Some harsh, brutal and cruel facts for foreign students seeking an accountancy job in the UK: forget about what universities have been telling you about UK job market. All they care is endless international students coming to do courses, paying international rate fees. Even career services don’t really have a clue in terms of helping international students getting a job in the UK, even they do, lots of stuff they won’t tell you.
First of all, forget about your Master or PhD. In many developing countries, higher degrees do make you stand out, even it’s not relevant to the job. But in the UK where experiences outweigh degrees, you are lucky these higher degrees won’t count against you! A 2:1 degree from a UK university (in particular Russell group) has far better chance of landing a job here than a one year Master and a foreign bachelor degree. The earlier you start your education in the UK the better. For example, if you come here at age of 17 and done A levels, first degree, you have a far better chance landing a job than someone just one year in the country finishing a Master.
Secondly, don’t self study ACCA. Colleges market heavily sorts of full time ACCA or ACCA + MBA courses. I know many foreign students who funded their own studies; worked in supermarkets, takeaways and shops and passed all exams and become an affiliate. Recruiters don’t value at all - overqualified and no relevant experience! Decent Accountancy firms won’t take them as if they look for trainees they would take on UK graduates going down ACA route. Only jobs they can get are some low level finance assistant roles, or some small cheeky firms asking them to do those dirty legwork, letting them fund ACCA themselves…and of course no prospect of being made permanent (they are not going to spend on sponsoring your tier 2 visas) or progression. No single qualification course alone can help you land a good job. It’s all about experience experience experience, what jobs have you done in the UK blah blah blah …
So get a job that the employer would support your study - a proper training contract. I know it’s hard but better than not knowing the whole picture and waste your money - as well as your valuable time! Or if you can’t find a job, although no harm getting some temporary work experience before returning home, I would not waste more time here. So many people are trying their luck in the UK or feel ashamed just going back like this. However many have told me they rather getting a job back home, in a fast growing economy where your education and oversea experience are more valued than doing low level legwork and being taken advantaged of.
An extra note, your English level must be very high and you need to have good understanding of culture here. Successfully completing a degree in a UK university doesnt mean your English is good enough to fit in work environment. If you sit down with a few English graduates and easily get excluded from their discussion, or don’t know many stuff they are referring to, you are much less likely to impress interviewers or pass AC