By Stephanie King, on 22 June 2016
This post should honestly be called ‘Guide to Not Getting Your Hopes Up.’ Publishing is a competitive industry all around the globe. Thousands of people are trying to make their way in the industry, so even getting a job in your home country can be difficult. Trying to make a career in the UK if you’re not from here seems almost impossible. But it can be done, and arming yourself with this knowledge from the beginning will help you.
For all the international students coming in for the 2016-2017 MA Publishing course, this one’s for you:
So I’m a student on a Tier 4 Visa
Great! You managed obtain permission to stay legally in this country for 16 months! That is a feat unto itself. That means you have the right to stay in the UK as long as you are working on completing your course.
Can I work on a Tier 4?
Indeed you can, up to 20 hours a week during term time. During vacation time you are allowed to work fulltime, but remember, the UCL MA Publishing is a year-long course, meaning the summer time counts as term time since that’s when you’ll be writing your dissertation.
When can I start working full time?
After you’ve been studying for 12 months, or after you’ve completed your degree.
Cool, I’ve done one of those two things, so I can just switch to a Tier 2 General work visa right?
HA. HA HA HA.
Unfortunately this is where things get really tough for non-UK and non-EU workers (N.B. this is being written before the referendum vote, so things are subject to change). Here’s what you’ll need to get a Tier 2 (from the lovely people at ukvisas.com):
- An offer of a suitably skilled job from a UK based Company that holds a sponsorship licence: ‘Suitably skilled’ basically means a job that requires a certain amount of education to be able to perform. If you want to look through all the jobs that count as unsuitable, take a look through this document. The sponsorship license means the company you want to work for has the ability to sponsor your Tier 2. To look up companies who are registered to sponsor, check this document. The fee to sponsor is about £1,500 a year.
- To score sufficient points for their ‘attributes’– applicants are awarded points if they are issued a Certificate of Sponsorship from the UK company and if they will receive at least what is considered to be the appropriate salary for the particular job role under the codes of practice: Like you had to earn points for your Tier 4 visa, the same is true of Tier 2.
- To score points by showing that they have enough money for their maintenance (living costs) in the UK: Right now, that means finding a job with a minimum salary of £20,700 per annum.
- To score points by demonstrating they can speak English to a basic level.
- The employer needs to have carried out a Resident Market Labour Test to ensure that a member of the UK resident workforce was not suitable for the job: Basically the company has to prove that you, the expensive foreign worker, is without a doubt the absolute best candidate for the job, and a no other UK residents that applied could perform the job even half as well as you. There is one bright side to this dream-crushing requirement – in the four months after you finish your degree in September to January when your Tier 4 visa expires, companies do not need to perform the Resident Market Labour Test. So those four months is the best time for you to apply apply apply!
Well, that was terrible. But knowing about it now will help you know what you’re up against There are people who do it, who beat the odds and are able to work in the UK despite not being a UK or EU resident. There are always exceptions and loopholes to take advantage of (if you’re from Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, or Taiwan you might want to take a look at the Youth Mobility Scheme), so make sure you do all of your research.
The best thing you can do for yourself now if you are really determined on working here is to make yourself known within the industry – so internships, go to events, join societies, talk to people. Try as hard as you can to make yourself invaluable so people are willing to pay the fees and jump through the hoops because they know you will enrich and diversify their company.
So to all my international homies, good luck, keep fighting, and if all else fails – find a rich Brit to marry so you can still get a passport and then find a job.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to see what Prince Harry is up to…