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Work while studying in the UK

From some of the highest tuition fees in the world to one of the most expensive countries to live, studying in the UK costs a wealth.

Luckily, there are many options for you to make your education in British universities an easy mission to accomplish which wouldn’t be the case in most popular study destinations. A well-developed and easily accessible student loan system, plus many scholarship schemes will offer you enough financial assistance to study in UK.

Moreover, in UK, similar to most of the top international study destinations, foreign students are allowed to work part-time. In the UK as an international student, you’re allowed to work up to 20 hours at maximum per week during term-time and full-time during holiday breaks. But there are many restrictions and conditions you must stay in line with in order to be allowed to work.


Your eligibility to work in the UK while studying depends on two major restrictions: those set by your university and those by state-run official institutions. First, you must ensure that your university doesn’t have any constrain pulling you back from working before dealing with state officials. For example, depending on your study course your university may limit working hours to you, aside from governmental restrictions.

International students can easily find a part-time job in the UK. Some universities may only allow you to work inside the campus, but there is no need to worry because there are still many options available to you. However, before getting out to hunt part-time jobs you must check if you’re eligible for such work. It all starts with your Tier 4 visa, the official student visa in the UK. The first criteria you must check is your age. If you’re under 18 and don’t have a Tier 4 visa (General 4) you’re not qualified to work in the UK.

Note that these working prohibitions are only weighted to students coming from a country rather than EU/EEA countries or Switzerland. Citizens of EU/EEA, including Switzerland, don’t need permission to work in the UK while they’re attending a university.

All conditions and limitations are printed out on your Tier 4 sticker (vignette) including the number of hours you can work per week during term-time. When receiving your residence permit paperwork there will be a letter that will offer you all information, whether you can work or not while you’re studying.

If one of the following is stated in that letter you can work in the UK:

  • Work must be authorized

  • Able to work as authorized by the Secretary of State

  • Work as in Tier 4 Rules

  • Restricted as in Tier 4 Rules

  • Restricted work – Part-time during term-time, Full-time during vacations

  • Restricted work time

  • Work limited to 20 hours per week at maximum during term-time

  • Work limited to 10 hours per week at maximum during term-time

Your passport’s sticker may say something a bit different to all of the above options, but if none of the following isn’t mentioned you’re eligible to work.

  • No work

  • Work prohibited

If none of these is clearly stated in your paperwork or you have a problem understanding it, we advise you to contact them personally before deciding to get a job.


Note that if you decide to move to a higher level of study or change the course you may be required to initiate a new immigration application. Until you receive a response to this new application you must adhere to the old immigration status.



Hours allowed to work in the UK per week

The hours permitted to work while studying in the UK, depends on the type of the course you are enrolled for. Below are shown how many hours you can work with respect to the type of course.

The types of courses, a student can work up to 20 hours per week -

A full-time course at a degree level or above in a recognized higher education institution
A short-term student registered in a program of a foreign higher institution settled in UK


In the following types of courses, students are allowed to work only 10 hours a week -

  • In a full-time course below level degree sponsored by a recognized body or a publicly-funded as a higher education institution.

  • Any course where the student is aged over 16 holds a Tier 4 (Child) visa


Here are the courses where students are not allowed to work while studying in UK -

  • In a part-time postgraduate course or above that is supported by a recognized body in the UK or that receives public funds as a Higher Education Institution

  • In a course at a further education college at whatever level

  • In a course at any level offered by a private higher education provider

  • At any course where the student aged under 16 has a Tier 4 (Child) visa


In the UK you’ll face some limits on working hours depended on few elements, including the type of your course and the type of Tier 4 sponsor you’re studying at. Full-time students can work for 20 hours per week at maximum, whether you get or not paid for your job. You can’t average a week in a long period of time since there’s a legal definition of the week. Based on this rule a week is the period of 7 days between a Monday and Sunday.

Types of jobs you’re not allowed to do

After you make sure you’re allowed to work in the UK, you’ll now have to deal with some constraints on the type of work you’re willing to do. There are certain jobs you’re not allowed to do while studying in the UK. Below are some types of them (paid or not paid) you can’t engage to when you’re holding a Tier 4 visa:

  • Be a self-employed or working freelance

  • Initiate a business activity

  • Full-time permanent job

  • Professional sportsperson including sport coach

  • Work as an entertainer

  • Work as a dentist or a doctor in training, except you’re enrolled in a foundation program.


What types of jobs can you find in UK for students?

In general, the primary purpose of student visas in the UK is to serve as a route for you to study without barriers. Despite being designed only to allow you to attend the university, your student visa can also allow you to work within certain time limits. However, note that the extent to which you’re allowed to work, it’s made rather for your professional gains or to complement your budget. Said otherwise, the government wants to be ensured you’re not losing the track of your studies while working.

If a work placement is mandatory for your study course, then there is a fixed time-limit you should work. Currently, if you’re attending such course you’re allowed to work for the period of time which is less than 33% of the whole duration of your course.

The following circumstances make an exemption to this rule:

  • Your study course is offered in a recognized higher education institution and it’s at RQF 6 or SCQF 9. You’re allowed to work up to 50% of the total length of your studies.

  • Your study course is part of a study abroad programme and it’s at RQF 6 or SCQF levels. You’re allowed to work up to 50% of the total length of your studies

  • You’re a Tier 4 (Child) aged 16 or above. You’re allowed to work up to 50% of the total length of your studies.

  • Work placement is an integral part of the study course and there’s a UK statutory requirement that allows you to exceed this limit.

As a foreigner and as an individual who may not have a clue of how the labour market work, it may be hard guessing what type of jobs you can and still not violating the law. Surely, there are many such jobs, but if you don’t know at least some of them right from the beginning you may end up with fewer options available.

Many students fear that they lack the proper skills to find a job as a student. That is mainly wrong because the majority of student jobs require no specific qualifications or skills. Furthermore, regardless of how hard may be to perform the task in a job placement as a student, you will always receive provision from an experienced employee.

But have you ever thought about what types of jobs you can find while studying in UK. Below we give you a long list of student jobs in the UK, which will give you an idea over what jobs to seek in UK as a foreign student.

  • Student Support officer

  • Sales assistant

  • Pharmacy Deliver Driver

  • Pizza Deliver Driver

  • Veterinary care assistant

  • Personal Assistant

  • Physiotherapy assistant

  • Admission Officer

  • Sport Facilities Worker

  • Gardener

  • Customer Assistant

  • Freelance translator

  • Waitress

  • Receptionist

  • Facilities Assistant

  • Residence Guider

  • Promotional worker

  • Enrollment advisor

  • Finance Assistant

  • Social Media Assistant

  • Newspaper distributor

  • Photographer

  • Personal Tutor

  • Ice Cream scooper

  • Host at a Restaurant

  • Smoothie Maker

  • Bartender

  • Cashier

  • Blogger

  • Graphic designer

  • Software Developer Intern

  • Bookseller

  • Tour Guide

  • Research Assistant

  • Waitress at the university cafeteria

  • Pet caretaker

  • House Cleaner

  • Babysitter

  • Brand Ambassador

  • IT assistant

  • Security guard

  • Fitness instructor

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