Working in the UK on a Tier 4 Student Visa

A student’s eligibility to work on a Tier 4 Visa will depend on their level of study and whether they are in term time or vacation. The University recommends working no more than 16 hours per week during term time.

Restrictions on Type of Work

Where you are on a Tier 4 Student Visa, both during and after your studies, you are not permitted to:

  • be self-employed or engaged in business activity
  • fill a full-time permanent vacancy/graduate level role
  • be employed as a doctor/dentist in training or as a professional sportsperson, coach or entertainer

Professional Sportsperson

You are not permitted to work as a professional sportsperson. It is important that you check UKVI's definition (page 54 of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance) of a professional sportsperson before you provide any services or take part in sporting activities.

Provided your visa was issued after 1 October 2019, you are permitted to do the following:

  • Play or coach sports as an “amateur” in a charity event
  • Play or coach sports as an “amateur” whilst studying at degree level or above at the University
  • Play or coach sports as part of a work placement which is part of your course.

Note – “amateur” is defined as ‘a person who engages in a sport or creative activity solely for personal enjoyment and who is not seeking to derive a living from the activity’.

If you are unsure how this applies to your situation please contact us.

Eligibility to Work During Study

Where you are studying in the UK on a Short-Term Student Visa you are not permitted to work at any time, including unpaid/voluntary work.

Where you are on a Tier 4 Student Visa, your eligibility to work will be outlined on your visa vignette or BRP card, and in your visa decision letter.

English Language Teaching Students

  • During vacations you can work full-time.
  • During term time you can work up to 10 hours per week.

Undergraduate Students

  • During vacations you can work full-time.
  • During term time you can work up to 20 hours per week.

Taught Postgraduate Students

  • During Christmas and Easter vacations you can work full-time.
  • During term time you can work up to 20 hours per week.
  • Term time conditions apply during the summer term until after you submit your dissertation.

Postgraduate Research Students

  • During term time you can work up to 20 hours per week.
  • You are considered to be in term time all year unless you have written permission from your supervisor to take a period of annual leave.
  • You are permitted a maximum of 8 weeks’ vacation a year which must be agreed by your supervisor. During this time you can work full-time.

Proving Your Right to Work

Where your employer requires evidence of your right to work, you should provide a Certificate of Student Status and your passport and/or Biometric Residence Permit.

Request a Certificate of Student Status

Where your employer requires further confirmation of your entitlement to work, they can contact the Home Office Employers’ Helpline on the page below.

Work Placements

You are permitted to undertake a work placement if:

  • the placement is an integral and assessed part of your course; and
  • it constitutes no more than 50% of the course duration (unless there is a statutory requirement for it to do so)

Before you start your work placement, you must obtain a letter from your academic department to give to your employer confirming that your placement adheres to the student immigration rules.

Where you are adding a work placement/year in industry to your degree after registering at the University, you will need to apply for a visa extension. For more information on the implications of this, visit the page below.

Volunteering and Voluntary Work

You are permitted to volunteer in the UK on a Tier 4 Student Visa. Hours spent volunteering will not be included in your permitted working hours.

As a volunteer you:

  • do not have a contract of employment
  • do not take the place of an employee
  • do not receive payment
  • usually help a registered charity or voluntary or public sector organisation

You are permitted to undertake voluntary work in the UK. Voluntary work will be counted in your permitted working hours.

As a voluntary worker you:

  • are usually paid in some form
  • often have a contract with an employer

You should check with your organisation whether your work is regarded as unpaid volunteer work or paid voluntary work.

Eligibility to Work After Studies

Following the successful completion of your course you will be granted either a four or six-month wrap up period, during this time your visa will remain valid.

You can work full-time during this period, however you still face the same restrictions on the types of work you are permitted to do.

You will only be permitted to take on a permanent role if you have obtained an alternative immigration status e.g. Tier 2.

You are considered to have completed your studies in the following instances:

  • Where you are a PhD student, you are considered to have completed your course once you have received the official notification of degree award.
  • Where you are a masters or undergraduate student, you are considered to have completed your course once you have completed all required assessments by the course end date as stated on your CAS.
  • Where you complete your course early and your visa is curtailed to four months after the new end date, you can continue to work for a maximum of four months after the completion of your course or until the end of your visa (whichever is sooner).

Tax and National Insurance

Where you are working in the UK, National Insurance will be automatically deducted from your wages.
Before you start your job, you must apply for a National Insurance Number which ensures your tax contributions are recorded against your name.

Where you earn over £11,850 your income may be taxable. Please visit the HM Revenue & Customs website below for more information.

Finding a Job

The Student Jobshop can provide advice on working in the UK and help you find a job or voluntary position.

See Also