This page focuses on work regulations and restrictions related to your Student visa.
If you want more information about finding work during your studies, see Careers and Placements webpage on Looking for work during studies.
If you are on a course of 6 months or longer, you are entitled to work (paid and unpaid) during your studies, as long as the wording on your visa (visa vignette and/or BRP) does not prohibit it. Contact an Immigration Adviser if this does not appear on your visa - contact details are on Immigration advice.
If your visa allows you to work, you must abide by the hour limit written on your visa.
Not all types of work are permitted, including self employment and freelance work, as well as working as a professional sportsperson or professional entertainer.
It is important that you abide by the hour restrictions and other work restrictions of your visa. Not abiding by the work restrictions of your visa can lead to a cancellation of your visa and potential future refusal from entering the UK.
If prospective employers have questions about what work you can or cannot do on your visa, you can refer them to the UKCISA information on working in the UK or Careers and Placeent’s International Talent webpage.
If you are not allowed to work, your visa will be endorsed 'No work' or 'Employment prohibited'.
Whether or not you can work and how many hours of work you can perform will be written on your visa vignette and/or BRP.
Students studying below degree level, for example at Foundation, Pre-Masters or pre-sessional English level, are allowed to work (paid and unpaid) a maximum of 10 hours a week during term time and full-time during vacation periods.
Students studying full time at degree level are allowed to work (paid and unpaid) a maximum of 20 hours per week during term time and full time during vacation periods.
Undergraduates, Masters Taught, and Masters in Research students can also work full time after their course completion until their visa expiry date.
Postgraduate Research (PhD) Students can work full-time during official annual leave and in the period between submitting the draft thesis and waiting for the viva. PhD students are “in term time” and thus restricted to 20 hours of work per week from their viva until their degree is awarded.
They can work full time after their degree has been awarded until their visa expiry date. You may be asked to show proof to your employer that you have been awarded your degree, such as a Certificate of completion or Award letter.
PhD students are allowed 30 days of annual leave per year (during which they can work full time) and must submit an annual leave form before taking vacation.
There are restrictions on working for Tier 4/Student Visa holders.
Under the Tier 4/Student Visa rules you may not:
These rules are not straightforward, particularly those relating to business activity, which could include prohibiting Tier 4/Student Visa holders from working for their own business in the UK even if the business is based outside the UK. If you are at all uncertain, contact an Immigration Adviser - see Immigration advice for contact details.
You may work in the UK with no restrictions.
Employers should not ask for proof of your status under the EU Settlement Scheme until 30 June 2021, at which point they may ask to see your status. Until then, you can continue using your passport or EUID to prove your right to work.
You cannot carry out paid or unpaid work, work experience or work placements.
As an international student it is important that you understand the difference between unpaid work (which counts as part of your permitted 20 hours) and genuine volunteering (which doesn't).
Volunteering is done on your own terms, usually for a good cause. If you are a volunteer you should have flexibility to come and go and will not have set responsibilities in the way that someone who is "employed" does. No one will be relying on you to do the work, and if you do not show up to do the work, no one will need to replace you. Volunteering is the only type of work that does not count towards your 20hrs/week limit.
Voluntary work is done for a charity, a voluntary organisation, fundraising body, statutory body. A voluntary worker has specific duties and an obligation to perform work. If you do not show up to do the work, you will need to be replaced by someone else so that the work gets done. You are not paid anything more than appropriate expenses. Voluntary work does count towards your 20hrs/week limit.
All of the below types of work also count towards your 20hrs/week limit:
If you are unsure about anything regarding your work restrictions, contact an Immigration Adviser - see Immigration advice for details.
Important points about your right to work
- Exceeding the permitted working hours may result in deportation.
- Although you will probably have the right to work, you must not be depending on this income to support yourself during your studies.
- If you are seeking work, ensure that you read about your employment rights and responsibilities, such as applying for a National Insurance number.
- You may undertake a full time work placement, as long as it forms part of your degree course.