5 reasons to hire an international student

I, like many fresh graduates, received many, many rejections for job applications. I often ask for feedback (unless the company clearly states they cannot give any); but time after time I receive the same one-liner:

You were a good candidate, but we can’t sponsor a work visa.

Indeed, since the end of Post Study Work Visa in 2012, sponsoring an international graduate had only become more difficult – many companies are put off by the restrictions and fees of obtaining a visa license. There are only 29,367 organisations licensed to sponsor migrants in the UK as of today; to put that into perspective, there are 5.5 million businesses in 2016!

Too many companies are missing out on the brightest talents for fear of paperwork. Whilst individuals have their own talents, here are top five reasons why international graduates are well worth the extra step.

Language Skills

Many spend years struggling to learn a second language. International graduates excelled in theirs – English – and often have 2 – 3 more languages under their belts. They come with the cognitive benefits of being multilingual; and are better at multitasking and communicating, just to name a couple.

The global market nowadays means supply chains spread across continents, and it is always handy to have someone that thoroughly understands your international partners’ languages. You will save resources on third-party translators, have more efficient and effective communication, and gain quick trust from business partners.

New Perspectives

People born and raised in the same environment tend to think similarly. Bringing in a person from a completely different culture gives a new perspective to the existing business. To have fresh, innovate ideas on your team will certainly increase the chances of “eureka” moments!

Statistics show a more diverse team outperform the others. Begin fostering a culture that favors diversity in your company through entry level staff; in the long run, talents of different levels will see your efforts and come to you naturally.


Expanded Network

Britain is getting increasingly diverse. People from every corner of the world gather in this country to do business. Having international graduates on your team can bring new clients and connections that previously only dealt within their own communities.

These opportunities are not restricted to local expats. International graduates have ties in their home countries, and understand their business culture. In the current market, connections around the world can only be beneficial, if not paramount to an organization’s success.


International graduates have learned to adapt and thrive in a different culture; many of us have built friendships and strong community bonds. The learning style in the UK is often different to what we were used to, but as graduates we have proven our abilities to thrive despite this.

We are used to unexpected challenges – and are quick to adapt to new, exciting opportunities. As professionals, this skill can only grow.


It’s not an easy task to move to a completely different country. It’s not easy to do a university degree in your second language. It’s not easy to decide to stay in said country, despite the barriers and challenges.

International graduates are a very special group of people that overcame all these. We are ambitious, courageous, and more than anything, resilient.

All we need is a chance to shine.


Bonus: New Entrant Discount

Sponsoring a fresh grad is more easy than you think. Employers enjoy many discounts for sponsoring a student that switches from Tier 4 (student) to Tier 2 (work) visa, including:

  • Exemption from conducting a Resident Labour Market Test
  • Unrestricted CoS – not under monthly quota
  • Exemption from the Immigration Skills Charge (£1000 per year per employee)
  • Employee does not need provide an overseas criminal record certificate

For more information: please check out AGCAS’s guide for employers.

Zoe Chan

Multilingual Birmingham Law Graduate seeking full-time role


International Students and Graduates from across the Midlands gather for ‘Global Careers’ Conference in Birmingham

Guest Student Blog

On Saturday 29th November 2014, approximately 500 international students and graduates from across the Midlands in the UK attended the ‘Develop Your Global Career’ Conference in the stunning Great Hall at the University of Birmingham. Organised collaboratively between 16 Midland based universities, the conference provided international students and graduates with the opportunity to meet and network with global employers, learn more about UK visa opportunities and develop their overall global employability attitudes.

Around 20 employers and organizations such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Access Tier 5 (AIESEC), the British Council, BUNAC, Chopsticks Club, Progressio and FDM attended the conference. The event was sponsored by CPA Australia with Hayley Angell (Relationship Manager – Education) providing a great overview on the company and speaking about the traits of what makes a global graduate. CPA’s stand also included a photo booth, which enabled students to receive a free professional photo to include on their LinkedIn pages or professional portfolios – definitely an added bonus. They also ran a competition whereby the winning applicant will meet and have lunch with a business leader within the company, which was an amazing opportunity for one lucky student/graduate!

The conference kicked off with a panel of representatives from organizations such as UKTI, Freeths, Decathlon and CPA Australia giving talks to students about developing a global mind set and considering a desired global graduate’s personality traits from an employer’s perspective. The panel also included a couple of students who shared their experiences and what they had personally gained from the previous work experience that they had undertaken in an international environment. After the panel talks, students were then given the valuable opportunity to network with company officials and professionals and develop their network of contacts. Employers set up stands in an exhibition area and were available for student’s enquiries as well as providing information and promoting themselves to the event’s guests.

The conference also offered two different types of workshops to international attendees. Workshop One was extremely valuable and included information on how students and graduates could apply for Tier 2 and Tier 5 visas in the UK and what options were available. The workshop focused on the eligibility and requirements on applying to a Tier 2 or Tier 5 visa. The process of how to apply for visas was explained thoroughly and instilled different cases studies.

Workshop Two introduced and guided students in to becoming a ‘global graduate and obtaining a global mindset’. This workshop was more interactive and influenced student’s thinking of how they could develop into a global graduate. Speakers encouraged students to ponder the prerequisite in to working internationally. Students were reminded that subjects like cultural agility and differences are inevitable in a mixed-cultural working environment. It provided a framework to students of “How will working internationally be like” and “What employers want from us”.

The ‘Develop Your Global Career Conference’ really helped students who are starting with nothing. It was not a job hunting fair where job offers were directly offered, however, it gave students the opportunity to develop valuable global networks and gain better insights from employers in to what a ‘global graduate’ is, all from a variety of different international backgrounds. The University event organizers worked hard to provide detailed information of being able to work in the United Kingdom or internationally. International students can then start to better prepare themselves for the future challenges that they will face after graduating and what potential career opportunities may be available. It is not about getting short-term and immediate benefits but long-term and visionary attributes in establishing yourself to the coming chances.

I would definitely encourage international students and graduates who are planning to work in the UK (or abroad) to participate in these types of events. It is fun, it is useful and it was also FREE.