Lian Lian

Star Member
Feb 2, 2021
47
85
Hi, I am an international student studying law in the UK. I am still on a valid Tier 4 visa as I am in my final year of uni until June 2022. However, this will be expiring very soon and once that happens, I won't be able to do any VS as I will no longer have the right to work.

I do not know the answer to all of your questions. However, if it helps, I will be applying for a Skilled Worker Visa after my graduation if I don't get any TC offers in this cycle. I have three reasons for doing so
  1. This will allow me to remain in the UK and apply for paralegal roles without any immigration issues.
  2. I can also apply for VS and this can increase my chances of securing a TC because I can apply to both VS and direct TC. Additionally, the Skilled Worker Visa would allow me to finally apply for Winter VS. I couldn't apply to any Winter VS because they clashed with my term time dates and that is not allowed under my Tier 4 visa.
  3. I am interested in firms like HSF, CMS and Shearman that recruit their trainees exclusively from VS.
Hope this is helpful somehow!

Edit: Hi, sorry, I didn't mean the Skilled Worker Visa. I meant the Graduate Visa! I got the names mixed up and this is such a big difference, so sorry for this mistake!
 
Last edited:

lawnoob

Valued Member
Premium Member
Jan 15, 2021
109
72
Hi, I am an international student studying law in the UK. I am still on a valid Tier 4 visa as I am in my final year of uni until June 2022. However, this will be expiring very soon and once that happens, I won't be able to do any VS as I will no longer have the right to work.

I do not know the answer to all of your questions. However, if it helps, I will be applying for a Skilled Worker Visa after my graduation if I don't get any TC offers in this cycle. I have three reasons for doing so
  1. This will allow me to remain in the UK and apply for paralegal roles without any immigration issues.
  2. I can also apply for VS and this can increase my chances of securing a TC because I can apply to both VS and direct TC. Additionally, the Skilled Worker Visa would allow me to finally apply for Winter VS. I couldn't apply to any Winter VS because they clashed with my term time dates and that is not allowed under my Tier 4 visa.
  3. I am interested in firms like HSF, CMS and Shearman that recruit their trainees exclusively from VS.
Hope this is helpful somehow!
Hey! thanks for your reply! I had considered applying for the 2 years visa extension for international students to remain in the UK but ultimately did not because I was unable to afford the fees along with having to look and pay for housing this year. I'm unable to go back and apply now which is a bummer, since you must be in the UK to extend the visa before it expires. Do you (or anyone else) know any alternative routes for a smoother process from this point onwards?
 

Romiras

Legendary Member
Associate
Apr 3, 2019
133
231
I am from Hong Kong (I hold regular HK passport not BNO), but I'd like to work and be a commercial lawyer in the UK. However I'm worried that my chances of being accepted for a VS/TC slim if I am not currently in the UK since they would have to sponsor my visa and that I don't have enough experience. I am back in HK as my Tier 4 student visa has expired, and I am currently applying for legal experiences in HK while I am here (paralegalling, legal assistant, anything really) so I have a better chance of securing a VS/TC in the UK.

Personal background/journey:
- Did up to secondary education in HK and studied LLB at Russell Group University, graduated summer 2021.
- Have had one month legal internship experience at an 'overseas' law firm in HK before university, no legal experience since and none in the UK.
- Have done bits of part-time hospitality, tutoring, and graphic design freelance work.

My question is, if my aim is to get a TC and work in the UK ASAP, how long would working as paralegal in HK be enough until I have 'sufficient' experience to support my application for a TC? Would it be faster/easier if I apply for a paralegal role in the UK instead, then apply for VS/TCs while I'm in the UK on a working visa since there is no issue of sponsoring me over for VS? Does anyone know whether they generally take international applicants for in-house/law firm paralegal roles?

Also, since I've seen some threads about lots of firms not sponsoring visa for VS since it's too expensive, has anyone found any way around this or is the only option to apply to firms that do sponsor VS for international applicants?

Would my chances in getting an offer be higher if pay for my own Skilled Worker visa?
Visa - Without a valid visa, you may not be able to undertake paid work in the United Kingdom and therefore you may not be eligible for vacation schemes.

Experience - Most firms do not have a set amount of required legal / non-legal work experience. What's important is your ability to communicate your soft skills, your motivations to pursue commercial law, your motivations to be based in the UK (over other countries), your reasons for that firm, etc. Experience (both legal and non-legal) help you do this, both with respect to the application form (or cover letter) and the interview(s). You should just apply accordingly when the opportunity arises. I have friends who were unable to get training contracts during their time in university but secured training contracts after. They were international like yourself.

