Careers for International Students




These pages have been written to introduce the CES and its resources to all Kent students and graduates from outside the UK. They are intended as a starting point for international students at the University of Kent, in particular those from countries outside the EU/EEA. They aim to help you with your career planning and to outline some of the ways that the Careers and Employability Service (CES) can assist you.

The CES has also produced a leaflet for international students which can be downloaded here - see the screenshot to the right.

Not all of the information on these pages will be relevant to all international students but we hope that you will find parts of it helpful. To discuss your individual career plans, come in to the CES and talk to a careers adviser

The Careers and Employability Service (CES)

Like all British universities, the University of Kent has a Careers and Employability Service (CES) which aims to help students make decisions and obtain information about their next step after graduation. We can provide help and advice to students of all subjects and nationalities about postgraduate study, choosing a career and obtaining employment and work experience.

How can the CES help me?

We provide a wide range of information and advisory services, including:

What we cannot do:

When can I use the Careers and Employability Service?

Students are welcome to use the CES at any time during their studies. However, we would recommend that you start to plan your future career during your second year. Many UK employers will expect applications during the first term of your final year for graduate positions commencing the following autumn.

Working in the UK during your studies

You may wish to work part-time while you are a student in the UK - either to help finance your studies or to develop the skills and experience which employers will look for when recruiting graduates.

International students are not required to obtain formal permission before taking vacation work, part-time work during term time or a work placement as part of a sandwich course. You should not work for more than 20 hours per week during term time , nor should you run your own business or work as a professional sports person or entertainer.
UKCISA have produced guidelines on working in the UK during your studies:

The Kent Union Job Shop can help you to find part-time work in the local area during your studies. Their website includes advice on application, National Insurance and a section for international students at The jobshop@kent office in Canterbury is located in the Mandela Building and is open from Monday to Friday, 09.00 - 17.00. On the Medway campus, you can register and look at the current jobs in the Pilkington Building from Monday to Friday, 10am - 4pm

Many major companies, especially in the finance and legal sectors, offer summer internships to students. These are very popular and very competitive so are normally only open to undergraduate students during the summer vacation between their second and final year. Deadlines for applications are often in January and sometimes even during the Autumn term. You can find a list of some employers who offer these internships at

Options after graduation

international student careers

Working in the UK after your studies

General information and advice

Visa and immigration advice

The regulations regarding international students’ right to work in the UK after completing their studies changed in March 2012.
Tier 1 (Post Study Work) has been abolished and recent graduates and postgraduate will be able to apply for permission to work under the Tier 2 (General) scheme.  Applicants must meet points requirements, have a job offer from an employer that is a licensed sponsor and must be paid a minimum salary of £20,300.

Employers are also required to meet a number of conditions before they can sponsor international graduates: for this reason, many employers state that they are only able to accept applicants who are entitled to work in the UK without any restrictions.

For full details of schemes and eligibility, see the UK Border Agency website

The issue of eligibility to work in the UK is complex and you are advised to seek advice from an authoritative source such as one of those listed below:

Some notes on the job market for graduates in the UK

Many major companies begin their graduate recruitment at the start of the academic year, and may have application deadlines before the end of the Autumn term. This means that you need to start making applications at the beginning of your final year: if you wait until after you have finished your studies, you may be too late!

Your degree subject is not always important to employers. Many graduate recruiters are happy to recruit graduates in any subject, and will provide the necessary training that you will need to do the job.

Finding out about graduate recruiters in the UK

The following websites have databases of companies who recruit graduates and give details of their recruitment procedures. You can search the databases for employers or training programmes that may interest you.

These publishers also produce print directories, which are available free of charge from the Careers and Employability Service while stocks last.


For a list of other online directories, see

The Careers and Employability Service also has its own online vacancy database , which can be searched for jobs in particular career areas or geographical locations.

A list of organisations who are licensed to sponsor migrants under Tier 2 and who may therefore be prepared to consider international student applications can be found at

Applying for graduate jobs in the UK

Applications for jobs are normally made either on a company application form (online or printed) or with a curriculum vitae (CV)
Most large companies will require students to apply by means of an online application form. You can find examples of the type of questions included on these forms, and advice on how to answer them, in our “Making Applications” booklet, available in the Careers and Employability Service, or on our website at

These forms may present the following

Narcissistic candidates are more successful at interviews

A University of British Columbia study found that narcissistic applicants are more successful in job interviews than candidates who act more modestly. Applicants from Japanese, Chinese and Korean cultures that place greater emphasis on humility may struggle to find work in countries with Western values. Behaviours displayed by narcissists included making more eye contact, joking with interviewers, boasting and asking more questions. The study said that interviewers should focus more on ability than superficial charm.

difficulties for international students:


If you need help or advice on any of these issues, talk to a careers adviser or to graduate recruitment staff at the company to which you wish to apply.

Curriculum Vitaes (also called resumés) are used in most countries, but the format and content varies from country to country.

When writing a CV for British employers you should:


For more advice on CVs and applications, see

Staying in the UK for postgraduate study

If you intend to continue your studies at postgraduate level, then it is important that you:


Fees and Funding For International Postgraduate Students

Think about how much postgraduate study will cost you. Fees for postgraduate degrees are generally about the same as those for undergraduate degrees although some courses, (e.g. MBAs) may be much more expensive. It is almost always easier to obtain a place for postgraduate study than to get funding for it.

There are, though, various scholarship schemes for international students. The University's website   lists a number of these. Most are only for research degrees and not available to students on taught Masters courses.

