Job Opportunities in UK for International Students

Samarpita Goswami
Updated on Feb 16, 2023 2:54 PM IST

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Job Market for Foreign Students in the UK

Being the sixth largest economy in the world, as per the latest data, the unemployment rate in the UK is approximately 3.6% which makes the great employment status of the country pretty evident to international students planning to work in the UK. The pay growth is strong with an increase in basic pay. 

In the past few years, the country has seen the largest annual rise, since 1997 in the number of non-EU nationals working in the UK. The numbers went up to approx 74,000 people making it a total of more than 3.5 million non-EU nationals that are currently working in the country. Although, unemployment is higher in Scotland, Northern England, north Ireland and Wales. The economic growth is comparatively higher in London and the South-Eastern parts of the United Kingdom. 

The job market in London, the capital city of the UK, is expanding continuously providing 10 times more job opportunities to students than in the other parts of the country. Due to this, the competition for these jobs is very high. The biggest job sectors in terms of employees are wholesale and retail, healthcare and social work, administration, education, manufacturing, hospitality and scientific and technical fields. 

The job types that are included in the UK’s shortage occupations list are health service professionals, chemical scientists, biological scientists, civil engineers, physical scientists, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, programmers and software development professionals, web design and development professionals, Veterinarians, economists and statisticians, senior care workers, architects, etc. Graduates with these qualifications and skills can easily gain high paying jobs in UK. It is therefore recommended that students can take up those courses to study where there is high demand as it would improve employment prospects. 

The top UK companies with large market shares that employ international students are Unilever, AstraZeneca, HSBC, Rio Tinto, Diageo, GlaxoSmithKline, Prudential and London Stock Exchange. These international companies employ thousands of people every year and students will have a bright future working there. 

Want to Know if You Can Work in the UK?

Job Options in the UK for Indian Students

When it comes to job opportunities in the UK for Indian students, talent and apt skills are the qualities that are looked for by employers the most. Graduates who have good practical as well as academic knowledge of their field, tend to attract more employers and have better chances of making a living in the UK. Many sectors of the job market in the UK demand freshers and youngsters who have greater power of brainstorming and come up with innovative ideas. 

But, now the bigger question arises, “How to get a job in the UK for Indian Students?”. The 6th largest economy of the world with a GDP of over USD 3.687 trillion, the cities of the UK are perceived as international business hubs and great places for ambitious Indian graduates to work. 

Several universities in the UK provide international students with integrated work placements and internship opportunities. These universities help students in gaining experience and exposure to the practical world while still pursuing their higher education. To work in the UK, students will need to apply for a Tier 2 Post Study Visa.

The UK has a high employment rate of 75.5%. The market suffers a shortage of skilled labour and the size of it is robust for graduate employees. Though there is fierce competition for finding jobs in UK but those with the right qualifications, skills and experiences have a good chance of securing employment in the country. The numerous job sectors, good working conditions and ample job opportunities make the UK a dream destination to work for many international graduates.

There are various factors that one needs to keep in mind while finding a job in the UK and its major cities like London. This article leads students to understand the factors that one needs to consider while finding the answer to ‘How to find a job in the UK’ and gives students a lot of insights on the availability of part-time jobs and other job opportunities for international students in the UK.

job skills of indians in uk

How to Get a Work Permit in the UK

International students who aspire to work in the UK while studying or after completing their graduation will have to apply for a UK work visa. But, to get a work permit in the UK, students will have to satisfy the following requirements for a UK work permit.

  • The student must have received an offer of employment from an employer that will act as a sponsor for the student.

  • The employer must be a licensed UK employer.

  • Students must be able to pass the point-specific assessments for the visa.

  • Students must also possess the Certificate of Sponsorship that is issued by the employer.

There are different types of work permits or UK work visas for international students. The most common of all are Skilled Worker visas and Student visas.

Skilled Worker Visa

The Skilled Worker visa has replaced the Tier 2 visa. It is a primary visa for which, students who want to remain in the UK to work after completing their higher studies. It makes them eligible to work with an approved employer.

Eligibility Criteria

To apply for a skilled worker visa, individuals must fulfil the following eligibility criteria:

  • Individuals must work for a UK home office-approved employer.

  • Individuals must have a certificate of sponsorship from the employer with information about the job role in the UK.

