Employment during studies

What you need to know about employment during your studies

International students who hold a Student/Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK are subject to working restrictions imposed by UKVI (UK Visas & Immigration). Your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card or vignette indicates the maximum number of hours you can work during term-time. This includes both paid and voluntary work. All students are prohibited from engaging in business and from self-employment, nor are they allowed to provide services as a professional sportsperson or entertainer. You can find further information on the UKCISA webpages.

Breaching any of these conditions and taking up work where you do not have the appropriate permission is considered illegal working and may affect your immigration record and have other serious consequences.

Where a Student/Tier 4 visa holder is applying to switch into Skilled Worker, they are permitted to start work during their application for a Skilled Worker visa.


Working Limits

You are allowed to work in the UK if:

  • Your Student/Tier 4 BRP or vignette in passport states 'Work 10hrs max in term-time' or 'Work 20hrs max in term-time', or;
  • Your BRP states 'Restricted Work, no work as a sportsperson’ (usually appears on Dependant BRPs), or;
  • You are from the EU/EEA/Switzerland, and you have a settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • You have immigration permission in a different category that allows you to work in the UK

Please note that the 20 or 10 hour per week limitations are per week – the periods worked cannot be averaged over a month or any other period. This limitation exists for both work within the University and for outside organisations, so employers of visa students should also remind those students of these restrictions if aware of work undertaken outside of the University. The permitted number of hours must fit into a 7 day period starting on a Monday and ending on a Sunday.

Switching from Student Visa to Skilled Worker Visa

Students might be able to apply to ‘switch’ to a Skilled Worker visa if they are already in the UK on another type of visa. They must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man until get a decision. Their application will be withdrawn if this will be done.

When switching from Student visa (former Tier 4 visa) to Skilled Worker Visa, you must have a job offer before you apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa.

If you hold a Tier 4 or Student visa you can work full-time after your course ends until your visa expiry, but not in a permanent full-time role.

You can switch into the Skilled Worker visa up to 3 months before your course completion date.

If your Tier 4 or Student Visa was granted after 1 October 2019, you can start full-time work for your sponsor as soon as you make the Skilled Worker visa application. Otherwise, you can only work full-time for your sponsor when you've completed your degree and made the application.

If you’re a PhD student switching after one year and you’re not within the final 3 months of your course, you can only start full-time work when you receive your Skilled Worker visa.

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