Graduate story: Navigating the visa process

AshAsh Rahman, SEMS graduate

I joined Queen Mary as an  international student in 2013. I did Mechanical Engineering with Robotics and Control Systems as my undergraduate degree. I graduated with a BEng in July 2017 and then joined Jaguar Land Rover’s graduate scheme as a Graduate Product Development Engineer in September 2017.

The product development engineering graduate scheme at JLR was very different from any other graduate scheme that I came across while applying for graduate jobs. In this scheme, the graduates get the opportunity to experience the work environment within different areas of the business which is very beneficial as this experience gives you a sense of what you really like doing and which career path you really want to take. For example in my case, even though my third year project was focused on design and simulation, I actually figured out that I enjoy working more with state of the art technologies within the field of autonomous vehicles and carrying out data analysis and this is where I am actually the most productive. The graduate scheme is 2 years long and it is very structured with useful training and a development plan already in place.

The application process was quite straightforward. First, I had to do an online situational judgement test and after passing this test, I was invited to do an online numerical, verbal and logical test. The next step was an invitation to an assessment centre where I had to do an interview with an engineer from Jaguar Land Rover and a group exercise. Once I had completed all of this, the next thing was the job offer!

The Jaguar Land Rover HR team was very helpful throughout the application process and even more so after getting the job offer. The whole visa application process from start to the end was taken care of by HR with minimal input from myself which saved me from a lot of stress. As an international student, it was more difficult than UK/EU students as not only did I have to get a job offer but I also had to get the offer from a company that was willing to sponsor international students on a Tier 2 visa. My process was also a bit unusual as I was originally on a MEng course and I got the offer from Jaguar Land Rover while I was away at a year long placement with another company. Typically you would expect a student undertaking an Industrial Placement to get the offer either at the end of their BEng or Meng degree and from the company where they did the placement.

My advice for any international student looking for a job within the UK would be to narrow down your applications to companies that would be willing to sponsor you. The best way I found going about this was to e-mail the company’s recruitment team or phone them up to find out whether they sponsor Tier 2 visas before starting on making any application, which will save your precious time and ensure that you are applying to the right places. Also, sharpening up on the numerical, verbal and logical tests before making any applications is also worthwhile. A lot of the time, the big hurdle is going past these online tests.

Don’t forget, take a look at our Knowledge Bank on QMPlus for practice psychometric tests – good luck!

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