RECRUITING INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS. A Guide for Employers. uel.ac.uk

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1 RECRUITING INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS A Guide for Employers uel.ac.uk

2 ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF EAST LONDON The University of East London (UEL) attracts a vibrant and diverse community, with over 26,000 students from 120 countries, offering students a truly global and unique learning experience. We are confident that you will recognise the recruitment opportunities that our international students present to support the development of your business in the UK and within a global economy. Our programmes of learning are underpinned by our internationally recognised research, and many of our degree courses have been constructed following consultation with a wide range of employers. Industry practitioners teach on many of our programmes, ensuring both current and innovative theory and practice is central to our delivery. This provides a unique educational experience, with professional accreditation endorsed by the relevant employment sectors. We are aware that employers are looking for something more than just academic qualifications when recruiting staff. We therefore have a dedicated Employability and Enterprise Team (EET) to support our students with one-to-one career planning, entrepreneurial support and employment skills to prepare our students for entering the job market. This guide looks at the benefits to UK employers of recruiting international students from the University of East London, and provides an overview of the current employment visa options. 1

3 BENEFITS TO YOUR BUSINESS International students bring an added dimension to any organisation and can have a significant impact on your business in a variety of ways. These include: Providing a unique understanding and knowledge of international business markets through experience and contacts. Bringing a fresh perspective to the development of new business opportunities. P roviding a valuable insight into the different cultural, language and business etiquettes of potential overseas clients. R aising awareness and the reputation of your company by ensuring that the staff profile of your organisation reflects your customer base. B uilding a more ethnically diverse and inclusive staff profile, which is viewed more favourably when competing for public contracts. P roviding a more dynamic workplace for existing employees, improving staff morale and encouraging their development and learning. 2 3

4 Some postgraduate (Master s or PhD) students are required to work on their dissertation during the summer, in which case they will only be permitted to work the maximum 20 hours during the summer vacation. If you or the student are in any doubt about their permission to work, please advise the student to contact the UEL s International Student Advice team for guidance on this: Students from within the EEA are allowed to work without any restriction in the UK, with the exception of students from Croatia who must get permission from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) before they start work, and can only work for a maximum of 20 hours per week during term. Further information on working in the UK as a Croatian national can be found on the UKVI website: Recruiting international students during their studies Most degree-level students (BA, MA and PhD) from outside the European Economic Area do not need a work permit to work in the UK while still a student and studying on a Tier 4 (General) student visa. The wording on passports and ID cards will vary but any of the following are student visas and do not require an employer to obtain permission before work can be offered: work (and any changes) must be authorised able to work as authorised by the Secretary of State work as in Tier 4 Rules restricted work part-time term-time, full-time vacations restricted work term-time Unless otherwise indicated by their visa, most degree-level students can: work part-time for up to 20 hours in term-time work unlimited hours during official University vacations do a placement approved by the University volunteer WHAT IS POSSIBLE UNDER THE STUDENT VISA? What type of work is prohibited on a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa? International students in the UK on a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa can do most kinds of work, but they must not: be self-employed be employed as a professional sportsperson, including as a sports coach be employed as an entertainer take a permanent full-time job work as a doctor or dentist in training, unless studying a relevant foundation programme. 4 5