  • Individuals must do a job that is on the list of eligible occupations.

  • Individuals must have a confirmed job offer before applying for a visa.

  • Students must have an offer with a minimum salary of GBP 25,600.

  • Individuals must be able to read, write, speak and understand English.

With the skilled worker visa, candidates can work for up to 48 hours a week. After 5 years, candidates can apply to extend their visa, provided, they meet all the eligibility norms laid down by the UK government. They will have to update their visa if they change their job or employer.

The application has to be made online and can be made up to three months in advance an individual starts a job in the UK. They have to prove their identity and provide their documents. The decision may take up to three weeks if one is outside the UK and may take up to eight weeks if they are in the UK.

After 5 years, individuals may apply to settle permanently in the UK which is also known as indefinite leave to remain. This allows them to stay, study and work as long as they want and makes them eligible for benefits under it.

UK Student Visa

Students who wish to do part-time jobs while studying in the UK will have to apply for a UK student visa which was earlier known as Tier 4 visa. With this visa, students are only allowed to work for 20 hours a week. In order to apply for a student visa, students must be able to write, speak, understand and read English. The correct time to apply for the student visa is at least 3 months before the commencement of their course.

The documents required to apply for a work permit in the UK are:

  • A current and valid passport

  • Proof of legal guardian or parental consent (only for the students who are under 18)

  • A proof to support the tuition fee for the course candidate is pursuing

  • A TB test results

  • A certificate of sponsorship by a licenced UK employer

  • Bank statements to show the availability of adequate savings

High Potential Individual Visa Route

A high potential individual visa is a new visa route introduced by the UK government for the graduates from top 50 universities of the world excluding those of UK. Successful candidates will be granted a work visa of two years and those with a PhD will get a three years visa. This is an attempt to attract the best and brightest minds in the world to the UK. One can work in most jobs, can look for work or remain self-employed with this visa route.

However, it is not possible to extend a high-potential individual visa. On its expiry, individuals will have to shift to another visa such as a skilled worker visa. It is necessary to prove identity as a part of the application process. Interviews may also take place. Individuals have to pay the application fee, and health care surcharge for each year of stay and have enough personal savings to stay in the country.

Find Out What You Need to Apply for a UK Work Permit!

Job Regulations for International Students in the UK

Many international students engage in a part-time job, work placement or internship while pursuing higher education in the UK. The type of work and hours will depend on the type of visa and the sponsoring university or college of the student.

On a student visa in the UK, you can:

  • work as a student union sabbatical officer

Note: It would depend on what you are studying and if you are working in or out of term-time.

On a student visa in the UK, you cannot:

  • work in certain jobs such as a sports coach or professional sportsperson.

  • be self-employed

  • engage in business activity

  • be a doctor or dentist

  • be an entertainer

  • work in a full-time capacity

In an event where a student is allowed to work in the UK, he/ she would be subject to a maximum hours limit per week in a term time. One can work full-time outside their term time. 

According to the UKCISA, “week” refers to a seven-day period that starts on a Monday. In case a student works irregular hours with more than one employer, a detailed record of how many hours he/she has worked will be kept in place.

Also, "term time" refers to the period when the student sponsor expects the student to be studying, and "outside term time" refers to any other time, including the period before the course starts and after it ends, as well as holidays (vacation).

After one is permitted to work during the study, they can apply for and take paid jobs at any level. In case the student earns close to £15,000 a year or more, the UK Home Office may question his/ her working hours. Although there is no limit on how much one earns per year, one must never exceed the maximum weekly working hours in term time. 

Once a student has completed his/ her course and is no longer in term time, he/ she may work full time, re-enter the UK and apply for a different visa or further immigration. 

Part-time Jobs in the UK for International Students

More often than not, to help fund their studies and social lives to manage the cost of living in the UK, international students opt for part-time jobs in the UK. The UK, is one of the most expensive countries in the world with one of the highest tuition fees, living in the country while pursuing a higher education cost wealth. But, Indian students studying in the UK do not need to worry about that as there are plenty of part-time job options in the UK. Students must remember that to work in the UK, international students must have a student visa.

