Working in the UK - information for international students


This information is for international students (i.e., students from outside the European Economic Area). Most international students are entitled to work in the UK during and after their studies, subject to certain conditions (e.g., you must not work more than 20 hours during term-time).

You can continue to work for a maximum of 4 months or until the end of your student visa, whichever comes soonest. Before your student visa expires you will probably need to apply for one of the worker categories under the Points Based System such as Tier 2 Skilled Worker (or Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur if you want to go into self employment).

To apply for a Tier 2 visa you need a graduate-level job offer from a Tier 2 employer ("sponsor"). You can find a list of current Tier 2 sponsors on the UKBA web site. There are many companies on the sponsor list that employ computer science and software engineering graduates, for example:

  • Accenture (UK) Limited (London)
  • Acer UK Limited (West Drayton)
  • Amazon (Slough)
  • Apple (UK) Limited (London)
  • Fujitsu (UK) Limited (Elstree)
  • Google (UK) Limited (London)
  • IBM UK Limited (Hampshire)
  • Microsoft Limited (Reading)
  • Microsoft Research Limited (Cambridge)
  • NCR Limited (London)

You can apply for a Tier 2 visa after you have been awarded your degree, and before your current visa expires. It is not possible to apply for a Tier 2 visa from your home country, so it is very important that you do not travel after your degree has been awarded.

Case study - Sheenam Bajaj

sheenam bajaj

Sheenam did her undergraduate degree in India, coming to Sheffield in 2010 to study for a MSc in Computer Science with Speech and Language Processing. She obtained the MSc with Distinction, and was awarded the Fretwell-Downing Prize for the best MSc dissertation of the year. After obtaining her MSc, she started a graduate-level job with a leading financial services company. We asked her a few questions about her experiences of studying and working in the UK. 

Who are you working for now? I'm working for J.P. Morgan at present.

What does your job entail? I'm a Technology Analyst, primarily involved in Application Development for the Bank. The company is based in London.

What is your salary? £38,000.

How long do you intend to continue working in the UK? I look forward to continue receiving great opportunities to work in this country, in the long term.

How well do you think your MSc degree prepared you for employment? Although I've taken up a job in Investment Banking, an industry quite different from the world of speech and language processing, I honestly believe my MSc degree had a big part to play in my career. The underlying principles of computer science remain the same regardless of the industry you choose to work in, and this degree enabled me to widen my knowledge base and apply it to resolve real-world problems. It enhanced my problem solving and analytical skills, which are key to a good career in technology. Pursuing a MSc degree at Sheffield not only advanced my technical skills but also helped me strengthen my soft skills such as team building, which are very highly regarded by potential employers.

Was your year at the University of Sheffield a positive experience? Studying at The University of Sheffield was a great learning experience, it truly stood up to its reputation of being a 'Russell Group' University. The University in its entirety gave me a congenial atmosphere to study, learn, develop and perform well in. From its ever-encouraging professors to its amazing Student's Union, Sheffield is an experience that I will certainly cherish in my memories.

Getting help

Getting a Tier 2 visa will take some planning and preparation on your part. However, we do everything that we can to help you. The University of Sheffield Students Union has a dedicated advisor who will provide free specialist support to current and recently graduated students. We provide a detailed guide on how to complete the application form, and you can book one-to-one sessions with our advisor to have your application checked. 

See the Sheffield Student's Union web site for detailed advice on working in the UK.