Working in the UK during study

Am I allowed to work while I am studying in the UK?

Students on a Tier 4 student visa

If you are studying in the UK with a Tier 4 visa, you are entitled to work. Your entitlement to work will depend on your level of study and whether you are in term time or vacation. The University recommends that you work no more than 16 hours per week - this will give you sufficient time to concentrate on your study.

Students on a short term student visa

If you are in the UK on a Short-Term Student Visa, you are not permitted to work at any time. This includes voluntary work.

English language Teaching Students

You can work up to 10 hours per week during term time and full time during vacations. You are considered to be in term time according to the dates above. Remember! If you work for more than one employer, you cannot work for more than 10 hours per week in total. If you work for the University of Sheffield, the working week starts on Monday and finishes on Sunday.

Undergraduate students

If you are registered on a programme at degree level or above, you can work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year, and full-time in vacations. The University recommends working no more than 16 hours per week during term time. You are considered to be in term time as per the dates above. Remember! If you work for more than one employer, you cannot work for more than 20 hours per week in total during term time. If you work for the University of Sheffield, the working week starts on Monday and finishes on Sunday.

Taught Postgraduate students

You can work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year, and full-time during the Christmas and Easter holidays. The University recommends working no more than 16 hours per week during term time. Remember! If you work for more than one employer, you cannot work for more than 20 hours per week in total during term time. If you work for the University of Sheffield, the working week starts on Monday and finishes on Sunday.

Over the summer, you are assumed to be working full-time on dissertations and not considered to be on vacation. You should not be working full-time during this period. You may work full time and for the remaining period of your Tier 4 visa, once you have handed in your dissertation and completed all examinations.

Research Postgraduate students

PhD/MPhil students at the University of Sheffield are entitled to a maximum of 8 weeks vacation per year. 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. During term time, your Tier 4 visa allows you to work 20 hours per week.
Remember! If you work for more than one employer, you cannot work for more than 20 hours per week in total. If you work for the University of Sheffield, the working week starts on Monday and finishes on Sunday.

Degree level students - Defining completion of studies

Please see here for information about when you are considered to have completed your studies.

If I can work, are there any further conditions on the type of employment?

Yes - as follows:

    • you must not be employed as a professional sports person (including coach) or entertainer.
    • you must not be employed as a doctor in training.
    • you must not pursue a career by filling a full-time permanent vacancy.
    • you must not be self-employed or engage in business activity. The Home Office defines ‘business activity’ as ‘working for a business in a capacity other than an employee in which you have a financial or other significant beneficial interest’.

How can I prove to my employer that I have the right to work?

You should obtain a Certificate of Student Status from the Student Services Information Desk (SSiD). This confirms you are a registered student at the University. You can print off this page and take it to your employer with your passport and/or Biometric Residence Permit and Certificate of Student Status.

If your employer wants further confirmation of your entitlement to work, they can contact the Home Office Employers' Helpline using the details below:

Employer and education providers’ helpline

BusinessHelpdesk@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: 0300 123 4699
Monday to Thursday, 9am to 5pm
Friday, 9am to 4:30pm

Work Placements

If you are studying in the UK with a Tier 4 visa you are permitted to undertake a work placement provided that the placement is an integral and assessed part of the course and the placement constitutes no more than 50% of the course duration, unless there is a statutory requirement for it to do so (e.g. if you are on a PGCE).

If you are about to start a work placement you must obtain a letter from your academic department to give to your employer. This letter will confirm that your work placement conforms to the student immigration rules.

If you decide to add 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 immigration implications of doing this, read the ‘academic progression’ web pages - www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/international/immigration/academicprogression.