• Overcoming the skills shortage with the Graduate Visa scheme

    • The current skills shortage is causing an immense strain for UK food manufacturers, as well as other industries, as it has become increasingly difficult to find the right people to fill their vacancies.

      It is therefore definitely worth considering the option of hiring an international graduate – a relatively straightforward process that is free to the company and doesn’t require sponsorship.

      So, what exactly is the Graduate Visa Scheme?

      From the 1st July 2021, international students graduating from UK universities can apply for a Graduate Visa to become eligible to work in the UK for 2 years - a process they do themselves online.  They will be eligible for the scheme once they graduate, providing they meet the basic criteria of:

      • Currently in the UK
      • Completed a UK bachelor’s degree or higher
      • Holder of a current student visa

      The education provider (College or University) must also be a licensed sponsor – and we’ve yet to find one that isn’t already.

      But what does the Graduate Visa cost?

      There is no associated cost for a business to employ someone with a Graduate Visa.

      Students however have to pay for their Graduate Visa application which costs them £700, plus an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) of £624 per year.

      What happens after 2 years?

      If the student wants to continue to work and live in the UK once the 2-year timeframe has passed then they will have to apply for the standard Skilled Worker visa, which has replaced the Tier 2 (General) work visa. More information can be found on the links below.

      Benefits to you employing someone on a Graduate Work Visa

      One of the biggest benefits is there is no real financial risk to the business. You can employ someone for up to 2 years and if they prove to be valuable to your business, you can continue to employ them through the Skilled Worker route. In that time, they would have built up great skills, experience, and knowledge – and you would know if further investment in them would be worth it – a bit like a 2 year probation period!

      If you have a vacancy and would like to consider an international graduate…

      b3 jobs are working closely with various UK universities in assisting their graduates to find their first job in the UK food manufacturing industry – many of which are exclusive to b3.

      If you have a role that you think would suit, then please give us a call on 01435 866000, email food@b3jobs.co.uk, or fill in our Register a Vacancy form.

      Further information:

      Government guidelines on Graduate Visa Scheme

      Educational establishments with sponsorship licences

      Government guidelines on Skilled Worker Visa

      You may also be interested in another recent blog of ours with some tactics you can use to help your hiring process - How hiring managers can tackle the UK food industry labour shortage.

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