (4 year course) and to be honest during my second year when I was trying to secure industrial placement I was not able to secure it despite attending number of assesment centres and interviews. So there was nothing else for me to do just to undertake 1 year Erazmus programe in Spain and at the end of the Erazmus I secured industrial placement there for 6 months. I certainly think that international students when it comes to applying for the jobs or some graduate schemes are discriminated in some certain way. To get the job in Uk for international student is a BIG ISSUE.

  • 26 March 2009 - 9:55am
    • zidanee

    "I have been to 15 assessment centre since the end of 2007 and its hard to believe that I have not ticked the box in even one of these places.
    I am not saying I am being discriminated against , but you feel hard done don't you, after attending that many interviews and what not."

    Yeah, you're right here.. It's hard to believe that you didn't tick the right boxes out of 15 ACs.. Where are you from, btw? Not EU I guess?

    Sometimes I do get the feeling that the company asked me to attend the interview only for their statistics - to be able to present that a percentage of their candidates were from overseas so that nobody could sue them for discrimination - but they haven't had the intention to hire me in the first place.. That's a bit said especially when you get the feedback that you haven't performed in one or two areas you are sure you did well in - so it's easy to tell that you are being bullshitted to..

  • 26 March 2009 - 9:44am
    • micky123

    Hi zidanee,

    I am not saying companies are not prepared to take students, but these companies are far and few. You are from the EU region so work permit is not an issue for you. But I think they prefer candidates where the whole visa thing is not an issue, coz it is a "risk" for them. I have been to 15 assessment centre since the end of 2007 and its hard to believe that I have not ticked the box in even one of these places.
    I am not saying I am being discriminated against , but you feel hard done don't you, after attending that many interviews and what not.

  • 26 March 2009 - 9:31am
    • zidanee

    I don't really think it's a thing for international students.. Probably you are just not ticking the right boxes.. I am a student from Latvia, and although I did not secure a graduate position yet, I have some things in the pipeline and I suppose it's just me being very picky. I had a Placement year in one of the top global pharma companies in UK as part of my degree so I doubt that companies in UK are not prepared to hire international student for their student/grad schemes. Probably just the recession hitting quite badly. Have you had many interviews at all?

  • 26 March 2009 - 9:31am
    • micky123

    Yea razn you are right . The credit crunch has made things worse but even before that it was highly improbable to get a job here. I just think companies are looking for something extra from international grads, above and beyond their high expectations from graduates in general. It is a bit unfair, I think that you are sold onto this notion that you can get a job here when the reality is that companies do not readily offer positions to international students as they are too much of a "risk".

  • 26 March 2009 - 3:58am
    • razn

    Yea looks bad everywhere right now...I am a graduate from Germany and been tryin my luck in China...been applyin to mostly german companies so not really a culture problem for me...but been tough due econ crisis no one is hirin right now...puttin apps on a hold for a while try again 2nd half when most companies re-evaluate their position and hope they will be more optimistic since alot of companies have projects layin around and expansion plans jus bad bad timing now...