UK Work Visas for International Students to be extended!

The news that International Students in the United Kingdom are to get 2-year Working Visas is incredible news for all international students.

During the period 2000-2012, our team at Harrison Careers witnessed the explosion of quality international candidates getting hired by banks, consulting firms, medical companies, and every other sector of the UK economy. But then the British government decided to change the rules and only allow international students four months post-graduation to find a job, after which they would have to return to their home countries. That changed everything. The UK became highly unattractive for international students, who then found it almost impossible to get work experience of any kind.

For the first few years after 2012, it was still possible to get Tier 2 visas from companies who wanted to continue business as usual by hiring international students. Gradually, however, things changed, and even the big companies had to agree to quotas, because they could only give out a certain number of Tier 2 visas.

British universities hated the change in law because it made them less attractive to international students – but now they must be rejoicing.

You can compare the British system to the United States system. In the US, if you graduate with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math) degree, then you can get a 3-year post-study work visa called an Optional Practical Training Visa (“OPT”). If you don’t graduate with a STEM degree, then you can only get a 1-year OPT. It’s a good system – despite the fact that after your OPT expires, you have to get an H1B VISA, which is a lot more difficult.

The introduction of 2-year post-study work visas for international students in the UK means that you can expect to see a lot more Chinese, Russian, and Indian students in Assessment Centers during the recruiting process.

I think it’s a great thing for Britain. I’m sure not everyone agrees.


Peter is a true careers expert, and a leading authority on getting hired. He has worked for some of the world’s most prestigious employers including Goldman Sachs, McKinsey and Deloitte. At Harrison Careers, he runs an elite team with a 15+ year track-record of helping clients to win thousands of job offers from the world’s leading companies in Technology, Finance, Banking, Consulting, Accounting, Law and other industries. When he’s not coaching clients, he’s giving presentations, running, biking, or hanging out with his 5 teenage kids.


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