Find out about working restrictions if you are an international student with Pre-settled or Settled status, on a Standard Visitor visa or Student visa, the number of hours you are permitted to work and work placements.

If you have Pre-Settled or Settled status

If you are a student from the EU, European Economic Area or Switzerland with Pre-Settled or Settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you can prove your right to work in the UK by using the Government's 'View and Prove' service.

Working on a student visa

If you are a student visa-holder, there are some conditions on how much and what type of work you can do.

It is a criminal offence to breach your work conditions. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) takes breaches very seriously. If you breach your conditions, you could be fined up to £5000, removed from the UK or refused a future visa.

As your student visa sponsor, the University is obliged to tell UKVI if you breach your working conditions. See below for activities you are not allowed to do while on a Student visa.

What you cannot do on a student visa

You cannot:

  • be self-employed, including any freelance work or "gig economy" jobs such as Deliveroo or driving parcels around – see a UKCISA working definition
  • engage in business activity or get a job as a professional sportsperson, sports coach or entertainer
  • do a permanent, full-time job (you can work a permanent, part-time job)
  • work if you overstay your visa.

Find out more information about working as a student from the UK Council for International Student Affairs website.

Standard visitor visa or short-term study visa

If you are studying on a Standard Visitor visa or Short-term study visa you are not allowed to work in the UK.

How much you can work

If you have a student visa you can work part-time while you study, as long as it doesn’t exceed the hours stated on your visa.

This is normally 20 hours a week during term time if you study at degree level (undergraduate, Masters, PhD) and 10 hours a week if you study a course below degree level.

Important: UKVI defines a ‘week’ as meaning a period of seven days beginning with a Monday. Don’t exceed your hours for every week or try to average them out over a longer period.

Defining ‘term time’ for visa students

Your term time dates depend on the type of student you are and University policy.

Undergraduate students

You can work up to 20 hours a week during term time and you can work full time during:

  • winter vacation, during Semester One
  • spring vacation, during Semester Two
  • summer vacation and when your course officially ends.

Tip: Remember your study commitments and don’t take a job that will impact your academic work. We recommend no more than 15 hours’ work a week during term-time or resit periods.

Masters students

You can work up to 20 hours a week during term time and you can work full time during:

  • the winter and spring vacations, as above
  • when your course officially ends. This will either be the course end date on your CAS (30 September in most cases) or, if you have resits, the revised course end date on your student record.

The summer vacation is still term time for Masters students.

If you are studying a 2-year Masters degree or PG Diploma please refer to your School for the exact term dates and if you have academic commitments in the summer vacation between year 1 and 2 of your course.

Important: If you have re-sits and your course end date has been extended beyond 30 September, this is still considered term time and you should not work more than 20 hours per week until your revised course end date has passed. Students who undertake full-time employment after the official course end date of 30 September, but before their results are released, do so at their own risk. If it is recommended that the award not be conferred and further study is required to complete the course, you will need to revert to work 20 hours per week or less, until the new course end date has passed.

You can request a right to work letter (which confirms your current course end date).

PhD students

Normal term dates do not apply if you’re doing a PhD.

You’re not allowed to exceed 20 hours a week at any point while you are studying, including during periods of ‘authorised absence’. See the policy for authorised absence.

The exception is during periods of approved annual leave.

After your viva

How much you can work depends on the outcome of your viva.

If you pass unconditionally, you have no further study commitments.

You can:

  • work over the 20 hours a week permitted
  • carry on working until your visa expires or you leave the UK.

There may, however, be complications re-entering the UK on a student visa after your studies have ended.

If you have corrections, you cannot work over the 20 hours a week permitted until you have submitted your corrections.

After corrections have been submitted, you can work over 20 hours until your visa expires, or you leave the UK for any reason.

As above, there may be complications re-entering the UK.

If you need to revise and resubmit your thesis, you will be registered for another year.

You must not work over 20 hours a week until you have resubmitted your thesis and we have confirmed you have no further academic commitments.

If a second viva is necessary, follow the advice for passing unconditionally or with corrections.

Work placements

If you hold a student visa, it may be possible to undertake a period of ’work placement‘ during which time you can work full time.

This depends on whether your academic department considers this to be an 'integral and assessed' part of your course. This is limited to no more than 50% of the total duration of your study in the UK.

Please check with your School of study whether this is possible, if not already included in your course you may have to add a placement. This could mean a change of course. Please see information on making changes to your course and changes to your studies with a visa.

If you are on a placement that is part of your course, you are allowed to hold an additional part-time job.

Where to check your work conditions

If you have a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) your work conditions will be stated on the front side of your BRP. If you hold Digital Immigration Status you can check your work conditions online.

If you notice an error with your work conditions on your BRP, you can request UKVI to correct this. Find out how to correct your BRP.

If you have Digital Immigration Status you should also receive an accompanying letter from the Home Office confirming the grant of your immigration permission. This letter contains instructions on what you need to do if you notice any errors with your digital immigration status.

You must work according to the hours listed on your BRP or digital immigration status – even if they are wrong.

Volunteering and voluntary/unpaid work

There is a difference between unpaid employment and volunteering.

Find out about different types of voluntary work on the UK Council for International Student Affairs website.

Documents you need to work

Your employer is responsible for establishing that you have the right to work in the UK. This should be done before you start working. It might be done at the interview, during the application process, once you have accepted the role or the first day of work.

These checks normally include your Passport and evidence of your Immigration status. See how to get these documents

Some employers may also ask for confirmation of the University term dates. We can provide you with a letter confirming term dates. You'll need to request a letter by choosing “the right to work in the UK while on a Student visa” option on our form.

If you are finding that your employer is struggling with checking your right to work, they can also do a manual right to work check.

How to show your immigration status to an employer

If you have a BRP or a digital visa status you need to get a sharecode. To get a share code click on the “Start Now” button, and follow the steps.

If you applied overseas and are not an EEA student, you need select that you have a BRP.

If you applied inside the UK, or are a EEA student, you need to say you have a UKVI account.

Since 2022, showing a physical BRP card to an employer is no longer accepted as evidence of a right to work.

National Insurance number

You will need a National Insurance number if you want to work.

You must apply to get a National Insurance number after you have a job offer, so that you can be paid and receive National Insurance contributions.

See more from During your studies