Working in the UK

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 short-term study visa you are not allowed to work. Please note, the Home Office defines "week" as a period of seven 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, please contact us.

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 £11,850) 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 Students' 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.

What work am I not allowed to do?

The immigration rules state that there are some kinds of work you must not do:

  • self-employment and business activity
  • work as a professional sportsperson including as a sports coach*
  • entertainer
  • a permanent full-time job
  • doctor or dentist in training, unless you are on the foundation programme.

*On 10 January 2019, the Home Office amended the definition of what constitutes professional sportsperson, the full guidance of which you can find in paragraph 320, page 69 of the Tier 4 policy guidance. This applies to you if you are in possession of a Tier 4 visa, regardless of when you applied for it. Please read through this information carefully.

Upon reading the rules, you will note that the restriction prevents you from providing services as a sportsperson or coach at any level of sport, paid or unpaid, unless you do it as an “amateur” in a charity game. "Amateur" is a defined term and means a person who engages in sport solely for personal enjoyment and who is not seeking to derive a living from it, which includes payments made in kind, such as travel costs, accommodation or meals.

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 sponsor.compliance@londonmet.ac.uk.
  • 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 GOV.UK 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.
  • Start Up visa route – London Met offers endorsement to qualifying current students at the end of their course or recent graduates (within 12 months). Please see the Student Zone for full details.
An image of a female student talking to a fellow student.