If you are an international student, it is important to be aware of the visas required to work in the UK and abroad after graduation. The following information should act as a signpost to resources, so that you can research your options thoroughly.

Working in the UK

I’m from Ireland or have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme

No restrictions apply to students and graduates from Ireland due to the Common Travel Area (CTA) arrangements between the Irish and UK Governments. Students with settled or pre-settled status in the UK under the EU settlement scheme can also live and work in the UK without restriction while they hold this status

I’m an international student

Students from all countries (except Ireland) require entry by visa and various restrictions and conditions apply for work permits. If you hold a Student visa you will be entitled to work up to 20 hours a week during term time. There is no restriction of hours for work during the holidays. You may require sponsorship from an employer to work in the UK.

See the gov.uk register of licensed sponsors.

Work Visas

The main work visa options for Non-EEA students are:

Employers who are able to sponsor workers to work in the UK under both Tier 2 and 5 are listed on a register of licensed sponsors. With Tier 2 being the main visa route for those interested in working in the UK after their studies finish, students may find it useful to look through this register to determine if a potential employer would be licensed to employ migrant workers under this Tier. A number of employers will often state whether they are able to sponsor non-EEA workers in their job descriptions or application materials.

Although the stamp in your passport may say 'authorisation for work required', please note that the British Government has given this authorisation to all international students. Some employers may not be aware of this, so the onus might be on you to explain this to them. 

Further details on all visa application routes can be found on the gov.uk work visas website

To get information on all visas available, please download this factsheet.

Resources for Employers

Cranfield University creates global leaders in technology and management, we are renowned for having a rich student body from culturally diverse backgrounds. With their combination of academic excellence, research capabilities and knowledge of real-world applications, they are able to make valuable contributions to commercial objectives.

For information on sponsoring someone as a Skilled Worker or on a Tier 5 visa, employers should visit the UK Visas and Immigration's guidance for employers. As a student, it is useful to be aware of this, should a potential employer have any questions.

Making your business case to Employers

In order to be successful with any application for employment, you will need to provide evidence for your skills and abilities, as well as demonstrate your career motivation. We have a Learning Pack dedicated to the art of filling in an Application Form, which can be downloaded here; and a Factsheet on Speculative Applications which can be found here.

We would also recommend that you take the time to write a compelling Cover Letter, outlining the type of permit that you are looking for and any steps an employer would need to take in order to hire you. The Learning Pack related to this topic can be found here.

Finally, to be totally proactive and generate your own opportunities, you should read up on The Hidden Jobs Market to discover how to find roles that aren’t advertised; you can download our Factsheet on this here.

National Insurance Numbers

You need to have a National Insurance number if you’re planning to work in the UK. You can start work without one if you can prove you have the right to work here. You do not need a National Insurance number to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Please visit the gov.uk website for more information on National Insurance numbers.

Resources for International Students

We have teamed up with Student Circus to help our international students find employment in the UK.

All employers on the site are:

  • confirmed as willing to sponsor the UK Work Visa
  • verified as offering salaries as per immigration rules
  • licensed with the Home Office
  • able to provide expert immigration advice

By using the site, our international students can expect to:

  • get prepared for the UK job market and build a network
  • discover structured and formal paid internships designed with flexibility
  • improve their chances to get a job with the same company

All Cranfield students will receive a log-in to Student Circus once they arrive on campus.

Student Circus

Amit “You taught me how to succeed in interviews and convinced me that I'm not as bad in English as I thought! I have now been offered a role as a Purchasing Manager for Metsa - who got sponsorship status - and we are applying for visas for myself and my family.”
– Dmitrii Buravlev, MSc Procurement and Supply Chain Management 2020-21