For more general information on funding, see

Returning home

Many international students look forward to returning home at the end of their studies: others do so more reluctantly and even with a little trepidation. Even if you have regularly returned home during the vacations, your situation has now changed. You are no longer a student returning for the holidays - you are a graduate ready for the next stage of your career and your friends and family will have certain expectations of you. Not the least of these is that you will be ready and able to get a "good job".

Careful planning in advance can help you to cope with this transition; to clarify your own aims and ambitions (and to relate them to the expectations of others) and to prepare for your next step. This is equally true whichever of the three options outlined you hope to follow.

This advance planning should include:

Starting your Career in: country guides for international students

This series offers practical advice to international students who have chosen to return to their home country to look for work. Each country guide includes key facts about current trends and jobs, advice about seeking employment, hints and tips for making a successful application, and helpful information sources.

There are profiles for Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and the USA

For links to these profiles, see

GradLink UK websites

These careers websites are designed specifically for students/graduates from China, India, Africa, Bangladesh and Malaysia at HE institutions right across the UK. They include:

They contain


Lockin China Platform focusing on the personal and career development of Chinese overseas students and graduates. Positions open for fresh graduates and students, from companies such as HP and PayPal, Hisense and FAW (state owned), and, etc.

Career Help for Chinese students in the UK from the University of Warwick
The Prepare2GetAhead e-learning resource gives an introduction to career planning for Chinese students and provides a step-by-step approach to enable students to develop and create their own career plan.  The resource aims to help students to make the most of their time at university and to explore options that interest them, as well as gain relevant skills and experiences.
The Innovate2GetAhead e-learning resources provides Chinese students with an introduction to innovation skills and developing an innovative mind-set.  It is aimed at all students, as the activities and case studies can be applied to students looking to go on and work for organisations; for students wishing to develop their own family business and for students looking to start or develop their own business.

Going to another country

You may wish to work in a country other than your home country outside the UK, or to continue with postgraduate study at another overseas university. The USA, for example, is always a popular destination for postgraduate students, but you should apply early - start to plan at least eighteen months before you graduate. If you wish to work in another country, check whether you will need a work permit. If you do, you will face the same difficulties as with working in the U.K. - plus the problem of finding out about employment opportunities at a distance.

Some questions you may need to ask yourself


The i-graduate survey (see below) found that 10% of the class of 2010 who were in employment were working outside the UK and not in their home country. This most-mobile group achieve the highest average starting salary of £33,626.

Working in another European Union country

An EU Blue Card gives highly-qualified workers from outside the EU the right to live and work in 24 of the 27 EU countries (excluding Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom) provided they have higher professional qualifications, such as a university degree, and an employment contract or a binding job offer with a high salary compared to the average in the country where the job is.

For further information see


Schengen visa Some nationals of non-EU countries may need to obtain this visa in order to travel to other EU countries in the “Schengen Space” for purposes such as tourism or attending conferences. For details, see:

Finding out about overseas employers

What happens to international students after their degree?

In November 2009 the International Graduate Insight Group (i-graduate) was commissioned to run a study of International Graduate Outcomes. The first wave of the study took place in 2010 and the second wave in 2011. 7,620 graduates responded to the 2011 survey from 63 participating institutions and there were 5,708 responses from the first wave.


The study found that 86% of 2010 international graduates were in employment or further study six months after graduation. In their third year after graduation, 95% of the class of 2008 were employed or studying. These figures are comparable to the first wave of this research (in 2010) which found that 78% of new graduates were working or studying, rising to 95% in the third year after graduation.


UK-educated international graduates achieve markedly higher average salaries than in their home country. The average starting salary for recently graduated international alumni returning to their home country to work was £18,406. For graduates in their third year out, this figure was higher, at £20,574.

Recent graduates returning to China to work, achieve an average starting salary of £9,675. Those returning to India, achieve an average starting salary of £13,214. US graduates return home to an average starting salary of £28,055. These compare to average starting salaries in China, India, and the USA of £4,152, £4,394, and £24,514 respectively.

The average starting salary for recent international (non-EU) graduates working in the UK is £23,960. The average for 2008 graduates in their third year post graduation is £30,029 due to career progression.

Average salaries for 2010 non-EU graduates with a bachelor’s degree are £18,278, for taught postgrads £20,443 and for PGR graduates £31,660.

Further study

18% of recent graduates are engaged in further study solely, and 14% are engaged in further study and employment concurrently. Of the 18% who are in further study only, 64% are in the UK and 27% have returned home. For those in their 3rd year post-graduation, 7% are engaged in further study solely, and 21% in further study with employment.

Checklist of things to do:


Postgraduate Study

Final Words

Unfortunately, it has not been possible to cover every aspect of such a vast area as career planning for international students. Inevitably generalisations have had to be made and information that we would like to have included has had to be omitted. Although areas such as work permits and funding for postgraduate study are covered, these are complex and rapidly changing fields, so please check the latest information available in the Careers and Employability Service or from the contacts given and use this only as an introduction. However, this should serve as a useful starting point in your career planning. If you have queries that haven't been answered in these pages or the other resources referred to within, do get in touch and we will do our best to help you

Please note that nothing on these pages constitutes legal advice. Although every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this site the Careers and Employability Service cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of the contents or for any errors or omissions. Regulations governing international students and employment are complex and sometimes rapidly changing and you are advised to seek advice from authoritative sources.   

The Careers and Employability Service is committed to equality of opportunity in keeping with the University of Kent at Canterbury Student Charter and the NUS/AGR/AGCAS Code of Practice. Click here to see the University of Kent Careers and Employability Service Equality and Diversity Statement

Last fully updated in 2012