Working during your studies
You may want to work during your studies. Depending on your immigration status in the UK you may have restrictions on employment. The following information will let you know your working rights in the UK and what you need to know about tax and finding work.
- Can you work during your studies?
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 UK Visas and Immigration to do so.
Tier 4 visa holders
It will be stated on your visa if you can work and the amount of hours you are allowed to work per week.
Undergraduate Tier 4 students
Undergraduate students are only permitted to work (paid or unpaid) up to 20 hours during term time (see UCL official term dates). This information can also be found on your Tier 4 visa. You are permitted to work full-time during University vacations only; students should refer to the vacation periods as stated on the UCL term dates website (for postgraduate students, there are no official University vacations). Once the course end date on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) has passed, you are permitted to work full-time until your visa expiry date, but cannot fill a permanent vacancy.
Postgraduate Taught Tier 4 students
Postgraduate Taught Masters students are required to be in continuous attendance as the standard University term dates do not apply to them. Please note that although it will be stated on your Tier 4 visa that you are permitted to work 20 hours per week during term time, this applies to the entire duration of your programme until the programme end date has passed. For Tier 4 students this end date is the course end date stated on the CAS which was used to obtain the current Tier 4 visa. This includes the period following the end of formal teaching when students are writing the dissertation. Following the course end date stated on the CAS you are permitted to work full-time until your visa expiry date, but cannot fill a permanent vacancy.
Postgraduate Research Tier 4 students
Postgraduate Research students are required to be in continuous attendance as the standard University term dates do not apply to them. Please note that although it will be stated on your Tier 4 visa that you are permitted to work 20 hours per week during term time, this applies to the entire duration of your programme until your registration end date has passed. This will be from the date that the degree is officially conferred by UCL and not from the thesis submission date or viva date. Following this date you are permitted to work full-time until your visa expiry date, but cannot fill a permanent vacancy.
Studying below degree level
Please note if the programme of study is below degree level you will be permitted to work 10 hours per week during term time and full-time during vacations. Please check your Tier 4 visa for your permitted working hours.
Please note that the 20 hours per week maximum limit is defined by the Home Office as Monday to Sunday.
Your hours limit includes any paid work, unpaid work voluntary or otherwise and internships.
If you think you have the incorrect working rights on your visa please contact the Student Immigration Advice Team by using the contact form for further assistance.
There are some restrictions on the types of employment you can undertake as a Tier 4 student. You cannot do any of the following:
- Be self-employed*
- Take a permanent full-time job
- Be employed as a professional sportsperson including as a sports coach
- Be employed as an entertainer
- Work as a doctor or dentist in training, unless you are on the foundation programme.
*Please note that you are not permitted to set up your own business in the UK, including where you are not the controlling shareholder. This additional restriction will affect you if you apply for your Tier 4 visa on or after 6 April 2016.
If your visa says “no work allowed” or “work prohibited” you are not allowed to work.
If you leave your course early or take a break from your studies you should not undertake any work whilst you are still in the UK. This is because your visa rights rely on you being in full-time study.
If you require further guidance on how many hours you are permitted to work, please contact the UCL Student Immigration Compliance Team: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other visa holders
If you are a non-EEA national in the UK on a visa type other than Tier 4 you should check that you have the right to work before seeking employment. Normally this will be stated on your visa. If not, or if you are unclear about this, you can contact the Student Immigration Advice Team by using the contact form for further assistance.
Please note: all types of visitor visa, including the Short-term study visa, do not allow work in the UK.
- Paying tax in the UK
You will pay tax the same as a normal UK resident. The amount of tax you pay will depend on how much you are earning. The UK tax year runs from 6th of April to 5th April the following year.
You will not pay tax on the first £11,500 you earn during a tax year, this is called your personal allowance. After that the following applies:
- £11,501–£45,000 you will pay 20% tax
- £45,001-£150,000 you will pay 40% tax
- Over £150,000 you will pay 45% tax
You pay tax monthly. The £11,000 personal allowance is split equally over the 12 months, so anything you earn over £917 each month will be taxed. If you earn less than £11,000 by the end of the tax year you will be able to claim back any tax that you have paid above the personal allowance threshold.
National Insurance number
To work in the UK you need to obtain a National Insurance number. This is a number, unique to you, which ensures your employer is able to pay your tax and National Insurance contributions and have them correctly recorded against your name.
For information about how to apply for a National Insurance number please see the Gov.UK website.
You can apply for jobs and start work without a National Insurance number but will need to apply for one as soon as possible when you find a job.
- 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).