Finding a job in the UK as a non-UK citizen

Big Ben and Houses of Parliament

United Kingdom (UK) is one of the largest economies in the world and one of the biggest international business hubs. Every year the country attracts more than 800,000 people to either study or work here due to its inclusive culture and outstanding education and healthcare system. UK’s unemployment rate is relatively stable and is around 4%, making it an attractive destination to launch a career.

According to the recent statistics provided by National Statistics, there were 205,528 work-related visas granted in the year ending September 2021 (including dependants), of which 99,345 were sponsored by UK employers. This is a considerable number. If you are wondering how those people successfully found a job in the UK and received work sponsorship from their employers to work in the country, you may need to read this article carefully.

Finding a job in the UK is not that difficult. There are several steps you can take to successfully find a job that suits you and move to the country legally. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Search

The first step of securing a job offer is applying for one. However, if you are a non-UK citizen or do not have a relevant visa that allows you to work in the UK legally, your job application can be rejected. This means you will not be able to secure an interview no matter how good your CV is. In order to avoid disappointments, it is vital to apply for jobs that sponsor work permits. Therefore, before applying, it is crucial to search and find the job that’s right for you and can sponsor a work visa. UK Visa Jobs is the perfect platform to start your job search as it provides lists of jobs that sponsor work visa. Using UK Visa Jobs saves you a lot of time and allows you to focus on applying for jobs that suit you.

Step 2: Apply

Applying for a job essentially means submitting your job application. However, before you apply, it is a good idea to take some time to think about what you want in your career, what you are good at and what experiences you have. It is also essential to prepare a CV that really makes you stand out.

There are a few ways of applying, and it is slightly different for students and experienced professionals. The most common way of submitting an application is via a company’s website. Generally, most employers in the UK have their own dedicated web page where people can search and apply for jobs. UK Visa Jobs help you navigate those pages and take you to the page where you can submit your application directly.

The other way of applying is via agencies or head-hunters. Head-hunters usually approach you directly if they find your skills or experience match a role. That’s also why this is more common for experienced professionals than students or recent graduates. However, this is a passive approach. If you are not in the UK or not a highly skilled specialist in an area, the chance of being discovered by a head-hunter is very low. That’s why it is important to apply for jobs actively.

Step 3: Complete online assessments

Many UK employers receive hundreds and thousands of applications. Reviewing each application is a huge task for them. That’s why many employers put in place an initial screening process, where they use automated systems to select suitable candidates before the application reaches an actual human. One such kind of screening is psychometric assessment.

There are a few very common types of assessments that companies use. For most experienced hire jobs, companies may require you to complete a Situational Judgement Test to test your suitability for the job. Depending on the role, they may also require you to complete a numerical reasoning test and a coding test to assess your job-related skills. For student and graduate jobs, most employers require you to complete a situational judgement test and a numerical reasoning test, or a combination of both. Some employers may also require you to complete a verbal reasoning test and a logical reasoning test. However, they are not as common as the other two tests. In some cases, depending on the role, you may also be required to complete a coding test.

These assessments help employers identify suitable candidates with automation and reduce the number of applications reviewed by their staff. To progress to the interview, you often need to meet a certain benchmark. Therefore, it is essential to practise such types of tests beforehand. There are platforms like Learn and Pass, where you can practise some of the mentioned tests. For more information, please read our assessment guidance.

Step 4: Interview

If you are successful in your initial screening stage, employers will often invite you to an interview. Interviews can be in different formats. They can be digital, where you record your answers to pre-set questions via video recording platforms. Nowadays, this is a very common way of interviewing students and graduates. The interview can also be via phone or platforms like zoom or teams. Before the pandemic, many experienced hire interviews were conducted face to face. However, most of the interviews are online now.

During the interview, you will be asked various questions. Those questions can be categorised as strength-based, competency-based, case study, motivation, commercial awareness, and technical capability. The type of interview and questions asked will be different based on the role you are applying for. For more information, please read our interview preparation guidance. You can also attend our interview workshops to improve your interviewing skills and increase your chance of being hired.

Step 5: Follow up interviews

For many positions, you will need to go through a few rounds of interviews. For student and graduate jobs, you may need to attend an assessment day or assessment centre, where you take part in various assessments like group and individual exercises. If you are an experienced professional, you may again have one of the strength-based, competency-based, case study or commercial awareness and technical capability interviews, or a combination of a few.

Step 6: Receive an offer

If you perform well in all the above steps and meet the recruiter’s requirements, you will be made a job offer, which is an offer of employment. Once you accept the offer, you will normally be sent a formal contract, and the onboarding process will start. The onboarding process typically also includes background checks to verify the information you provided to them. So, it is important not to lie on your CV. This is also when a member of the company’s recruitment team reaches out to you to provide you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) and asks you to start your visa application process if your job start date is approaching.

Step 7: Apply for a visa and move to the UK

Given your background checks are complete and you have received your Certificate of Sponsorship (COS), you will start applying for your a Skilled Worker Visa. Some companies may pay for your visa application and relocation fees, but some ask you to bear the cost yourself. After you are successfully granted a skilled work visa, you will be able to move to the UK legally and start your career here. If you are already in the UK on a student visa, you just need to switch to a skilled work visa to start your employment. If you have a family overseas, you may also be able to bring them as dependents.