International Talent

It's probably easier than you think to recruit international students and graduates from York. They offer specific language skills, cultural awareness, overseas contacts and professional global experience to help your business grow. Whether you want to recruit an international student for an internship, vacation work or a longer term graduate position we can help.

Employer Feedback

“We asked Balam to do a huge amount in a short space of time and he responded cheerfully, diligently and calmly. The work was of an extremely high standard despite the challenges we presented him.”

Michelle Blake, Information Directorate, University of York

An international student could:

  • give you a unique insight into an overseas business market for potential import/export activities
  • help you carry out market research to identify new business opportunities
  • use language skills and cultural knowledge to internationalise marketing materials or web content 
  • be the best candidate in your graduate recruitment process and be keen to stay in the UK to develop their career with your company.

Although Careers and Placements staff cannot give specific immigration advice, we might be able to answer any initial queries you have about recruiting our international students and direct you to further sources of help. For detailed questions about the immigration rules we recommend you consult an immigration specialist through the Immigration Law Practitioners Association

Recruiting international talent - during studies

While studying, most international students at York automatically have permission to work for any employer - up to a maximum of 20 hours per week during academic term time, and full-time during the vacation period of their course. This maximum must not be exceeded in any one week.

They are also allowed to work full-time in the four months immediately following the end of their course while their Tier 4 student visa is still valid. 

  • For undergraduate students this is typically the summer period July - October
  • For taught postgraduates who complete their course in September, this is typically October - January

They can undertake most types of work during this time although there are some restrictions. There is useful information explaining wording on visas and students' right to work on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website. 

To advertise your existing vacancy to international students, upload your vacancy in the usual way through Careers Gateway.

To discuss setting up and recruiting a student or graduate to conduct a project-based internship with your organisation, contact the Internship Bureau on careers-placements@york.ac.uk.

Case Studies

China Desk Internship: Garbutt & Elliott LLP

International Market Research: York Cocoa House

Recruiting international talent - after studies short-term 4 months

Employing an international graduate short-term may help you complete a project that requires specific language skills, cultural knowledge, overseas contacts or knowledge of global business markets. 

An international graduate will usually be able to work in the UK full-time for up to 4 months immediately following their course of study, on their existing Tier 4 student visa.

  • For undergraduate students, this is typically the summer period July - October
  • For taught postgraduates who complete their course in September, this is typically October - January

There is no need to apply for any additional immigration permission or sponsorship and the student can start work full-time as soon as they reach the end date of their course. If you have a suitable vacancy simply advertise directly to University of York students and graduates through our vacancy advertising service on Careers Gateway.

Recruiting international talent - after studies short-term 12 months

Employing an international graduate short-term may help you complete a project that requires specific language skills, cultural knowledge, overseas contacts or knowledge of global business markets.

Up to 12 months: Tier 5 Temporary Worker (Government Authorised Exchange) allows you to take on a skilled graduate for up to 12 months, using a third party sponsor. You don't have to be a registered sponsor yourself - an "overarching sponsor" will take over all sponsorship responsibilities. In most cases students are allowed to switch from their Tier 4 Student visa to Tier 5 Temporary Worker within the UK, once they have completed and passed their degree. 

In general the internship should meet the following conditions:

  • not longer than 12 months (although some schemes allow for 24 months sponsorship)
  • supernumerary (outside regular staffing requirements), so typically an internship project
  • paid at least NMW and be in line with all applicable employment legislation
  • work must be at a skill level of NVQ Level 3 or above
  • work must be related to the graduate's course of study

There are a lot of options under Tier 5 with numerous overarching sponsors who could sponsor a graduate on your behalf including:

 NOTE: Scheme providers can change - check out the full list of approved Government Authorised Exchange schemes and sponsors.

Up to 12 months: Doctorate Extension Scheme: PhD students can apply for an extension to their Tier 4 visa under this scheme which allows them to stay in the UK for up to 12 months to look for and start a job.

Recruiting international talent - after studies long-term

Graduates who intend to stay in the UK long term to develop their career are likely to need a Tier 2 General visa - unless they have an entitlement to work in the UK under any other visa category.  A Tier 2 visa can be issued for either 3 years or 5 years depending on the Certificate of Sponsorship issued.  If a 3 year visa is is issued the graduate has the option later to apply for a further 3 years, provided they stay in employment. After 5 years, they can apply to settle in the UK provided they earn at least £35,000 per year, or the job is on the Shortage Occupation list, is a PhD level job, or if they have Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) leave.

Your company may already be a licensed Tier 2 sponsor or you might decide to become one in order to recruit an exceptional candidate. Read more about becoming a Tier 2 sponsor.

If you recruit an international student at the end of their course, while they are still in the UK with a valid Tier 4 student visa,

  • you do not have to carry out the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT)
  • you can issue an unrestricted Certificate of Sponsorship
  • the new Immigration Skills Charge (April 2017) does not apply

You may find this document helpful: Recruiting International Graduates 2018 (PDF  , 179kb) although it does not include the updated information about the Immigration Skills Charge.

Immigration advice

EU/EEA Nationals: All nationals from the European Economic Area (except Croatia) and Switzerland are free to work in the UK without restriction. Unless exempt, Croatian students may need to apply for a registration certificate to work during or after their studies.

International students (outside EEA): Although Careers and Placements staff cannot give specific immigration advice, we might be able to answer any initial queries you have about recruiting our international students and direct you to further sources of help. For detailed questions about the immigration rules we recommend you consult an immigration specialist through the Immigration Law Practitioners Association

Recruiting international talent - resources

Sources of advice

Contact us
  • Vacancies: careers-vacancies@york.ac.uk
  • Presentations and fairs: careers-employers@york.ac.uk
  • Placement years and internships: careers-placements@york.ac.uk
  • Volunteering: volunteering@york.ac.uk
  • Phone 01904 322685