International students: What you need to know to work in the UK

Are you an overseas student looking to get some work experience here in the UK?

Follow my 5 tips below to increase your chances of success.

  1. Get an NI number – An NI number is a National Insurance number that identifies you as a UK tax payer. HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) will then use this number to make sure you are paying the right amount of tax. Without an NI number you could be over taxed and some employers won’t be able to pay you. To get an NI number visit this website:
  2. Get a UK bank account – Most employers will not be able to pay you without a UK bank account. Go to the bank prepared with your NI number, passport and proof of UK address.
  3. Make your CV UK friendly – CV layout and content tends to vary in each country so make sure yours is ‘UK friendly’. A few simple things you can do right now is to: a) remove the photo of yourself from your CV (unless you are applying for a modelling job of course); b) remove any irrelevant personal details such as your date of birth, nationality or religion; c) get your CV down to one or two pages, as this is generally the acceptable length in the UK. If you would like to get further detailed feedback on your CV, why not book a 1-2-1 appointment at the Careers & Enterprise Centre (Queens’ WG3).
  4. Organise your reference – Make sure you have people employers can contact that can provide references in English (not a relative or friend). This is particularly important if registering with any agencies (like QTemps).
  5. Get volunteering experience – UK employers value any kind of experience that demonstrates vital skills like team work, leadership and problem solving. Volunteering is a great way to start building this experience, particularly since it is flexible and you can arrange it around your studies. If you’re not sure where to begin, check out the Students’ Union Volunteering website ( and look out for their Volunteering Fair in October.

Rachael Blundell

QTemps Recruitment Manager

To book a 1-2-1 appointment with a Careers Consultant, call 020 7882 8533. For further information and resources for international students, visit QMPlus.

Advice to international students looking to work in the UK after graduation

This is a tough time of year for international graduates. Many have enjoyed their time living and studying in the UK, making new friends and connections as well as achieving the necessary academic results to earn their degrees. The next step is often to explore how to extend this academic experience by applying for jobs.

The UK job market is difficult enough for recent Masters graduates to find employment, but with a four-month time limit before student visas expire in the January after graduating this can seem like an impossible task for international students.

Here are some suggestions to help prepare for this challenge:

  1. What visa do I need to apply for?

Any international student who wants to work in the UK after completing their studies will need to apply for a Tier 2 visa that is supported by a registered UK employer sponsor. 

Find out more about Tier 2 visas on the QMUL Advice & Counselling website. For further information, they are based in Geography Square on the Mile End campus.

For graduates with a genuine and credible business idea, see our website for information on the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa.

  1. How can I find a job in a company that offers tier 2 visas?

You can check if an employer is on the Home Office list of registered UK employer sponsors:

Make sure you are aware of the latest salary requirements and conditions of Tier 2 visa information from the Advice & Counselling website:

Continue reading

New! International Job Search Guides

Careers & Enterprise have just produced five country-specific job search guides for international students from China, Malaysia, India, Pakistan and Russia. You will be able to find all the important aspects of job hunting in these countries, including how to market your QMUL degree to overseas employers, how to start your job search and what to include in your applications.

You can also find more information for international students on the Careers & Enterprise QMPlus page:

International Students Careers Week: Monday 15 – Friday 19 February, Mile End Campus

From my own experience, trying to find a job for after graduation whilst you’re still studying can seem like an incredibly daunting task, and I’m sure even more so for international students. QM Careers & Enterprise are hosting an ‘International Students Careers Week’ this month, consisting of a programme of events for all QMUL International Students who would like to find out more information about working both in the UK and overseas during their studies and after they have graduated. Here are a few pieces of information about the week and what to expect from the events:

Why should I attend?

Careers & Enterprise are working with a number of organisations, as well as different QM departments in order to put on useful and relevant workshops for our international students. Workshop focusses include visa information, the UK recruitment process, using LinkedIn effectively and improving your English for UK job interviews. Most importantly, C&E have invited representatives from the sponsorship organisations UKISIS, Access Tier 5 and Parenthese, giving you the chance to meet with them and ask questions about visa regulations and how to go about attaining sponsorship.

What events are there and what can I expect from them?

  Afternoon Evening
Monday Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa

Find out more information about getting sponsored to start your own business in the UK on the Tier 1 entrepreneur visa.

1-2pm, Bancroft 1.13a

Tier 5 UKISIS: a new visa scheme for your future

UKISIS provide visa sponsorship for Chinese nationals and Chinese speaking students. Find out more about this process at this workshop.

5.30-6.30pm, Eng. 3.25

Tuesday   Working in the UK after graduation

This workshop will give you an understanding of how the UK recruitment process operates.

5.15-6.45pm, Bancroft 1.13

Wednesday Tier 5 visas for UK employment

Access Tier 5 provide visa sponsorship to any non-EEA graduates. Find out more about this scheme and the Tier 5 visa process.

1-2.30pm, Bancroft 1.02.6

Thursday LinkedIn Lab

Learn how to build your profile for networking and job searching in the UK and overseas.

1-2pm, Bancroft 1.15a

Getting internships and work in the USA

Parenthese offer a J-1 visa scheme for those who wish to work in the US. Learn how to search and apply to opportunities through this scheme.

5-6.30pm, Bancroft 3.40

Friday Improve your English for UK job interviews

The Language centre are leading a workshop on the type of language you need to use in UK job interviews.

1-2pm, Bancroft 3.26


You can book a place at any of these events via the Careers & Enterprise Events page:

For any more information, don’t hesitate to contact Careers & Enterprise on 020 7882 8533.

Job hunting in India – great news for indian students and graduates

A new website has been launched, devised by the University of the West of England, which can help you find opportunities in your home country.

This online resource includes a jobs board, employer profiles, case studies and advice for those returning to India to start or resume their careers.

Employers already on board include Accenture, Arup, Dell, Ford India, Hewlett -Packard and Marks and Spencer. Vacancies range from consulting and IT to shipping, engineering and marketing.

So what are you waiting for? Go to to begin your research and access vacancies.

FAQ: How can I get a National Insurance Number?

What is a National Insurance number?  Do I need one?  And how do I get one? To find out the answers to these common questions  read on…

A National Insurance Number is your own personal account number. It is unique to you and you keep the same one all your life. It makes sure that the National Insurance contributions and tax you pay are properly recorded against your name.

You need a National Insurance number (NI number) if you work in the UK.  You are able to start work before you have your NI number, as you can be given a temporary number by your employer.

You should have been sent a NI number automatically just before your 16th birthday if :

  • you live in the UK
  • your parents or guardians are getting Child Benefit for you.

If you do not meet both conditions, for example if you are an International student, you will need to apply for a national insurance number.

How to apply

You will need to make an appointment to have an Evidence of Identity interview, where you will be asked to bring along documents such as your passport and driving license. Make an appointment through your local Jobcentre Plus (telephone 0845 600 0643).  The local office for Queen Mary is  at 60 Commercial Road Whitechapel.

Find out more from the HM Revenue and Customs website.

UKCISA has useful informaiton for International students, including working during your studies.