Experiencing the UK Graduate route: Nigeria, PhD

Date:Jul 2023
Topic(s): Graduate route, Recruitment, Student employability, Transition
Type(s): AGCAS Case study

The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS), a member of UKCISA’s International Student Employability Group (ISEG), has captured the experiences of international graduates seeking employment in the UK after graduation in a series of case studies.

Who are you?



Nationality / country of origin


Current visa

Skilled Worker

Are your expectations of your Graduate route visa being met?


University, level of study and programme of study

University in the East Midlands

Postgraduate research (PhD)

Academic Rheumatology

How many roles have you applied for since leaving university?


Current activity

Employed – full time (permanent contract)

Where do you work?

Job title


Employer / organisation

University in South West England

Briefly describe your role and your main responsibilities

Engaging in research and teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students. Co-supervising PhD students, personal tutorship, academic mentoring and other administrative roles

Time between the end of your course and start date for your current role

Less than 3 months

How did you find your current job?

Through a general recruitment website (Indeed, Totaljobs)

Thoughts on your visa 

Nothing has changed based on what I originally knew. However, there are professions classified under the shortage occupation list, but lecturers in those fields are not classified under the same list. This seems unexpected because it is tougher to get qualified lecturers in those fields than professionals to work in those fields. An individual has to become a professional first before acquiring higher degrees to lecture in that field.

The application process was straightforward and very simple. It was surprising to see that I did not have to supply hard copy documents or visit a centre for biometrics. The time from submission of my application to when my visa was approved was very short (less than 12 days) with the standard visa application (not priority). The cost was enormous as I had to pay over £4,500 for a five-year visa.

“The cost was enormous.”

Support and development 

While at university, I undertook recruitment activities, such as practicing interviews and attending assessment centres. I attended skills enhancement sessions. I have also started a postgraduate certificate programme in academic practice in order to obtain a teaching qualification.

Employer knowledge and attitudes 

Right to first refusal until they see that you have a lot to contribute and improve their organisation.

“Start building your profile early. There are lots of short course that can prepare you for any field you would like to explore.”

What advice would you give to current international students seeking graduate employment in the UK? 

Whilst still studying, view adverts, understand the requirements, and start building your profile early. Also, for those thinking of lecturing, utilise central short courses for modules on Preparing to Teach in Higher Education. There are lots of short courses that can prepare you for any field you would like to explore. Attend interviews whilst you’re still studying as this will help prepare you for future interviews.