A Placement Officer's Checklist for International Students

A Guest Blog from Student Circus

We loved meeting the guys from Student Circus at our National Conference so much that we invited Tripti to write a guest blog. Student Circus is an online portal advertising jobs and internships from employers willing to sponsor the UK Tier 2 visa.


Hello and welcome to the inter-tangled weave of jobs, visa, work placements and work restrictions- faced by international students. Our job here, is to help you- placement officers- untangle this web, so that when an anxious international student comes knocking on the door you’re the one offering them a calming cup of tea- instead of needing one.

First things first, how are things looking?

While there is no sugar-coating the truth in this post-Brexit world, there’s no need for alarm just yet. Nearly four-fifths of the UK’s top graduate employers are offering paid work experience programmes for students and recent graduates during the 2017-2018 academic year- providing a total of 12,849 places (Fliers, 2018).

The biggest growth in vacancies is expected at accounting & professional services firms, public sector organisations and engineering & industrial companies which together intend to recruit over 750 extra graduates in 2018 (ibid).

However, these do not distinguish between international and national students, and the differing challenges they face. Thus, at Student Circus we filter these opportunities from firms who are not only licensed, but willing to hire international students. The articles below help illustrate exactly how this millennial-conscientious makes its’ mark- and hits the target.

Top tips & tricks

-          The ‘right’ employer

There are close to 30,000 employers in the UK who can sponsor the Tier-2 work visa in the UK. This list is available here ( but before you see this – it could be misleading as the company might have got a license to sponsor at the CXO level not graduates. As an advisor, you must see that students focus on quality and not quantity- especially when employers are so selective.

Some employers have clearly told us that placements are their pipeline to hire for full time positions – so it’s better if intl’ students apply to the relevant employers. It’s in the interest of employer to hire them.

-          What are they bringing to the table?

This niche segment made it to another country to study, pat on the back as this is really an achievement. Other than the degree, they have certain soft skills they must highlight like adaptability, multi-lingual, self-motivated! You can read more about why employers should hire intl’ students here (

-          Take advantage of the ‘home network’

All these companies are looking to expand in the competitive market- intl’ candidates can provide the employer with the knowledge of an international business market through experience and contacts. Simply put they can identify and develop a new global market opportunity for them – it’s a tempting pitch!

-          Educate the employer

“I would love to hire an intl’ students but I need to do the Resident Labour Market Test :/” – NO, you don’t have to! This is the most common myth among employers & there are many more.

The rules are overwhelming for employers too and let’s be honest, after 2012 they are still transitioning. Your job is to make their life easier by giving them the right information or re-directing them to the right source. The simpler you make it, the higher are chances.

-          Time is a ticking bomb

Being on a constant time crunch of the student visa can be stressful. The best way to avoid this is by basic understanding of visa options from the very start which you can find here ( Start as soon as they are in the UK!

Lastly, they must not give up! It is very much possible to get a job in the UK – you just have to apply to the right employers. In 2016, more than 6000 were able to transfer to a work visa and the numbers are only going up. We at Student Circus are trying to make it simpler and it’s not impossible to get a work visa.


Tripti Maheshwari is a co-founder of Student Circus and recent Masters graduate of CASS Business School. Having been an intern for HSBC and Dropit Shopping she now brings her personal experience to international students looking for work in the UK.