International students must know the benefits of working part-time in UK. Some of them are enlisted here:

  • Gain work experience

  • Develop new skills and brush up old skills

  • Improve the English language

  • Increase cultural awareness

  • Find about job seeking strategies to work in UK

  • Obtain a wide variety of viewpoints and perspectives by working in different environments

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is the minimum amount that is legally set for employers to pay their employees. It is also the same for international students working part-time in UK. The minimum national wage is:

  • GBP 9.50 per hour for workers above 23.

  • GBP 9.18 per hour for workers between the age of 21 and 22.

  • GBP 6.83 per hour for workers between 18-20 years.

In many cases, students are only allowed to work for 20 hours a week, which creates a problem in finding them a job as not many options are there that allow them to work for only 20 hours. So, students can refer to the following list to check the kind of part-time jobs for Indian students with a student visa.

Work on Campus

Many universities in the UK only allow international students to work inside the campus. These universities provide part-time job options to the students by giving them opportunities to work in the computer centre, cafeteria, students unions, etc. Students can also take up blogging as many universities take help from international students to promote them with the help of blog writing and using other social media platforms.

Call Centres

If one needs to enhance her/his communication skills while still making good money, taking up part-time jobs in UK call centres is the best option. Students get paid a good amount of money by working at call centres.

Restaurants / Cafes

When the thought of working 20 hours a week while studying comes to mind then, students tend to look for a job that does not consume all of their energy to leave feeling lethargic during classes. In such situations, waiting table at restaurants and cafes is a good option. Other than that, students can also work as a cashier at grocery stores and restaurants.

Freelance Translation

Working as a freelance translator is a very good option for international students who are fluent in more than two or three languages. Students who have a good command of the French and English languages have better chances of getting an offer to work as freelance translators in the UK.


International students who are experts in photography or have good photography skills can earn using these skills. There is always an option of freelancing for a photographer, in which, she/he can even negotiate the working hours to cope with the hectic college schedule.

Personal Tutoring

Tutoring is one of the best part-time jobs in the UK. It helps the students to increase their knowledge by teaching school children. Also, it is not a time-consuming job profile and can be done in a relaxed way. One can find other tutor jobs through referrals and can earn a good amount of money.

Software Developer Internship

Students interested in the software field can contribute to software design and development. The interns generally work with other team members under the guidance of a leader to create reliable and secure job solutions. It boosts the skills and experiences of international students.

Admission Office

It is an excellent opportunity to attract, recruit and admit diverse cohorts of students to the university. Students generally get work to help admission officers to manage admission processes related to an incoming batch of students.

Pizza Delivery

A quick and easy way to earn bucks is through pizza delivery. One can easily perform this job after college classes.

Graphic Designing

Graphic designers have the job responsibility to create visual communications such as adverts, magazine layouts, branding and other media products. They use various software to draw and design. It is a creative way to earn money as an international student in UK.

If one has apt skills and knowledge for a field, it is not very difficult to find a part-time or full-time job in the UK for international students. Sometimes, the restrictions are paved by the universities to go for part-time jobs and it is the work permit. Just because a university doesnt allow students to work outside the campus or more than 20 hours a week, does not mean that the options are restricted. If students go for freelancing, these situations are taken care of.

How to Find Part-Time Jobs in UK?

It is well known that International students can work part-time in UK but it is also important to know how to find the right part-time job in UK. There are two options either taking up on-campus jobs or looking for off-campus jobs. Getting an off-campus job is easy if the student has basic soft skills and good communication abilities. The first thing they should do is to create a resume or CV highlighting their educational qualifications, skills and experience. A carefully drafted CV demonstrates professional ethics and students can easily impress employers. 

Here are some ways in which international students can find part-time jobs in UK:

  • Career Team in the University: Often the career teams based in universities can help students find part-time job opportunities in UK. They can recommend suitable job profiles in and around the locality and can help in finding the best possible opportunity.

  • Online Job Posting Websites: This is by far the best utilisation of the internet to find part-time jobs in UK. Employers list their requirements in online portals and websites and students can check out the ones that are most relevant to them. This helps them to get directly noticed by the employer.

  • Local Newspapers: Often the local newspapers publish job openings which the students can browse through and apply. 

  • References and Networking: This is one of the most underrated job search methods. International students can take the help of their acquaintances and request them to refer them to their workplaces. In this way, they can get jobs faster without having to go through laborious searches. 

