Why More and More Employers Should Hire International Students

Graduate jobs

May 30, 2019

The international student community that comes to the UK each year is a diverse body across cultures, ethnicities, and nationalities. Apart from being a boost to the economy, they also deliver intangible skills, and that sets them apart from the local students.

We tell you what an international student brings to the table, and what the process of hiring an international student actually entails. The hiring of an international candidate doesn’t have to be an immigration hassle, and here’s why it’s easier than you think.

Fewer immigration conditions

• No RLMT is required

This is an advantage to both employers and applicants. Resident Labour Market test requires the employer to advertise the vacancy within the UK twice and widely, and make sure that there are no suitable workers already living permanently in the UK. Unless this is proven, foreign workers cannot be hired. But if you are hiring an international student looking to convert from Tier 4 to Tier 2 visa, you are spared the hassle of being subject to this added filter.


• Other benefits to employers

When hiring a foreign worker, employers in the UK need to pay an additional charge for each foreign worker they employ. This is called the ‘immigration skills surcharge’. However, they don’t have to pay the immigration skills surcharge if the worker being sponsored has a Tier 4 (Student) visa and is switching to a Tier 2 (General) visa. This makes your application more attractive to the employer while you still have a valid Tier 4 Visa.


Other advantages include the unrestricted CoS letters, cooling off period, etc.


Qualifications and skills

Many of the international students possess qualifications, prior experience or skills in areas with skill-gaps in the UK. These fields include, but are not limited to, the sciences, engineering and digital arts. For organizations operating in such fields, this pool of talent is a rich resource. Therefore, not only do they bring distinct skills and approaches to the table, but they also increase the competitive edge of the companies and/or organizations.



Workplace diversity is ethically, legally and morally the HR goal to strive for. Having a diverse workforce ensures you don’t end up with yes-men and homogenous ideas. It also makes the workplace safer and enjoyable for employees. While it is intuitively important to prioritize a larger diversity and equal opportunities for candidates, now there is proof that diversity also makes financial sense. And this research is backed by statistics. According to a report by McKinsey, the top 25% of the companies with diversity in their management ranks were 35% likelier to financially outperform the industry medians. It really is a win-win.

New Perspective, fresh blood

An international student can potentially supply excellent research skills, a wealth of ideas and innovative solutions to everyday problems. An outpour of distinct ideas from people with different backgrounds can make meetings genuinely engaging and enhance the learning experience. This also means you get to train them in the early stages of their career, so they can grow up as balanced professionals who carry their distinct voice as along with the company.

Companies, especially start-ups looking to expand their business will find a gem of resource within the international student community. These students can facilitate such expansion in their home country due to the obvious advantage of their familiarity with the workplace culture and society. Another, more practical reason is that they know the language and dialects of these countries. Nothing like a local guide on a tour, and going by that analogy, no substitute for an international student to help you maneuver a new country. The additional benefit over someone from their country is that they have studied and lived in the UK for a while, so they are also acquainted with the workplace dynamics here.


Serve your global clients

With globalization, it is highly likely that organizations work with clients from across the world. In most cases, the organizations are multi-nationals themselves. It always provides an edge in the client-servicing arena to have someone from the country to liaise with them. Hiring international students ensures that in servicing your clients, they take into account the cultural decorum, societal principles, social celebrations, amongst other things.

Boost your brand as an employer

Organizations are often also in competition as employers: each player in the field wants to secure the best talent. A survey by PwC stands to prove this- 61% of women and 48% of men said they assessed the diversity of the company’s leadership team when deciding to accept an offer. 54% of women and 45% of men surveyed said they researched if a company had D&I policies in place when deciding to accept a position with their most recent employer.

In the light of Brexit

As a global company, you will need to rethink your hiring strategies in the light of Brexit. Whether you like it or not, the political climate is going to have major ramifications on all HR functions. So far nothing has been finalized on paper, but negotiations hint at the current Tier 2 work visa system being expanded to apply to EU workers too. The current distinction between EU and non-EU countries will end. This means a lot of the employers especially small businesses and start-ups that have so far avoided the extra effort by hiring EU nationals, will now have to go through the same efforts for hiring international as well as EU citizens.

Again, hiring students who are in the UK on Tier 4 Visa would be easier and help them avoid the extra administrative costs of sponsorship, like the Immigration Surcharge, a skills tax imposed on Tier 2 sponsors amounting to £364 per year of sponsorship for small employers and £1,000 per year of sponsorship for medium or large employers, payable on top on other visa fees.

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