Visit the Careers pages for advice on looking for work during your studies and volunteering opportunities.
You are entitled to work during your studies, as long as the wording on your visa does not prohibit it. See an immigration adviser if this does not appear on your visa - contact details are on Immigration advice.
Note that not all types of work are permitted, including self employment or freelance work (see the tab below for more information).
You can refer prospective employers to the UKCISA information on working in the UK.
If you are not allowed to work, your visa will be endorsed 'No work' or 'Employment prohibited'.
If you are permitted to work during your studies, you are allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during holidays.
Students studying below degree level, for example at Foundation, Pre-Masters or pre-sessional English level, should note that they are only permitted to work for 10 hours a week during term time, although they can work full-time during vacation periods.
There are restrictions on working for Tier 4 visa holders.
Under the Tier 4 rules you may not:
These rules are not straightforward, particularly those relating to business activity, which could include prohibiting Tier 4 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.
All nationals of the EEA (European Economic Area) and Switzerland are allowed to work in the UK.
If you hold a Tier 4 student visa you should be permitted to work a maximum of 20 hours or 10 hours per week during term time. All students on a degree course should have the 20 hour limit stated on the BRP visa card (or on the visa sticker in the passport). Foundation, Masters and Pre-sessional English Language students will normally be allowed to work for a maximum of 10 hours per week.
If you apply for a job and your employer is uncertain of your ability to work, refer them to the UKCISA information on working in the UK.
Taught Masters students are permitted to work up to a maximum of 20 hours per week until they have completed all elements of their course, including submitting their dissertation.
A Masters student can work full time in the final four months from course completion until their visa expiry date.
Research students do not have the same defined vacation periods as undergraduate and taught postgraduate students and so it is not always clear when research students may work full-time (with the express permission of their supervisor and of the University).
Students therefore need to negotiate with their supervisor when holiday can be taken. PhD students are allowed 30 days of annual leave per year and must submit an annual leave form before taking vacation.
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).
You should also check if you are entitled to be paid by National Minimum Wage rules.
If you are unsure about anything, 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, you must apply for a National Insurance (NI) number. You can start work before your National Insurance number arrives but your new employer may ask to see evidence that you have applied for one.
- You may undertake a full time work placement, as long as it forms part of your degree course.