Finding Jobs Outside the UK

  • What are the language and visa requirements for working in your chosen country?
  • What is the job market like in the area/sector you would like to work in?
  • Do you have the right experience and qualifications?

Higher education systems can differ greatly across the globe, and employers elsewhere might view your UK degree and qualifications differently. You should think carefully about your motives and aspirations and it may be a good idea to talk over your ideas with a Careers Adviser before making a firm commitment to moving abroad.

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You might be thinking of taking some time out to travel after graduating – which can often be funded by working simultaneously. Depending on your nationality, there are a number of visa schemes to help you gain short-term employment outside your country of citizenship. Check with the embassy of your destination country to find out more, and see the website Anywork Anywhere for many examples and further resources.

People fluent in English are often in high demand as teachers around the world and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is a popular option for experiencing life in another culture. It can also become a longer-term international career. Some countries will require formal TEFL qualifications and experience in order for you to teach, so it’s important to do your research on the teaching qualifications required in each country. Some countries such as Japan have specific teaching schemes such as the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET) that will both train you and provide employment.

There are a number of organisations that offer international work experience. For example, the organisation AIESEC offers international internships in many different countries – ranging from eight weeks to 18 months. IAESTE is another organisation which offers international internship opportunities, mainly aimed at science and engineering students. The Careers Service runs an Internship Programme with summer opportunities around the world as well as shorter experiences each term in the UK.

There are organisations that ask for substantial fees to find you an internship abroad; do think very carefully whether this is the best route to international work experience, as you may be able to secure similar work by making your own approaches to potential employers. For the Careers Service policy on paid-for and unpaid experiences, please see our Internship Policy.

Secondments

Multinational companies, multilateral organisations, international development agencies and diplomatic services may all offer secondments or transfers to their international offices after a period of time, or as part of graduate training. Talk to organisations of interest to assess your chances of gaining an international posting if you work for them. If you have “wanderlust”, there are a number of recruiters who have graduate programmes that are explicitly intended to give international experience. Often these require fluency in more than one language, and real flexibility regarding job location. Examples of such recruiters include Kraft Heinz, Aviva, Heineken, RWE (energy), TUI Travel, Swire House (logistics), the InterContinental Hotels Group, and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

Emigration

Some major employers and international organisations recruit globally, and if you have the right skills they can recruit you directly into the location you apply to. Others may be willing to sponsor visas for successful candidates, but you should always check before applying. Unless you qualify for residence, in some instances you may not be eligible for jobs in certain countries or if you do move, may need to renew your visa regularly, sometimes by returning to your home country.

Some countries offer visas to fill specific skills shortages. If you have ambitions to work abroad eventually, it is worth bearing in mind that vocational qualifications are not always internationally transferable. You will not, for example, be able to teach in a state school in France with a British teacher training qualification. Therefore, it’s advisable to do your research on whether you can transfer qualifications: contacting professional bodies, specialist publications, and embassies can help with this.

It is important to remember that whilst being sponsored to work in the UK is an option, the competition among international applicants to secure sponsorship is incredibly high. Changes ahead for 2021 graduates should allow international students to remain in the UK to work for up to two years. For more information on this please visit the Oxford Visa and Immigration Office website and keep updated using the UKCISA website. Until then, looking at opportunities in your home country at the same time as your UK job search is often the best route to success in finding a job upon graduation.

If you are planning to return to your home country after your studies in Oxford, use the resources and tips described above to research your options and stay in touch with relevant opportunities and developments. In many countries, employers’ recruitment methods are very different from those in the UK. Graduate recruitment may take place at a different time of year, application processes may vary, and access to specific opportunities may be more closely related to your degree than in the UK. If you are an international student looking to work at home, maintain links with your home country by networking, keeping in contact with friends at university there, and joining national student societies at Oxford for further networking opportunities.

Meet employers

The Careers Service runs a number of internationally-focussed events, and brings together a range of organisations with international opportunities. Many multinational firms also attend Oxford’s careers fairs. If you are interested in working for one of their global offices, ask their UK representatives how you can apply to work for the firm in your country of choice. There are also a number of international employers who give recruitment presentations (and who sometimes conduct interviews here), so check CareerConnect's online events calendar regularly for details.

Student national societies are often very active with employers and are likely to host their own recruitment activities which may not always be advertised by the Careers Service. The Oxford Chinese Students and Scholars Association, for example, regularly hosts employers from China looking to hire Oxford graduates. You can identify relevant societies via Oxford SU and using Oxford’s Global Links on the University website.

Virtual careers fairs and recruitment agencies

As well as events organised by the Careers Service, there are many other fairs that take place throughout the world organised by international recruitment organisations. Some take place in London, and others are ‘virtual’ and held online. Look out for details of these on the Careers Service’s News page and e-newsletter.

