International Student Employability Group

The international student employability group (ISEG) was set up in 2020 in response to the research findings from a joint report on supporting international students, which recommended establishing a cross-department working group or similar with responsibility for international student/graduate employability to support the delivery of the strategic approach”.

Broadly, the role of ISEG is to:  

  • Undertake research to understand international students’ employability needs.  
  • Engage with the UK Government and devolved administrations to influence policy.  
  • Work with employers to highlight the benefits of recruiting international students and graduates.  
  • Engage with other sector bodies to improve the evidence base on graduate employability.  
  • Support education institutions to provide employability support for international students.  

Membership of ISEG

The members of the group include:   

  • Chair: UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) 
  • AGCAS Internationalisation Task Group  
  • Association of Colleges  
  • British Council  
  • British Universities International Liaison Association (BUILA)  
  • Institute of Student Employers  
  • Independent HE  
  • Universities UK International (UUKi)  
  • Universities Scotland  
  • Universities Wales  
  • Jisc / Prospects  
  • UKCISA’s #WeAreInternational Student Ambassadors  


ISEG has produced or been involved with the following resources: 

ISEG’s work to date  

Following the recommendation in Supporting international graduate employability: making good on the promise, UKCISA convened a roundtable event with sector bodies in September 2020. This was followed up with the submission of a position paper to inform the implementation of the Graduate route to the Home Office. This was not made public, but the paper was endorsed by AoC, GuildHE, MillionPlus, IndependentHE, UUKi, BUILA and University Alliance. The paper outlined sector recommendations on eligibility (type of qualification, mode of study, education provider, flexibility during Covid) and reporting requirements and made several recommendations which were accepted by the Home Office.  

Since then, ISEG has met quarterly. The first meetings focused on self-employment and the practical elements of the implementation of the Graduate route. After the introduction of the route, ISEG directed their focus on increasing the quality and quantity of data gathered on international graduates following changes made by the Higher Education Statistics Agency whereby students with international numbers are no longer called to gather international Graduate Outcomes data. 

The refreshed International Education Strategy (IES) was published in February 2021 with a very welcome new focus on the international student experience. The strategy was reviewed and renewed reflecting the dual impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and the UK’s exit from the EU in mind. Of the 14 actions in the newly updated strategy, UKCISA, through ISEG, is explicitly mentioned as leading on Graduate outcomes and employability, Action 6.

In 2022, the focus was on supporting AGCAS Internationalisation Task Force’s work on collecting international graduate experiences for their research into the experiences of the Graduate route and other graduate visa pathways. ISEG supported a number of webinars run by AGCAS to share best practice in working with international students and graduates, and to discuss the key findings of the research from their report. 

In May 2022, a roundtable on 'International Graduates: Supporting Employability for International Students' was held in the House of Lords, hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Students. UKCISA’s #WeAreInternational Student Ambassadors, employers, MPs, Peers, and sector representatives of ISEG came together to explore international student experiences of working during and after studying in the UK, including their challenges and successes.  

In 2023, we invited guests to attend ISEG meetings and share their work and gather input from ISEG. To date, we have invited HE Student Support Champion colleagues to discuss their work on employability and UCAS to talk about their work on apprenticeships. We have continued discussions on Graduate Outcomes data collection, supported work on the development of toolkits for employers and institutions to better understand the Graduate route, and fed into the APPG for International Students Graduate Visa Inquiry.