5 What are my legal responsibilities? As prospective employers, you have a legal obligation to check that a student is allowed to work in the UK. The student must be able to provide you with evidence of this before they start work, usually this evidence would be a current passport and/or current Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card. A student may not have their passport or BRP card if, for example, it is with the Home Office because they have applied for an extension to their visa. If the student has made an immigration application before their previous immigration permission has ended, they retain the right to work under the usual student conditions. To confirm that the student has an outstanding application and therefore has their right to work extended, you are required to contact the Employer Checking Service Employers are obligated to check an employee s entitlement to work at least once a year, and again when an employee s immigration permission is about to expire. If an employee has made an application to extend their visa, you can use the Employer Checking Service as outlined above. From 16 May 2014, you must request information from the student about their term and vacation dates so that it is clear to you, and to the Home Office, when the student is allowed to work more than 10 or 20 hours a week. The University of East London can provide the student with a letter confirming the term and vacation dates. You are required to keep copies of all relevant documents. The UKVI website, gives some guidance on how to carry out these checks. You can also contact the UKVI Employer Helpline for further advice at National Insurance International students can legally start work without a National Insurance (NI) number being issued. It can take a few weeks/months for an NI number to be issued, but in the meantime you can issue students with a temporary number in order to pay them with the appropriate deductions. Unpaid work or volunteering There is a difference between unpaid employment (voluntary work) and volunteering and it is important for International students to distinguish between these differences. This is because unpaid employment counts towards the maximum number of hours a student is able to work per week. The Government has produced information about the difference between voluntary work and volunteering with some useful examples: Recruiting international students after their studies: main visa routes Tier 2 General (Skilled Workers) UK Graduates This category is aimed at skilled workers who have a graduate-level job with a salary in line with the relevant Code of Practice and, as a minimum, income over 20,500 per annum. The worker must have received a Certificate of Sponsorship from an employer who is on the Home Office s Tier 2 sponsor register. A Tier 2 visa enables the employee to work only for the sponsoring employer for up to five years, after which the employee may be able to apply to remain in the UK permanently if they meet the appropriate salary requirement. You will not need to carry out a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) for a UK graduate switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2. There is no cap on the number of Certificates of Sponsorship you can issue under this category, provided the graduate applies in the UK with a valid Tier 4 visa. You may have an initial allocation of such Certificates, but this can be increased by request to the UKVI. Most graduates can only apply for Tier 2 after they have been awarded their degree. University of East London graduates can be awarded at various points in the year, depending on the level of study, and are able to request a letter from the University to confirm their award before receiving their degree certificate. You can sponsor a PhD student under Tier 2 before they have been awarded their degree as long as they have completed at least 12 months of their course and can meet all other Tier 2 requirements. Graduates can start the job before they get their visa, provided they have submitted their Tier 2 visa application to UKVI and you agree to them starting work. If for any reason their visa was refused, then they would have to stop work. 6 7

6 Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) PhD students nearing the end of their studies may be eligible to apply to extend their visa to remain in the UK for 12 months to work, seek work, or set up a business under the Doctorate Extension Scheme. The students will be sponsored and monitored by the university rather than the employer. Once the PhD graduate has submitted their Tier 4 Doctorate Extension application to the UKVI, they can start working full-time from their date of award or the date the new Tier 4 Doctorate Extension visa is issued, whichever is earliest. Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) scheme allows graduates to develop a genuine and credible business idea that they wish to put into practice in the UK. Our graduates are mentored by the University of East London s Petchey Centre for Entrepreneurship. UKVI will grant a visa for an initial 12 months, with a possible further 12 months, with the university being the sponsor. There is no restriction on working hours, or on working for another employer whilst developing their business idea. It is also possible to use this visa to work for an existing business or on someone else s business idea. Only once the successful candidates receive the Tier 1 GE visa will they be permitted to work unlimited hours on a one-year contract so long as they continue developing their own business. Further information on the all current Work Visa schemes currently available in the can be found on the UKVI website at: Proving right to work A student s permission to work is written on their biometric residence permit (BRP) or visa vignette in their passport as detailed above. Students will only have a letter from UKVI if they have extended their permission whilst here in the UK, but this will not outline their entitlement to work as this will be written on their BRP. Most of our students are given a visa for the duration of their course by the British Embassy in their home country and therefore do not have any letter. It is not the responsibility of the sponsor (university) to confirm a student s eligibility to work. However, University of East London students can request a letter to confirm their enrolment status and the academic term dates. You can always contact the UKVI Employers Helpline on for advice. Tier 5 visas There are six schemes under Tier 5, all of which permit full-time work on a temporary basis (12 24 months). The two most common that employers are likely to encounter are: Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme: For young people from participating countries and territories who want to come and experience life in the UK. The countries and territories currently participating are: Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Monaco, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Tier 5 Temporary Worker Government Authorised Exchange: Approved schemes that aim to share knowledge, experience and best practice. PLEASE NOTE: This document is written based on the UK Immigration Rules and regulations as they Candidates are permitted to do some work experience placements and must be exist at the time of publication. The immigration rules are subject to change, and often at short notice. We sponsored by an overarching body, of which there are many. therefore advise that you consult the UKVI website at regularly to ensure 8 that your knowledge is current. 9

7 International Student Advice Team uel.ac.uk Docklands Campus University Way London E16 2RD UK Stratford Campus Water Lane London E15 4LZ UK University Square Stratford 1 Salway Road London E15 1NF UK August 2014

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