Study Abroad: Everything You Need Know About Working Employment Rules in the UK for International Students

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International students having a student or a Tier 4 visa, can work in the United Kingdom during their higher education. Work, including voluntary work and unpaid positions, is not permitted at any time while you are in the UK on a visiting or temporary visa. You will receive a document describing the kind of employment you are permitted to conduct when your student visa application has been approved. 


Undergraduate students are allowed to work full-time outside their university term time. During term time, they are allowed to work up to 20 hours each week. Postgraduate candidates can choose to work up to 20 hours a week. 

Study Abroad: Everything You Need Know About Working Employment Rules in the UK for International Students

However, for postgraduate students, there are term time conditions in the summer term after sending in their final dissertation. Students are allowed to work full-time during the Summer Holidays, Christmas and Easter. The academic calendar is often shorter for postgraduate students so you must ensure you still attend sessions over term break.

Postgraduate research students are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week. Also, students are regarded as being “in term time” for the full year. You are allowed to take a period of yearly leave, but you must first secure formal approval from your supervisor. If you do, you are then free to work full-time during this time away from your studies. 

Students enrolled in English language courses are permitted to work full-time during non-term hours. When your course starts and concludes, as long as your student visa is still in effect, this covers the period in between. These students can then work up to 10 hours per week during the academic year. 

Type of Employment Prohibited in the UK with a Student Visa

The following jobs are prohibited while you are in the UK on a student or Tier 4 visa before you enter college, throughout your studies, and after you graduate:

  • Having a career as a professional athlete, coach, or entertainer 
  • Self-employment, participation in business negotiations, or company enterprise 
  • Practising medicine or dentistry while in training 
  • Working a permanent full-time job 
  • Working in a graduate-level position (unless you are a staff member of the student union) 

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