If you have set your mind on studying in the creative and challenging environment of UK; then you are definitely in for rich and effective educational experience. However, to the dismay of students, there have been recent reports that the UK government is considering cutting international student numbers by nearly half in an effort to meet the immigration targets set by Prime Minister Theresa May. In fact, the recent steps do make it quite difficult for Indian students to make a career in the UK. In this article, we attempt to chart a course to permanent residency in the UK, albeit a perilous one.
1. Start by getting an admit.
Appear for exams like TOEFL, IELTS, GRE etc. Draft your SOPs, LORs, and essays. Use various sources to collect information about the universities that you want to apply to. Send in your application before the deadline and make sure that you have a valid passport.
2. Get a student visa.
If you’re studying a short course (typically <= 11 months) and are over 18 years old, you should apply for a short-term study visa. If you’re applying for a longer course, you should make sure that your chosen institution holds a Tier 4 Sponsor License. Then, you’ll need to apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa.
3. Grab an internship to increase your chances of full time employment.
Students of publicly funded higher education institutions on Tier 4 student visas can work part-time (up to 20 hours) during the term, and full time during term breaks.
4. Get a work permit.
International students account for almost a fifth (18%) of those in higher education, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). However, unlike their British and EU-national peers, non-EU students need to have a job right at the end of their course to get a work visa! If you don’t have a job at the end of your graduation, you can apply to jobs from outside of the UK, and once you secure a job, apply for a work permit. Further, the minimum annual salary required for a Tier 2 visa is usually £35,000.
It’s quite a challenge to find full-time employment by the end of your graduation, but it’s not impossible. If you believe that UK is the ideal place for you, you can do the following to increase your chances of success of:
Apply early. Use your college’s career service centre to help you with your CV and personalize your application.
Check if an employer is registered to sponsor students. “If applying for a Tier 2 visa, you can check if an employer is on the Home Office list of registered UK employer sponsors.” says Justin Richardson, career adviser at the University of Liverpool.
Network your way into a job. Use your university career service, and go to international student-focused careers fairs and introduce yourself. “Use alumni networks to contact past graduates from your country who are now working in the UK,” says David Gee, global employability manager at the University of the West of England.
Be flexible and resilient when rejected. “You might not get the job of your dreams, but if you can get anything it’s a step on the ladder.” says O’Brien.
Once you get the job offer, you will be eligible for a Tier 2 visa; also known as a Work Permit. You can apply to extend your visa for up to another 5 years till you apply for a Permanent Residence.
5. Apply for permanent residency.
If you stay for five years on a work permit, then you are eligible to apply for a Permanent Residence (PR) or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
Applicants for ILR must have sufficient knowledge of the English language and sufficient knowledge about life in the United Kingdom. Applicants who are under the age of 18 or over the age 65 at the time of application are exempt from this requirement.
Once permanent residence has been granted, there are no immigration related restrictions on the work or the business you may do in the UK, and no time limits on your stay in the UK. However, it is important to try to not to stay outside of the UK for long periods (2 years or more), as this can lead to the ILR being revoked. In order to avoid this, most migrants will be able to apply for British Citizenship after 1 year as a permanent resident.
6. Get citizenship.
After one year on ILR, you can apply for citizenship of the United Kingdom.
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