Working in the UK during and after your studies

Working in the UK during and after your studies

Am I allowed to work?

For immigration purposes, international students must show that they can pay their fees and living expenses without working and without claiming public funds (benefits).

If you have a Tier 4 (General) Student visa and you are studying at or above degree level, you are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week during term-time and full-time during holidays. If you have a Student Visitor visa you are not allowed to work. Please note, the Home Office defines 'week' as a period of 7 days starting on a Monday and ending on a Sunday.

Postgraduate students should also be aware that they may not be allowed to work unlimited hours during normal University holidays as their courses do not necessarily follow the usual University calendar.

If you are uncertain whether you are allowed to work, or would just like to check the rules, you can email

How do I find a part-time job?

London Metropolitan University has a Careers and Employment Service which can help you find a part-time job and enhance your employability. They can also assist you with any issues once you find a job. For more information, visit our Careers Service.

Do I have to pay income tax?

It depends on how much money you earn. If you earn over the annual Personal Income Tax Allowance (currently £10,600) you will need to pay tax on your earnings but students working part-time are unlikely to earn enough to have to pay tax. You can also claim tax back if you have paid it and haven’t earned over your personal allowance. Full details can be found here on the Government HMRC website and on the GOV.UK website.

Further information on working during your studies can be found on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.

Working in the UK during your studies

Most international students would like to do some part-time work during term time, not only to earn some extra money but also to build some important skills and work experience for their CV.

As a Tier 4 Visa student studying a course that is at degree level or higher, you will be permitted to work during your studies as follows:

  • up to 20 hours per week during term time (remember that the summer is considered term time if you are working on your dissertation)
  • full-time during official vacation periods when you are not studying on your course

  • you can take a work placement as an assessed part of your course
  • you can take up a sabbatical officer position at the Student Union for up to two years

Tier 4 Visa students studying a course below degree level are permitted to work as follows:

  • up to 10 hours per week during term time
full-time during official vacation periods when you are not studying on your course

  • you can take a work placement as an assessed part of your course
  • you can take up a sabbatical officer position at the Students' Union for up to two years

For help with finding and applying for a job in the UK please contact the University Careers Service. They can support you not only with your long-term career planning, but also with applying for part-time work.

The University Careers Service

This service can help you to:

  • identify and explore your career options, including further study as well as full-time and part-time work
  • clarify your goals and provide you with support in achieving them
  • develop awareness of your skills, qualities and motivations and how to articulate these in applications and interviews
  • access resources and develop strategies to find part-time and full-time work, work experience and graduate opportunities
  • update your knowledge of labour market intelligence (LMI) including trends in the recruitment and selection procedures of a range of recruiters

Work placements

Information on work placements is as follows:

  • Course-related work placements can be full-time and must be an integral and assessed part of the course.
  • Students' work restrictions still apply and are separate from the course-related work placements. For example, if you are allowed to work for 20 hours a week during term time (as stated on the Tier 4 visa), you can carry out this work in addition to time spent on a work placement.

Further information

You can find more information about the rules on working while you are studying on the Home Office website.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) also publishes this useful information on Working in the UK during your studies.

If your employer requires more information about your right to work you can suggest that they call the Home Office Employer's helpline on +44 (0)300 123 4699.

Please note that all employers are now required to check actual term dates and therefore will need to provide evidence of your term and vacation dates.

Working in the UK after your studies

Although the Post Study Work visa route closed in April 2012, there are several other possible options if you would like to apply to work in the UK after your studies including:

  • Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) allows PhD students to extend their Tier 4 visa in order to work in the UK for 12 months after their studies. If you want to apply for the Doctorate Extension Scheme, you will need a new Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the University. The CAS can be issued only if you are within 60 days of completing your PhD. The Doctorate Extension Scheme will allow you full unrestricted work rights, except for some limited professions such as doctors or dentists in training or sportspersons (including coaches). To make an application for the DES please contact our Sponsor Compliance department on
  • Tier 2 (General) all recent graduates can apply to switch into this work visa route if you meet all of the eligibility criteria. You will need to obtain a graduate-level job with an employer that has a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence. The register of licensed employers can be found on the website. You must be earning at least £20,800 per annum although this amount may be higher depending on the occupation. You can check the actual minimum appropriate rates of pay on the Codes of Practice for Skilled Workers.
  • Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur. If you have a really great business idea and possess "genuine and credible business ideas and entrepreneurial skills" you may be able to apply for this visa. Students can apply to be endorsed by any of the universities on the list of endorsing bodies. London Met is an Endorsing Body for the scheme. This visa is different from the other Entrepreneurial visas in that you don't need to have investment funds. Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) applicants must not intend to run a business in property development or property management if the aim is to generate income from rent or the increased value of property. The intended business sector or intention must be included in the letter of endorsement provided by the institution. Time spent with Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) leave can no longer count towards the period required in the UK for eligibility for settlement under Tier 2. All London Met students can use Accelerator to help them with their business ideas. Accelerator offers a range of help, support, advice and events for those interested in going into business. If you’re a student of London Met, Accelerator gives you the opportunity to discuss your business ideas with a professionally qualified business adviser. They also offer funding and office space, as well as running regular workshops and motivating talks designed to equip you with the knowledge and inspiration to take your ideas to the next level. Through the annual Business Plan Competition, they encourage London Met students to submit their ideas for the chance to gain a £5,000 top prize and put contestants through training that will set them on the path to achieving their business dream. They also have an array of connections into the business world and through networking at events you can connect with the people who are able to elevate you to business success.

Upcoming Working in the UK workshops






To be confirmed        

The workshops are delivered jointly by the international adviser and careers consultant, and cover visa and immigration advice to help you understand how to make an application for a Tier 2 (General) Visa. They also provide information on other work-related immigration categories for which you may be eligible. The careers consultant will provide information on the UK job market and advise you on job search techniques so that you can find and apply for the graduate job you will need in order to be eligible for the Tier 2 Visa.

Further information

For full details about all work options after you have completed your studies please, see the UKCISA guide Working in the UK after your studies.