Stay Back Options in UK

Stay back period in UK  is the number of years one can stay back in a country after completing their graduation. While staying back is a great opportunity for career advancement, different countries have different rules and regulations for it. The UK offers great post-study work opportunities and stay-back facilities to international students. In recent years, the UK government has released a new pathway called Graduate Route that would allow international students with valid visas and university degrees to find employment opportunities in the UK. 

This move is an excellent opportunity for Indian students who want to settle in the UK and find work. Graduates with a bachelor's or master's degree can stay back for a period of 2 years while PhD graduates can stay back for 3 years. Like all other pathways, Graduate Route also has some rules and requirements that students must fulfil:

  • All students must have a valid Student visa or must be pursuing higher education under a student visa. UKCISA mandates student visas to be sponsored by a higher education provider. 

  • Students must have an undergraduate, postgraduate or doctoral degree. Legal practice courses, bar practice courses, foundation courses in medicine or dentistry, and PG certificates or diplomas in education are also included in the list.

  • The student must complete the entire course in the UK if it is for less than 12 months. Students need to stay for at least 12 months for courses which are for more than 12 months.

UK Graduate Route Application Process

The international students who are eligible for UK graduate route have to apply for the same following the process outlined below:

  • Students have to make an online application. They have to scan their Biometric Residence Permit using the “UK Immigration ID Check”.

  • They have to pay the application fees and health surcharge.

  • Students will be able to apply for the graduate route only if they are in the UK. It is not allowed to apply for it from outside the UK.

  • They will be able to apply for the graduate route from the day they have successfully graduated to the date of expiration of their student visa. 

The application fee for UK graduate route is GBP 700. An immigration surcharge has to be paid of  GBP 624 per year. Also, there are several conditions applicable to extending the stay in the UK. 

Average Salary in the UK for Top 10 Courses

As we have seen often the average salary depends on the course one has studied in college or university. Here is a list of the top universities and courses in UK and the average salary earned by graduates.

Course and University

Average Salary (in GBP)

Medicine and Dentistry-University of Warwick


Medicine and Dentistry-University of Hull


Medicine and Dentistry-Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine


Engineering and Technology-Havering College of Further and Higher Education


Medicine and Dentistry-University of Brighton


Computer Science-Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine


Medicine and Dentistry-University of Liverpool


Medicine and Dentistry-Kings College London


Medicine and Dentistry-University of Southampton


Economics-London School of Economics and Political Science


See if Your Documents are in Line With UK Job Regulations!

Highest Paying Jobs in UK

Choosing the right career path is of utmost importance for any student. International students studying in the UK mostly intend to stay in the country and find a profitable employment scope. Also, they are eager to choose a job profile that would pay them a high salary and comfortable lifestyle. It is therefore crucial to choose those courses which will pay high graduate salaries. Investing in courses that do not yield a high salary after graduation is not good for return on investment (ROI). 

According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the number of international students studying in the UK in 2020-21 is 605,130. Indians form a large part of this mammoth body of overseas students. For new graduates, the annual average salary is around GBP 24,000. This is a decent starting salary that would cover the cost of living and other daily expenses and will also help in paying off a student loan if taken.


Highest Paying Degrees in UK

Students generally choose a degree to study what they are passionate about or a degree in which they want to progress. However, lately,  earning a good salary has also become a motivating factor behind choosing a degree. With a steep rise in education costs for international students in UK and other related expenses, it becomes imperative for them to study for a degree that pays high. Here is a compilation of some of the highest-paying degrees in UK.


Average Annual Salary (in GBP)





Veterinary Science


General Engineer






Computer Science


Business and Administration






These are the starting salaries for various professions. The actual salaries may differ depending upon the company you work for, location, skills, experience etc. 

Highest Paying Job Positions in UK 

The highest paying jobs in UK are mostly for senior executives and managers who make around GBP 50,000 to 60,000 per year on average. The salaries are at par with the skill set and workload of an individual. The salaries tend to increase with experience.

The top industries that provide highest paying jobs to graduates are science and technology, business and finance, healthcare, education and legal. Those who wish to get a high salary on graduation can refer to this list of top high paying jobs in UK.

Job Profile

Average Annual Salary (in GBP)

Chief Financial Officer


Executive Director


Chief Technology Officer


Senior Leader


Chief Operating Officer


Chief Executive Officer


Medical Manager




Managing Partner


Technology Manager


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How to Find Highest Paying Jobs in UK?

