We’ve gathered our answers to the common questions that we get asked, in one convenient place. These answers are provided purely for educational purposes and are often used to signpost to other useful resources. They do not constitute advice.
If you have a question that you’d like us to answer, send it to us via email: email@example.com.
Work permit/Visa/Tier 2 questions
Always seek advice from a trained OISC-registered professional. Do not take advice from Quora, Reddit, Facebook or any forum where people are not qualified. The advice provided here is strictly for educational purposes.
How do I know if I have the right to work in the UK?
Many students get confused when they fill out a job application. On a Tier 4 visa you have the right to work 20 hours during term time, and full time in the holidays. This doesn’t mean you have the right to work in the UK in a full-time job. As a basic principle, if you have a Tier 4 visa, you DO NOT have the right to work in the UK full time. See full guidance from the UKCISA.
How many international students end up working in the UK after their studies?
In 2018, just over 6,000 Tier 4 visa holders switched over to a Tier 2 visa, though this number could be greater if we include out-of-country Tier 2 visa applications. As a percentage of all international students coming to study in the UK each year, that’s about 2.5%.
Can my spouse get a visa as well if I get a Tier 2 visa?
Yes – they will need a UK spouse visa, also known as a Tier 2 general dependent visa.
A ‘dependant’ is any of the following:
- your husband, wife, or partner
- your child under 18
- your child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as a dependant
Do I have to pay for my own Tier 2 visa?
If you’re sponsored by a large company, almost certainly not. However, some SMEs have been known to pass on part or even all the costs to international students.
What tends to be more common is that companies will pay for the Tier 2 visa, but may ask international students to pay for part or all of the immigration health surcharge, which could be as much as £1,200.
See the full list of costs associated with sponsoring international students for a Tier 2 visa.
Will I have to pay the immigration health surcharge (IHS)?
The IHS be paid by anyone applying for a visa in the UK, unless they are a tourist applying for a visitor visa. Paying the IHS gives you access to the National Health Service (NHS).
The cost of the IHS is paid on a yearly basis for the duration of the visa. For Tier 4 and Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visas, the total cost is £600 (£300 a year for two years). For all other visas, the yearly cost is £400. This means that the total cost for a five-year visa will be £2,000.
Large companies may pay for the immigration health surcharge on your behalf, but smaller companies will let international students pay their own fees.
Can I apply for a Tier 2 visa in the UK?
Yes, there are two types of application – in country and out of country. Companies almost always prefer to employ graduates using an in-country visa. Out-of-country visas are limited to 20,700 places a year and are generally allocated to skilled professionals who already have significant work experience.
Can I apply for a Tier 2 visa outside of the UK?
Referencing the question above, the limited number of out-of-country Tier 2 visas (20,700) makes this route highly competitive and, as a result, it’s unlikely that a company would use such a process for an international student.
Based on our experience, it would be almost impossible to secure a job from outside of the UK as a student with little work experience. This route would most often be used for professionals aged 30+.
Can I convert a Tier 5 to a Tier 2 visa?
You can convert a Tier 5 to a Tier 2 visa, just not while remaining in the UK. Once the two years are up on your Tier 5 visa, your employer would need to make a separate application for a Tier 2 visa.
For full details, here’s an in-depth post from the professional service firm Sable International on switching from a Tier 5 visa.
Miscellaneous interview questions
These questions are related to the interview process. They cover uncommon situations and strange questions that people have been asked during interviews, which they have sought our advice on afterwards.
Is it normal for a company to ask me to send my presentation slides before an interview?
In the UK this is pretty normal. We’ve seen this at a lot of FTSE 250 companies.
Sending your slides allows the company to:
- Check your work
- Prepare questions
- See that you are serious about attending the interview
Mostly this allows the company to prepare questions and ensure that their time won’t be wasted.
I was interviewing for a part time job while at university and was asked “Do you think you have enough time for this job?” How should I answer this question and what does it mean?
A level of empathy is implied in this question. The interviewer may be thinking that they wouldn’t have the time if they were in your position. Your answer should acknowledge the interviewer’s concern and reassure them that you can address it.
“I realise that it seems like I have no time, as I study and also have other jobs, but I have carefully checked my schedule to make sure I can make this job a priority and also be well rested.”
Make sure you say priority as no one likes to feel as though they are being squeezed in, or that they are second best.
I was asked in a sales interview to reveal details about clients I have worked with or contacts I have. This information is confidential. What should I have done?
Questions around targets, style, and process are usually aimed at understanding the candidate better. Asking for customer specifics such as names would clearly be a confidentiality breach and the company should know this.
Simply state in the interview that this is privileged information which you cannot share. A professional interviewer and company will respect your integrity.
I had an interview which went well and I was told that the company would get back to me by a certain date. That date has now passed, what should I do?
Firstly, it’s important to respect that people are busy and their schedules may change. We would suggest waiting until the following day before sending an email or calling the company to follow up on the interview. Even if this is just for your own peace of mind, we would recommend sending a nice little note along the lines of:
I recently had an interview with you on <DATE>. Firstly, I want to thank you for both your time and a great experience. Secondly, I know you must be very busy, but I remembered you saying I would hear back from you by <DATE>.
I just wanted to check in, as I really want this job and am hoping for good news.
Applying for work from outside the UK
Is it possible for me to work in the UK without being an international student?
To work in the UK without being an international student, you would need to apply for either a Tier 1, Tier 5 or Tier 2 out-of-country visa. These are all explained in our Introduction to Working in the UK guide.
This process is significantly more difficult and involves finding employers who cannot locate existing skilled labour within the UK.
Does Job Ready English help to provide or source work placements
No, this is not a service that we offer.
Can Job Ready English send me job vacancies for my chosen industry or role?
We only send job vacancies to the students enrolled in our bespoke 1-to-1 coaching programme. If you’re looking for current vacancies, we recommend that you use one of our three favourite UK job search sites. You can find out more by reading our article on the best job search sites or watching our summary video.