Vacation Schemes / Training Contracts - Just because you're unable to do a vacation scheme doesn't mean you're necessarily precluded from a career in commercial law, in the UK. You can still apply for direct training contracts. There are many international students (in all differing circumstances) that have successfully obtained training contracts in the UK, whether via VS or Direct TCs.

Paying for your own Skilled Worker Visa - This won't matter. The firms that could sponsor you in any case would need to have a business case to pick you over others, and therefore it's unlikely you'd be applying to a firm that felt that the £2000-£3000 cost would be material to your case. That's usually an afterthought.
 
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Romiras

Legendary Member
Associate
Apr 3, 2019
133
231
Hi, I am an international student studying law in the UK. I am still on a valid Tier 4 visa as I am in my final year of uni until June 2022. However, this will be expiring very soon and once that happens, I won't be able to do any VS as I will no longer have the right to work.

I do not know the answer to all of your questions. However, if it helps, I will be applying for a Skilled Worker Visa after my graduation if I don't get any TC offers in this cycle. I have three reasons for doing so
  1. This will allow me to remain in the UK and apply for paralegal roles without any immigration issues.
  2. I can also apply for VS and this can increase my chances of securing a TC because I can apply to both VS and direct TC. Additionally, the Skilled Worker Visa would allow me to finally apply for Winter VS. I couldn't apply to any Winter VS because they clashed with my term time dates and that is not allowed under my Tier 4 visa.
  3. I am interested in firms like HSF, CMS and Shearman that recruit their trainees exclusively from VS.
Hope this is helpful somehow!

If you're set on paying for the Skilled Worker Visa, then there's nothing that can be said and it must surely be the right choice for you - but I would say it's quite an excessively expensive route to only increase your 'chance' to get a Training Contract in the UK. There are a plethora of firms that offer healthy amounts of direct training contracts.
 

Jessica Booker

Legendary Member
Graduate Recruitment
Premium Member
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
9,493
14,184
I am from Hong Kong (I hold regular HK passport not BNO), but I'd like to work and be a commercial lawyer in the UK. However I'm worried that my chances of being accepted for a VS/TC slim if I am not currently in the UK since they would have to sponsor my visa and that I don't have enough experience. I am back in HK as my Tier 4 student visa has expired, and I am currently applying for legal experiences in HK while I am here (paralegalling, legal assistant, anything really) so I have a better chance of securing a VS/TC in the UK.

Personal background/journey:
- Did up to secondary education in HK and studied LLB at Russell Group University, graduated summer 2021.
- Have had one month legal internship experience at an 'overseas' law firm in HK before university, no legal experience since and none in the UK.
- Have done bits of part-time hospitality, tutoring, and graphic design freelance work.

My question is, if my aim is to get a TC and work in the UK ASAP, how long would working as paralegal in HK be enough until I have 'sufficient' experience to support my application for a TC? Would it be faster/easier if I apply for a paralegal role in the UK instead, then apply for VS/TCs while I'm in the UK on a working visa since there is no issue of sponsoring me over for VS? Does anyone know whether they generally take international applicants for in-house/law firm paralegal roles?

Also, since I've seen some threads about lots of firms not sponsoring visa for VS since it's too expensive, has anyone found any way around this or is the only option to apply to firms that do sponsor VS for international applicants?

Would my chances in getting an offer be higher if pay for my own Skilled Worker visa?
You can’t pay for your own skilled worker visa. It has to be paid for by the employer.

You could apply for your post-graduate visa that would give you two years to work in the U.K. though. It won’t necessarily help for a TC, but would help for VS applications, which then may convert to a TC. Will also help with paralegal work in the U.K. too.

You could allow apply for a ballot to the Youth Mobility visa: https://www.gov.uk/youth-mobility
 
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Jessica Booker

Legendary Member
Graduate Recruitment
Premium Member
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
9,493
14,184
Hey! thanks for your reply! I had considered applying for the 2 years visa extension for international students to remain in the UK but ultimately did not because I was unable to afford the fees along with having to look and pay for housing this year. I'm unable to go back and apply now which is a bummer, since you must be in the UK to extend the visa before it expires. Do you (or anyone else) know any alternative routes for a smoother process from this point onwards?
Ah ok - look at the Youth Mobility visa I linked above as an alternative.
 