Student national societies

Networking revolves around making contacts, so meeting nationals of the country you wish to work in will help build contacts there. If you are not a national of the country you would like to work in, joining the student national society can provide opportunities whilst you are in Oxford to develop your language skills and inter-cultural awareness.

Colleges and Departments

With academic staff at Oxford coming from more than 98 countries, there are further networks to be found within your own colleges and departments. Speak to tutors and support staff from countries that you’re exploring and find out if they are able to introduce you to other useful networks or resources. Get in touch with the alumni and development offices at your colleges and departments to find out how they keep in touch with their own alumni: LinkedIn? Databases? Newsletters? Some college alumni offices are also able to arrange work experience opportunities with alumni. Tap into these networks by asking alumni specific questions they can help with, such as how they would approach companies in their home country or what sort of CV style is best used.

Oxford Alumni Office

There are currently around 300,000 alumni around the world and around 150 regional alumni groups in more than 90 countries; so wherever you are planning to be in the world you are sure to find Oxonians near you. The Oxford Alumni Community is a state-of-the-art student and alumni networking platform run by the Alumni Office. Each student and alum is verified as having matriculated in the University and you can join using your LinkedIn profile; details are automatically synchronised so that you do not have to set up a new profile.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn can help you contact more Oxford alumni – as well as people not connected to Oxford who may be able to give you advice. Have a look at our Networking page which contains some detailed guidance on using LinkedIn.

Interviewing abroad

When you make international job applications, if you are unable to travel to interviews it is worth offering to be interviewed via Skype. Technology such as this is increasingly being used by international employers to do at least the first round of screening of applicants. Read more on Video and Telephone Interviews.

CV and resume advice

Some of our Careers Advisers are able to give feedback on US resumes and CVs for Canada. Check the adviser profiles for details.

Related pages

CareerConnect

CareerConnect – The Careers Service’s vacancy database frequently holds job postings placed by international recruiters.

Books

The following books are available in our Resource Centre in 56 Banbury Road.

  • The Gap Year Guide Book, edited by Jonathan Barnes
  • Gap Years for Grown Ups, Susan Griffith
  • Live and Work in Hong Kong, Rachel Wright
  • Live and Work in Canada, Frances Lemon
  • Live and Work in Spain, Guy Hobbs
  • Living and Working in America, David Hampshire
  • Living and Working in Australia, David Hampshire
  • Living and Working in France, David Hampshire
  • Living and Working in Italy, Caroline Prosser
  • Living and Working in New Zealand, David Hampshire
  • Living Spanish: A Grammar Based Course, R. P. Littlewood
  • The 5 Minute Linguist, edited by E. M. Rickerson and Barry Hilton

Worldwide Links

Recruitment agencies & events

Other resources for Oxford students

Links by country & region

Africa

Australia

China

  • Career Jet – search engine for jobs in China
  • Knowledge Must – Work in China, a guide by Knowledge Must (PDF).
  • Gradlink – For Chinese students studying in the UK
  • British Council Generation UK – Support for study or internships in China
  • Study China – Gain short term insights into China
  • ChinaHR – Recruitment firm
  • The Tier 5 Intern scheme – A Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) scheme designed specifically to allow international undergraduates and graduates to gain experience working in UK for up to 12 months.

Hong Kong

India

  • Career Jet – Search engine for jobs in India
  • Gradlink – For Indian students studying in the UK

Japan

Malaysia

  • Graduan – For Malaysian students
  • Gradmalaysia – Downloadable career guide available
  • Gradlink – For Malaysian students studying in the UK

Singapore

Middle East

  • JobsGlobal – jobs in the Middle East
  • BAYT – Arabic/English recruitment (covering Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE)
  • CareerJet – search engine for Jobs in the UAE

The Americas

Europe

Belgium

Denmark

Finland

  • Aarresaari – Wide range of information for graduate job seekers in Finland

France

Germany

  • Arbeits Agentur – Local job centres in Germany (in German)
  • Jobware – in German
  • Staufenbiel – Work in Germany, site for students and graduates (in German)
  • Absolventa – German Jobs (in German)
  • Mv4you – Opportunities in the Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania province of Germany
  • Macromedia – List of other recruitment sites

Ireland

Israel

  • Chamber – Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce (in Hebrew)
  • The Jerusalem Post – Jerusalem Post classified section

Italy

  • Job Meeting – Job vacancies and career fairs in Italy (in Italian)

Luxembourg

  • MTE – Ministre du travail et de l’emploi Luxembourg

Spain

Switzerland

  • Jobs – Jobs in Switzerland

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