Looking for work during studies (international students) 

An international student sitting at a laptop and the image of a magnifying glass.

Looking for work during your studies in the UK? Improve your chance of success with our top tips.

Your right to work in the UK

  • The Immigration Advice team provides useful information on working during your studies and can provide advice on immigration rules, including what types of work you are not allowed to do on a Tier 4 visa
  • You may want to provide information on your right to work on job application. For example for undergraduate* students: My Tier 4 student visa, valid until [month, year], entitles me to work up to 20 hours per week in term-time and full-time during University vacations. (Come to a careers drop-in if you want to talk about this.)
  • We have information for employers about employing students on a Tier 4 visa, which you might find useful to read too. (Please note: self-employment or freelance work is not permitted on a Tier 4 visa.)
  • The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website is also an excellent resource.

* Note: Course requirements for Masters and PhD students are different; if you are a postgraduate the 20 hours per week maximum is likely to apply throughout the year.

Looking for work

  • You can look for part-time jobs in Careers Gateway.  Choose the Opportunities search, and in the left hand menu select Part-time work while studying (up to 20 hours per week) in the Opportunity type.
  • Find more suggestions on our Work while you study page.

Making a strong application

Getting a National Insurance number

  • At the start of your job hunting, make an application for a National Insurance Number (see your rights at work for how to do this). Your employer will expect you to have your National Insurance Number either when you start work or shortly afterwards. 
  • Your NI number is a unique personal reference number for your tax/employment affairs - everyone working in the UK needs to have one, issued free of charge.

Be realistic

You may be hoping to get a job related to your course of study, or based on your previous work experience in your home country (particularly if you are a postgraduate student). This may not be easy to find when you need part-time work to fit round your timetable, and you may not get your perfect job immediately. But remember, all opportunities can help you develop skills, and understand more about British culture and business - which should benefit you in the future.

Alternatives to paid work

  • In the UK volunteering is an important way of gaining skills and work experience to add to your CV - and it's a good way to have fun and make new friends too.
  • Find out about our volunteering projects; there are also volunteering opportunities with YUSU and in your college
  • You could get involved in a student society and take on extra responsibility by joining their committee.

Improving your English

  • Use every opportunity you can to improve your confidence in written and spoken English if necessary.
  • The Writing and Language Skills Centre offers a range of English Language courses for everyday and academic communication, as well as global networking and transcultural communication.
  • See Alternatives to paid work above for more suggestions.

Placement Year programme

Some students at York are studying on a degree programme which includes a year in industry. Other students may apply for the Placement Year programme offered by Careers and Placements, which is for students who are not already registered on a year in industry course.

If you are interested in exploring the possibility of doing a placement year, and are not already registered on a course which includes this, you should first contact the University's Immigration Advice Team to discuss your visa options.  Extending your course to do a placement year would mean extending your visa also, and you should investigate this before expressing an interest in the Placement Year programme.

Further help

  • Check out our programme of events and your timetable to find sessions on finding work and preparing effective applications - there are likely to be some sessions in your department.
  • Look at the immigration advice on working during your studies
  • Information for international students from Careers and Placements and the Immigration Advice Service (work during and after your studies, and returning home)
  • If you need further help, please come and talk to us.

Who to contact

Careers and Placements
  • Harewood Way, University of York, York, YO10 5DD
  • Students and York graduates can contact us or book an appointment via Careers Gateway
  • Tel: +44 (0)1904 332685
Opening hours
  • Term time: Monday - Friday, 10am - 5pm
  • Vacation opening times vary - please check the opening times page