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Working in the UK 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.

If you hold a Tier 4/Student visa, there will be restrictions on the amount and type of work you do in the UK.

The main purpose of your Student visa is to allow you to study in the UK, not work. If you hold a Tier 4/Student visa, you must adhere to the working restrictions attached to it. These conditions will be on your BRP and stated in your visa application decision letter.

On this page you can find information about:


EEA and Swiss nationals

If you are an EEA or Swiss national who has been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme, 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/Student 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.
  • The maximum per week limit is defined by UKVI as Monday to Sunday. 
  • If your visa says “no work allowed” or “work prohibited” you are not allowed to work.
  • If you leave your programme 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 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 visa student. You cannot do any of the following:

  • Be self-employed*.  
    • This includes freelancing and ‘gig-economy’ work, such as Deliveroo or Uber drivers.
    • Any work or trading as a freelancer, contractor or consultant is highly likely to be considered self-employment, which is not permitted under the Tier 4/Student visa work conditions.

  • 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 applied for your Tier 4/Student visa on or after 6 April 2016.

If you require further guidance on how many hours you are permitted to work, please contact the Student Immigration Compliance Team. To contact the team, please open an enquiry via AskUCL.  

UK government Employment status website

Undergraduate students

  • Undergraduate students are only permitted to work (paid or unpaid) up to 20 hours during term time. 
  • 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.
  • 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 students

  • Postgraduate Taught Masters (PGT) students are only permitted to work (paid or unpaid) up to 20 hours during term time.
  • PGT students have official vacation periods during Christmas and Easter only*. This means that students will only be permitted to work full-time during the Christmas and Easter vacation periods (see UCL official term dates).
  • PGT students are expected to be studying during the summer whilst they write their dissertation. This period is considered to be term-time,and therefore students will only be permitted to work 20 hours per week during this time.
  • 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.

* If you are enrolled on a 2-year PGT programme (e.g. MFA), you may have a summer vacation period between Year 1 and Year 2.  Please check with your academic department to confirm the specific vacation dates for your programme. 

Postgraduate Research students

  • Postgraduate Research (PGR) students are required to be in continuous attendance as the standard University term dates do not apply to them.
  • PGR students do not have any designated vacation periods. You are in term time all year unless you have written permission from your supervisor and academic department to take a period of annual leave.
  • Your supervisor must agree and confirm the dates for the annual leave in writing to your academic department. You can work full-time during the agreed annual leave period.  Details of PGR annual leave can be found in the UCL Academic Manual (Chapter 5, section 2.6).  Should your employer require confirmation of your annual leave period, please refer them to your academic department. 
  • Once you have completed all academic work and submitted your final thesis including corrections, you will be 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 BRP for your permitted working hours. 


Volunteering

You can volunteer while you are studying. Volunteering is different from Voluntary Work (unpaid employment) and does not count towards your weekly working hours limit. Volunteers will normally help a registered charity or voluntary or public sector organisation.  

If you are volunteering with an organisation, you must not: 

  • have a contract of employment 
  • take the place of an employee 
  • receive payment for your contribution, including payment in kind 

You are permitted to undertake Voluntary Work in the UK however you must be aware that Voluntary Work counts towards your maximum number of hours of work during a week. 

As a voluntary worker you: 

  • are usually paid in some form 
  • often have a contract with an employer 

If you are unsure, you should check with the organisation whether what you are doing can be regarded as Voluntary Work. 

UKCISA advice on volunteering 

Proving your right to work

If your employer requires additional evidence of your term dates so they know when you may be allowed to work more hours than the restriction stated on your visa, you can provide:  

  • a printout from UCL website confirming term dates
  • a UCL student status letter (letter self-service options are available on Portico where students can print off a statement of student status (current students) or statement of award (alumni))
  • Postgraduate research students are able to obtain confirmation of their annual leave period from their academic department.

Other visa holders

If you are a non-EEA national in the UK on a visa type other than Tier 4/Student visa 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.


Finding work in the UK

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).


Working for an employer outside the UK

If you are physically outside the UK, your Tier 4/Student visa work conditions are irrelevant.  You need to check what your work rights in the specific country where you are working.  However any work you do when you are physically in the UK, for example working for a non-UK employer remotely or doing a "virtual internship" with them counts towards your weekly 10 or 20 hours maximum.  This is because the work restriction has no specific exception to not count work undertaken remotely for an employer who is outside the UK.


Working for a UK employer remotely

Tier 4/Student visa holders undertaking a work placement or internship remotely from outside the UK are not limited to the weekly 10 or 20 hours work maximum as they are not in the UK and therefore are not subject to Student visa work conditions.

In addition, a UK visa is not required for a person who is overseas to work remotely for a UK employer.