FIGHT OR FLIGHT? – THE INTERNATIONAL STUDENT’S TICKING CLOCK UPON GRADUATION: Part 2
In part 1 of this guest post, Sarah, a student from Bristol university, discussed immigration matters that students need to think about regarding their right to remain in the UK following the conclusion of their studies. Sarah concludes this post with insights and perspective from some international students.
For international students, it appears there is very little choice in terms of the number of employers they can potentially work for given the visa sponsorship rules on top of an already competitive job market. Indeed, it is important to point out that not every foreign graduate looks to work in the UK and that there is room throughout penultimate years to attain internships and vacation schemes.
However, this does not always soften the blow. I spoke to two undergraduate international students going into their final year of university study to ask them how they felt about the pressures of obtaining a post-study visa and the four-month time limit in which to do so.
“It’s difficult. British people who are residents of their country are themselves very pressured to secure a job upon graduation – that’s only half of the experience for an international student – without some sort of employment post-graduation, it’s a one-way ticket home. While there is nothing wrong with going home, I am keen to kick-start my career at one of the world’s main financial hubs – London. To secure a job however is extremely difficult; the competition has people tearing each other apart”.
- Seif Elfar, an Egyptian law student at the University of Bristol
“I think that the shorter time period definitely makes it harder to apply to many jobs, as well as since the intake is during our university term, adding on even more pressure…we spend three years in a country… out within four months when we are unsuccessful in finding a job straight out of university, especially when most companies expect a bit more experience”.
- Anonymous student from Bahrain, studying law at the University of Bristol
Reports state that international students contribute £2.8bn in fees and consumer spending, supporting nearly 70,000 jobs in London*. Yet, as the aforementioned students have expressed, the complexity of the immigration system and its constraints have impacted on their experience as students in the UK.
The reputation of our universities ensure that we will remain magnets for some of the brightest students around the world. This pull only adds to our academic quality and competitive ranking which international students help maintain.
* UK Council for International Student Affairs. 2017. Working after studies. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Information–Advice/Working/Working-after-studies [Accessed 25 July 2017].