Adrian has been quite helpful in explaining the latest changes in the visa situation for students who will be graduating shortly, when the current Post Study Work visa will no longer be in place. Students will still be able to undertake work on completion of their studies under the Tier 2 category as long as they are being offered a graduate job with a graduate salary.
He explained that a majority of large companies are registered with the UKBA to be Tier 2 sponsors and many more join the scheme every week, so as not to miss out on the advantages given by the talented international employees. It costs a company £175 to sponsor a graduate, and there is no need for labour market test under the new system.
The challenge however is to persuade and educate the industry as to the process and benefits of sponsoring Tier 2 visas. Universities must play a part in educating potential Tier 2 sponsors as to how simple the process is on grad fairs, workshops, information on websites and open discussions with employers.
We heard that the first year will be challenging as a lot of companies will complain that they couldn’t sponsor employees as they didn’t understand the process. In Adrian’s opinion the universities that are successful in delivering message to employers will be successful in recruiting international students.
Prompted by questions from the international students Adrian mentioned that from a legal standpoint companies are not allowed to ask during a job application process if applicants require sponsoring and should judge the application purely on merit. He mentioned there is a previous legal precedent where employers have been penalised legally for refusing to accept an applicant because they needed to be sponsored.
Students asked what the basic graduate salary for tier 2 applications was and Adrian clarified that it stands at approximately £22,000 but it does change from sector to sector. He referred students to the UKBA website, jokingly saying that readers require a PhD just to understand it, where students can see what type of a job and what minimum salary are accepted. Students can also check there which employers are registered as Tier 2 sponsors.
Large companies are happy to sponsor Masters level students who are currently on post study work visas and 9 out of 10 in Adrian’s experience will, after initial 6 months on the job, help getting them on Tier 2 visas.