- Do you want to study at a British university and then find a job after graduation?
- Are you unsure about your degree choice?
- Would you like to learn which subjects are the best for landing a job with work visa sponsorship?
For many years, British universities have been prominently featured in world education rankings, demonstrating exceptional academic performance, industry-leading research and high student satisfaction rate.
That's why the United Kingdom has been one of the most popular destinations for overseas students. Every year more than 100,000 foreign students arrive in the UK to pursue higher education. Many of them are interested in staying in the country and finding a job after graduation.
Although a British university degree is often associated with enhanced career prospects, the employment rate for students who require a visa is quite low. In 2019-2020 only 3.6% of students on a Tier 4 visa managed to switch to a Work visa.
The reality is that getting a job with visa sponsorship is extremely difficult, especially if you apply for entry-level roles due to a highly competitive labour market.
So, what can you do to stand out and be among those who successfully land a job with visa sponsorship?
First of all, the secret to getting a work visa is careful planning. Ideally, it would be best to start thinking of ways to improve your CV and increase your employability a couple of years before your student visa expires. If you come to the UK for your master's degree, you only have one year to find a job.
We already mentioned in one of our blogs that employers highly value practical experience. That's why you should gain as much work experience as possible during your university years.
But what about your degree?
Does your university subject impact your job application success?
There is no strong evidence to suggest that certain degrees are "better" for your career in the UK than others. The truth is that almost anyone can get a job with visa sponsorship, regardless of what they studied at university. As long as you work hard on polishing your job application, have some relevant work experience and demonstrate a genuine interest in the role, there is nothing that could hold you back.
According to a study done by the New College of the Humanities, only half of all UK graduates work in a field related to their degree after leaving university. For example, you could study psychology and work part-time at university and get a job offer with visa sponsorship in marketing.
However, it is advisable to study those degrees that teach you in-demand skills and niche industry knowledge that you can apply in your future career. The best subject to study is the one that allows you to apply for jobs on the shortage occupations list (SOL). You can find out more about the most popular SOL jobs in the UK here.
We will explain the strategy for choosing the best degree subjects that could help you obtain work visa sponsorship in Britain. But don't worry if you are already in the UK and study for a degree that we are not going to mention. You can still get a job!
How to choose the best degree as an international student?
So, the first step is to gather more information about the subject you want to study.
If you are applying for an undergraduate degree, then UCAS is the best platform for this. UCAS stands for the University and Colleges Admissions Service. All applications for full-time undergraduate courses in the UK must be submitted via this website.
You can also find out subject-specific information on UCAS, including:
- Course details
- Entry requirements
- Graduate job prospects
- Related careers
- Universities that offer these programmes
- International students ratio
Once you decide which subject you want to take, you can pick a university that offers this course.
Use FindAMasters or Prospects websites if you want to find out more about your master's options.
Tip: don't go for the most popular course
Contrary to what you might think, looking at the list of most popular degree courses in the UK is not advisable. If most people choose a degree in business management and economics, you should pick something more niche. When you think about your degree, consider it as your unique selling point that would help you stand out.
As an international student, you should aim to obtain relevant work skills that would increase your chances of receiving a job offer with a UK visa.
Look at the growing industries in the UK, in particular, those that experience skills shortages. If you get a degree related to one of the SOL jobs, you will increase your chance of getting a work visa after graduation.
So, no matter which subject you end up choosing, always remember to pick the degree that teaches you practical skills and industry-specific knowledge.
Best subjects to study for getting a work visa
We compiled a list of subjects that open career doors to SOL jobs and teach you valuable niche knowledge:
- Aerospace Engineering
- Biological Sciences
- Computer Engineering
- Computer Science
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Engineering and technology
- Graphic Design
- Mechanical Engineering
- Radiography and Medical Technology
- Software Engineering
- Veterinary Science
In this article, we explained how you should choose a degree to maximise your chance of landing a job with visa sponsorship. Now you can do some more research into the subjects and pick the one that suits you.
However, we want to point out that you should enjoy what you are doing at the end of the day. So, choose the subject that you are passionate about.