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lawnoob

Valued Member
Premium Member
Jan 15, 2021
109
72
Visa - Without a valid visa, you may not be able to undertake paid work in the United Kingdom and therefore you may not be eligible for vacation schemes.

Experience - Most firms do not have a set amount of required legal / non-legal work experience. What's important is your ability to communicate your soft skills, your motivations to pursue commercial law, your motivations to be based in the UK (over other countries), your reasons for that firm, etc. Experience (both legal and non-legal) help you do this, both with respect to the application form (or cover letter) and the interview(s). You should just apply accordingly when the opportunity arises. I have friends who were unable to get training contracts during their time in university but secured training contracts after. They were international like yourself.

Vacation Schemes / Training Contracts - Just because you're unable to do a vacation scheme doesn't mean you're necessarily precluded from a career in commercial law, in the UK. You can still apply for direct training contracts. There are many international students (in all differing circumstances) that have successfully obtained training contracts in the UK, whether via VS or Direct TCs.

Paying for your own Skilled Worker Visa - This won't matter. The firms that could sponsor you in any case would need to have a business case to pick you over others, and therefore it's unlikely you'd be applying to a firm that felt that the £2000-£3000 cost would be material to your case. That's usually an afterthought.
These are very good points for me to consider, thank you so much for your reply!
 

lawnoob

Valued Member
Premium Member
Jan 15, 2021
109
72
You can’t pay for your own skilled worker visa. It has to be paid for by the employer.

You could apply for your post-graduate visa that would give you two years to work in the U.K. though. It won’t necessarily help for a TC, but would help for VS applications, which then may convert to a TC. Will also help with paralegal work in the U.K. too.

You could allow apply for a ballot to the Youth Mobility visa: https://www.gov.uk/youth-mobility

Thank you Jessica!
Side question, if i'm in X firm, do you know if it's easy to apply for the same position in X firm but in another location? Would I apply externally through regular application process or do they have relocations? E.g if I get a TC offer in a HK firm, would it be possible to have a permanent secondment to the UK at some point...?
 

Jessica Booker

Legendary Member
Graduate Recruitment
Premium Member
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
9,493
14,184
Thank you Jessica!
Side question, if i'm in X firm, do you know if it's easy to apply for the same position in X firm but in another location? Would I apply externally through regular application process or do they have relocations? E.g if I get a TC offer in a HK firm, would it be possible to have a permanent secondment to the UK at some point...?
It is easy to apply (anyone can apply for a role) but how easy it is to secure such a transger is a different matter. It is really going to depend on your experience within your home jurisdiction and how in demand that experience is within the new country. Transfers typically happen because they need a lawyer qualified in X jurisdiction to help on matters that cross into Y jurisdiction, In most instances, you cannot just work on matters in countries you are not qualified to give advice on which means your experience needs to outweigh the domestic market or bring something to the table that the domestic market cannot offer.

Permanent secondments are only likely once qualified and for something like HK to UK is more likely to happen at around 3+ years PQE rather than as a NQ.
 
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Lian Lian

Star Member
Feb 2, 2021
47
85
If you're set on paying for the Skilled Worker Visa, then there's nothing that can be said and it must surely be the right choice for you - but I would say it's quite an excessively expensive route to only increase your 'chance' to get a Training Contract in the UK. There are a plethora of firms that offer healthy amounts of direct training contracts.
Hi, I made a mistake in my earlier statement because I mixed up the names of the Skilled Worker and the Graduate Visa. I was actually referring to the grad visa (which is still expensive imo). Yes, I also considered the direct TC route but I wanted to try looking for paralegal jobs after graduation to gain some legal work experience here in the UK in addition to what I already have in my home country. I can't do that unless I have a valid right to work!
 

Lian Lian

Star Member
Feb 2, 2021
47
85
Hey! thanks for your reply! I had considered applying for the 2 years visa extension for international students to remain in the UK but ultimately did not because I was unable to afford the fees along with having to look and pay for housing this year. I'm unable to go back and apply now which is a bummer, since you must be in the UK to extend the visa before it expires. Do you (or anyone else) know any alternative routes for a smoother process from this point onwards?
Hi, no unfortunately I don't, because I read on the gov website that international students have to apply for the grad visa from within the UK itself. I was actually referring to the graduate visa and not the skilled worker visa in my earlier statement. Sorry for the confusion.

https://www.gov.uk/graduate-visa
 

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