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Working during your studies

If you wish to work during or after your studies at UCL, you need to obtain a National Insurance Number. This is a number, unique to you, which purpose is to ensure that the National Insurance Contributions and tax you pay are correctly recorded against your name.

You can apply for jobs and start work without a National Insurance Number but need to apply for one as soon as possible when you find a job.

National minimum wage

There is a set minimum amount per hour you are entitled to be paid if you are working in the UK. The current rates are:

  • Workers aged 21 and over - £6.50
  • Workers aged 18-20 - £5.13

Paying tax

When you find work you need to register to pay tax. Everyone who earns above a certain amount in any tax year (your personal tax allowance) pays tax. You can find further information about the UK tax system and how it applies to you as a students on the HM Revenue & Customs website.

EEA and Swiss nationals

If you are an EEA or Swiss national you can work in the UK during and after your studies and you do not need the permission of the UK Border Agency to do so.

Students on Tier 4 visa

You are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during term time, and full time during vacations. There are some restrictions to the types of employment you can undertake. For instance, you are not permitted to be self employed or fill a permanent full time vacancy. If you have received a prohibition stamp on your passport you are not allowed to work.

If you have found paid employment and wish to do a few hours of voluntary work to enhance your CV, you need to seek confirmation from your employer if the voluntary work constitutes unpaid employment. Unpaid employment, just like paid employment, is regulated by UK employment law and as such they jointly should not exceed 20 hours per week during term time.

Looking for work

London has more part-time work opportunities than anywhere else in the country, whether you are looking for paid or voluntary work, the UCL Career Services website is a good place to start your search.

Volunteering during your studies is very popular in the UK and is a fantastic way to develop your skills, meet new people and improve your chances of getting paid work. You can find more information about the benefits of volunteering and the current roles on offer on the website of the Volunteering Services Unit (VSU).

Please do not expect to be able to pay for your study fee and living expenses through work in the UK during your studies. Even if you find work, it is unlikely that you will earn enough to cover your costs. You might also experience problems with your studies if you spend too much time working.

Page last modified on 19 feb 15 14:01