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International students

International students

All of our international students have full access to the Careers and Employability resources we offer. Our support is completely free.

We can help you make the most of your time at Exeter, and plan your next steps after graduation – whether you want to stay in the UK, return home, or work elsewhere in the world.

You might have some questions about your career which are unique to international students

As an international student, there are some rules around working in the UK. You can find detailed information about visa options for working in the UK on the International Student Support pages.

Working in the UK after your studies

On 1 July 2021 the new 2-year Graduate immigration route will open. The International Student Support pages have a useful guide which explains how to apply.

Students who are due to graduate in 2021 and who are currently distance learning outside the UK because of the pandemic will need to return to the UK in order to apply under the Graduate route. Find out when you need to arrive on the International Student Support pages.

The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) have created a FAQ for International Students wanting to work in the UK and this can be found here.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) have also published some really useful information about working after your studies which can be found here.

Paid work during your studies

If you are interested in carrying out paid work during your studies, perhaps in a part time job, or an internship then you may only be able to work a certain number of hours per week. The International Student Support pages provide more information.

Voluntary or unpaid work

If you are considering taking up volunteering or unpaid work please refer to the International Student Support pages to check what is considered as volunteering or voluntary work.

If you have any visa related questions or need more help please email

If you want to have a graduate job in the UK you need to develop your employability skills as an undergraduate or a postgraduate. You need to have evidence and examples of the skills that employers expect graduates to have including: team work, leadership, communication, and problem solving skills. These are often described as soft skills. 

Many graduate jobs are advertised early on in your final academic year, usually September to December to start in September the following year. This is when you need to look and apply. The website Target Jobs explains about when and how employers recruit graduates, including the difference between graduate schemes and direct entry routes.

For the latest graduate vacancies, the best place to look is on Handshake, but if you need any support with looking for a graduate job, get in touch with the Career Zone via email, our online chat or by phoning +44 (0)1392 72449. 

The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) have created an FAQ for International Students wanting to work in the UK and this can be found here. The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) have also published some really useful information and this can be found here.

You can find information about visa options for working after your studies on the International Student Support pages.

If you have any visa related questions please email

  • Start with internships or part time work - This will improve your chances for a job by demonstrating you can work in the UK and internships can improve your chances of gaining a graduate role with the same company.
  • Gain employability skills - Apply for sector specific training with Professional Pathways or Green Consultants, gain transferable skills with Challenges Online or begin with The Exeter Award to enhance your employability and boost your CV.
  • Learn how to sell yourself to an employer - This is more than just listing your qualifications and experiences. It is showing the employer that you really understand what they are looking for and explaining that you have what they need. It really helps if you research the sector, the company and the opportunity. Use the Ask An Alum scheme to easily connect with University of Exeter alumni to ask careers questions or apply for one-to-one careers advice, support and guidance from an experienced professional for up to 6 months with the Career Mentor Scheme. Attend a Careers Fair and sector relevant events as listed on Handshake.
  • Apply early for Graduate schemes - Look for graduate schemes & maximize your chances. You need to apply for these early as they tend to open in September and close in December the year before you graduate.
  • Understand the process - Get support in writing your online application, advice on online tests, assessment centre or multiple interviews.
  • Work on your language skills - Working, volunteering and practising your spoken English as often as you can whilst studying at the University of Exeter can boost your language skills. There is also English language support available.
  • Use LinkedIn to network with Exeter alumni and their employers - LinkedIn’s Alumni Tool is a hugely powerful resource for researching careers and expanding your network.

You may need to apply for a National Insurance number as an internatoinal student, but you may start work before you do this and apply for one when the service resumes. For confirmation for this, see Apply for a National Insurance number.

Please read UKCISA pages for latest guidelines.

A National Insurance Number (NINO) is a number unique to you to help your employer pay your National Insurance contributions; no one else can use this number and it is not related to health insurance. Your National Insurance Number is free to apply for, please do not pay an online service to generate a number for you. It is required when you get paid employment in the UK to record your national insurance contributions and is your personal account number.

You can start work before your National Insurance number arrives if you can prove you can work in the UK. You should tell your employer that you’ve applied for one, and give it to them when you have it. 

We offer free use of our telephones for contacting the National Insurance Number helpline. Please enquire at the main Career Zone reception. It is free to apply for a NINO - do not use online services who advertise this and ask for payment.

International students find working part-time a great way to increase their work experiences and understand British culture and there are many part-time jobs in Exeter and Cornwall that particularly suit international students. 

For the latest part-time/casual vacancies, the best place to look is on Handshake, but if you require any support when looking for part-time employment please contact the Career Zone via email, our online chat (bottom right of this screen) or by phoning +44 (0)1392 72449. 

We also offer webinars on finding part-time employment as an international student, you can search for these in Handshake under events.

If you are considering taking up volunteering or unpaid work please refer to the International Student Support pages to check what is considered as volunteering or voluntary work.

If you have any visa related questions please email

We understand the unique challenges that students from India and China face when applying for jobs in the UK and when returning to their home countries. Our Career Ready programmes will help you to gain the skills needed to succeed in both recruitment environments. 

As both China and India Career Ready contain helpful information about the Indian / Chinese graduate labour market, application and selection processes used in both countries and information about how to conduct a Chinese Indian job search from the UK, it will also be of interest to any other students who wish to work in India or China during or after their studies. 

Access the India Career Ready programme here.

Access the China Career Ready programme here. 

Search our events and book a place on any of our India / China Career Ready workshops.

Success stories

Polina Vorms, an international student from Russia, graduated in 2015 from the Univeristy of Exeter after studying Business and Management. She started working in the UK as a Research Analyst in Education Technology a week after graduating and we asked her how she managed to secure that role: 

Why did you choose to study at the University of Exeter?

I loved the course and the curriculum. After arriving I realised how amazing the environment was at the university – libraries, events, staff support.

Why did you choose your particular course?

I always thought I had an entrepreneur in me so Business and Management was a logical choice.

Did you use Careers Zone or other careers support whilst at Exeter?

Yes – I got my first job through Careers Zone

Please tell us about the application process for your graduate job, and how you prepared and/or managed this?

 I had a mentor and constant support from Careers Zone staff who helped me through every stage of interviewing

What aspects of being an international students worked in your favour during the application process?

 Being fluent in multiple languages, and having graduated from a UK university was a big advantage that I had.

What is your advice for any international student looking for a job within the UK?

You have to be prepared to hear a “No” and don’t be afraid – work hard, be persistent, do your due diligence when applying. Exeter Uni gives a perfect base to get to know what you want to do in the future so start thinking in advance, use resources and by the time you will be applying you will be the top candidate!