HOW TO WORK DURING AND AFTER STUDY IN THE UK AS NIGERIAN STUDENTS
In the past, the United Kingdom (UK) is one of the most attractive destinations for Nigerian students and other international students from other parts of the world. Today, the long stayed interest in acquiring higher education in the UK is now declining.
This does not mean that UK is no longer one of the best places to study in the world; it is rather due to some policy changes that do not seem to favour international students.
The current development is thus putting both EU and non-EU students in fear and shifting them to the USA, Canada and Australia.
What are these changes
In 2012, the UK government brought up policies that make it harder for students to stay and work after their study. It is difficult to find a job as a fresh graduate that will pay you up to £20,800 starting salary.
Somehow, that is what is now required to earn a work visa after graduation. Initially, there used to be an after-study work visa that enables the students to stay and work for two years.
Today, as far as the UK government is concerned, international students are not immigrants. They are there to learn; not to earn
HOW TO WORK DURING AND AFTER STUDY IN THE UK
Work part time during study: Once you gain admission to a UK university for a full time Undergraduate or Post graduate study in the UK, you will be issued a Tier 4 visa.
This visa allows you to work part time for maximum of 20 hours a week only if you are admitted to public university. Those who study in private universities are not allowed to work part time.
Also, international students in public universities are allowed to work full-time during holiday and undergo a work placement programme necessary for their course of study. You can also take up on-campus jobs directly from your university or the Students’ Union.
As much as those who are in public universities can take up part time jobs, they are restricted to some point in terms of the kind of jobs they can do. For example, it is not allowed to start your own business, be a registered consultant or work more than 20 hours a week.
Here are some types of jobs commonly available to international students:
Sales assistant, river, pizza delivery, gardener, customer assistant, freelance translator, waitress, receptionist, facilities assistant, residence guider, social media content developer, newspaper distributor, photographer, personal tutor, ice cream scooper, waiter/waitress, smoothie maker, bartender, cashier, blogger, graphic designer, software developer intern, bookseller, tour guide, research assistant, pet caretaker, house/office cleaner, babysitter, security guard and so on.
Work after study: As non EU students like Nigerians, you can get a work visa after your study only if you have a graduate level paying job from a well licensed company.
This job, as stated above, should not pay you less than £20,800. Hence, if an international student with a graduate or post graduate certificate gets a job as an Information Technology Technician, he can not still secure a work visa as that is not a graduate ate level job.
HOW TO APPLY FOR A WORK PERMIT IN THE UK
If your visa is still valid after your study, you can take up a job and file a work permit. At this time you can stay in the UK until decision is made on your work permit application.
If approved, your visa status will switch to tier 2 which will enable you to live and work in the UK for up to 5 years. You are eligible to apply for permanent residence after five years.
Other documents required include a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed sponsor, biometric information, international passport, proof of fund/bank statement, language proficiency certificate and so on.
POSSIBLE CHANGES IN THE FUTURE.
Brexit is knocking. This means that some changes to immigration and job for foreigners are to be expected. No one can predict the direction that will take at the moment.
As it is the case in Canada and Australia now, most countries wants to switch to a merit based immigration system that attracts highly skilled and talented immigrants. These individuals are invited to take up job in specific fields where there is labour shortage.
Fortunately, there are other sources of financial aid for Nigerian students to study in the UK. Part time student jobs are not the only way to support your education. There are companies offering loans to international students.
Also there are scholarships available to study in many UK universities and other Bilateral Education Agreements that Nigerian students or other international students can benefit from.
The United Kingdom is still one of the best country to study in terms of quality education and enabling environment. You will experience first class teaching and research, well qualified and friendly instructors to mention but few.
Hence, if you desire to pursue your education in the UK, it’s still a good decision.