Graduate Blog

Unconscionable Decisions and Unsavoury Hiring Practices


As an international student job-hunting in Europe, I’ve run into various odd scenarios. I’ve gone through roughly 30 interviews across Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, and the United Kingdom, but once the employer or recruiter finds out I’m an American on a UK tier 4 visa, the situation is guaranteed to be as follows:

Option 1: We cannot continue considering your application because you are not an EU citizen and thus lack the right to work

Option 2: (After a phone interview) Come in for an in-person interview. Once at the in-person interview, we’ll discuss the visa status. But we can’t sponsor you (aka: no chance of a job).

Option 3: Do you have a significant other here who is an EU citizen who you will marry in the next year? Because then you get the unrestricted right to live and work in Europe.

Which translates into…

Option 1: Many companies.

Option 2: Hays Consulting. After a phone interview, I was invited to London for an in-person interview (which cost an unreimbursed $100 USD) where they discovered I was on tier 4 sponsorship. Charmaine of Hays asked me to call them later if my sponsorship status suddenly changed and I was (magically) able to work for them without requiring sponsorship, despite them being listed as a tier 2 sponsor. Lies, all lies.

Option 3: A Swiss company heretofore nameless. Yesterday, I was contacted via e-mail that I was the ideal candidate but for the fact I was not an EU citizen, thus they could not even proceed with my application. Today, they reconsidered, only on the condition I marry an EU citizen within the year to gain full working rights in Europe.

So, basically, my options are unemployment, ‘magically’ gaining the right to work sans sponsorship (shady, anyone?), or marrying an EU citizen by June 2014. I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place here, people.

The international adviser did state that these constituted illegal hiring practices, and that companies should only deal with sponsorship post-offer, as opposed to discriminating against potential hires. But what do you do if the whole of Europe is behaving like a group of petulant kindergarteners? You can’t instigate a class action suit against so many parties, and we students are virtually powerless, lacking money and effective representation.

What would you do?

About the Author

Laura Pang Laura Pang

My name is Laura; I hail from across the pond--Washington, DC, USA. I completed my studies at a Russell University institution based in England. At university, I was the LL.M EHLP representative. I am the creator of the blog "ce cœur bohème" which details my journey across the world.

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