Job hunting is one of the major challenges that fresh graduates face after the completion of their degrees. However, with the world getting digitalised, the search has become easier and quicker. There are several traditional and online ways to find highest paying jobs in UK and the ways have been highlighted below:

  • Online Job Portals: It is one of the most efficient ways to find a job. Here recruiters enlist their requirements along with a detailed job description while candidates upload their profiles. The students can filter out the most relevant jobs for themselves and apply. The most popular job searching portals are LinkedIn, Indeed and Post study. 

  • Placements: Companies and recruiting agencies held campus interviews throughout the final year of study in the college or university. They aim to hire fresh talents based on their qualifications and existing experiences. One can sit for those campus sessions and appear for an interview. They may have to undergo two or three rounds of examinations. On selection, they are provided with an offer letter.

  • Transitioning through Part-time Job Opportunities: Often international students work part-time to earn money in the UK. If their work creates an impression among recruiters then they are offered full-time placement opportunities in that company itself.

  • Recruitment Fairs: This is an excellent way to find jobs in UK. Several prestigious companies attend recruitment fairs where they seek bright and talented students. Interested students can check out the employment opportunities presented by the companies and apply for suitable positions. 

  • Alumni: Reaching out to the alumni of the university is an excellent way to determine if there are any suitable job opportunities for the candidates. They have good connections in the companies and can help freshers land a job in the UK. 

It is important to stay updated and informed about the prospects of employment in the sector where a student is studying. Also, they should focus on developing the necessary skill sets to earn a high paying job in UK. 

FAQs on Job Opportunities in UK for International Students in 2024

What is the average starting salary of UK graduates?

According to a report published in 2019 by High Fliers, it was estimated that by 2022, the average starting salary of UK graduates can range anywhere between GBP 21,000 and GBP 25,000, meanwhile the median salary was estimated to be at GBP 30,000.

Can international students work after graduation in the UK?

Yes, the UK has recently announced the introduction of the new Graduate Route, which allows international students who have graduated from a UK university to stay in the UK and either look for jobs or work at any skill level for a period of two years (3 years for doctoral students).

Can working while studying in the UK be considered as proof of financial capability?

No, if you plan on working while studying as a means to support your lifestyle while you continue your studies in the UK, then it will not be considered as proof of financial capability. You will need to provide bank statements and other financial documents to support your financial capability of sustaining yourself and covering your tuition costs in the UK.

What are the rules for international students to work in the UK?

For international students aspiring to work in the UK, they are allowed to work 20 hours a week on their regular UK student visa, if stated otherwise. Moreover, international students can only work part-time during their term and full-time during their vacation period.

How can I find job opportunities in the UK?

While there are several jobs available for international students to apply to, one of the best ways to find relevant job opportunities is to stay connected with the placement or career office of your respective university. However, building your profile for entry-level jobs online, becoming a tutor or looking for job roles in hospitality and retail (usually found in abundance), are great ways to start your experience working in a professional environment.

What documents do I need to submit for a Work Permit in the UK?

Among the documents needed to apply for a UK work permit visa, students must submit a current and valid passport, proof of legal guardian or parental consent, proof of financial capability, TB test results, certificate of sponsorship by a licenced UK employer and bank statements.

What jobs can Non-EU/Non-EEA students take up in the UK?

International (Non-EU/Non-EEA) students can take up jobs such as Student Support Worker, Personal Assistant, Delivery Drivers for pizzas or pharmacies, Waiter/waitress, receptionist, admissions officer, promotional worker, etc.

What jobs are Non-EU/Non-EEA students not allowed to do in the UK?

Non-EU/Non-EEA students cannot be self-employed, initiate a business activity, full-time permanent employment, professional sportsperson including a sports coach, entertainer or as a dentist or doctor in training unless enrolled in a foundational course.

Can international students work while studying in the UK?

Yes, all international students can work while studying in the UK. However, for international students who are classified as Non-EU/Non-EEA, there are certain regulations and restrictions that should be followed, in order to work while studying.

What is the UK job market for international students like?

The UK has been a top study abroad destination for international students, especially since it is the 5th largest economy in the world with just a 4% unemployment rate. Among all the cities, London is the best place for job opportunities for students, with nearly 10 times more opportunities available compared to other cities in the UK.

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