Visa information for international PGDE students


Yesterday at Moray House Darcey and I spoke to some Canadian PGDE (Primary) students about teaching in Canada (Darcey) and working in the UK (me). 

Darcey’s content was incredibly informative and the key points and links to resources are in her post on “Follow-up to session for Canadian PGDEs”.

My small contribution to the talk was to cover options for international students who plan to work in the UK after graduating. In general, the most common route is via Tier 2 where an employer sponsors a graduate.  The criteria for obtaining this visa includes securing a job offer from a Tier 2 sponsor paying at least £20,000 per annum and applying while still in the UK (so that the employer doesn’t have to make any business case to hire you, they can just allocate the certificate of sponsorship). There is also a requirement to provide evidence that you had maintenance funds of at least £900 in your bank for 90 days prior to application.

There is no doubt that finding a Tier 2 visa to enable you to teach in Scotland after completing the PGDE is very challenging as local Education Authorities (and individual state schools) are not registered Tier 2 sponsors.  One option could be independent schools as they are able to sponsor via Tier 2.  The Scottish Council for Independent Schools website lists all their members and many of these are on the UKBA Register of Sponsors which is searchable by employer name or key word (more on this later!).

There are other routes to staying beyond the Tier 4 student visa and these include Tier 1 for Entrepreneurs, Tier 5 Youth Mobility and UK Ancestry (very useful for anyone who has a grandparent born in the UK). The Careers Service along with the International Office runs a regular workshop on this throughout the year and dates for semester 2 will be on our website soon. You can find useful information and links for international students on our website. You can also find out much more including where to get help with your specific case from the incredibly helpful Immigration Advisory Team in the International Office.

So, back to that UKBA Register of Sponsors….  When you open this PDF file, it is rather daunting as it is essentially an alphabetical list of around 26,000 employers.  It is not searchable by industry sector. My advice is use Ctrl F to search for a specific employer by name or to do a more speculative search by key word.  To do this, click on the down arrow when the search box appears and select “Open Full Reader Search” which should then appear on the left hand side of the screen.  All the matches found will be listed in this panel. This key word search will only highlight employers with that word in their name so the results are not comprehensive (for example not all advertising agencies have advertising in their name). However, I tried “School” and got 896 instances. “College” resulted in 418 instances so that may be a good starting point.


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