Working during your studies

EEA and Swiss Nationals
If you are an EEA or Swiss national, you can work in the UK during your studies without permission from UK Visas and Immigration.  Your employer will probably ask for proof that you have the right to work in the UK (for e.g. your national identity card or passport).

Croatian Nationals
Students from Croatia are allowed to work during their studies, but there are some restrictions.  You can only work up to 20 hours per week during term-time and full-time during University holidays.  You must also obtain a yellow registration certificate called CR1 before you start working.  Further information can be found HERE.

Tier 4 Students
Your biometric residence permit/visa will state if you can work in the UK during your studies and how many hours you are allowed to work per week.  Usually for students studying at degree level or above this is 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during University holidays.  If your visa says that you are only allowed to work 10 hours per week or that you are not allowed to work, please contact the International Visa Office at visaoffice@law.ac.uk  They will advise you on the process to have your visa corrected.

The 20 hours per week limit during term time is defined by the Home Office as within any seven day period and includes paid, unpaid, voluntary work and work placements/internships.  You must not exceed a total of 20 hours per week, even if you work less hours in other weeks.

You can check when you are on term-time by accessing your course page on ELITE.  Once you finish your course, you are considered to be on holiday and can work full-time until your visa expires.

You can do most types of work on a Tier 4 Student visa, but you cannot do any of the following:

  • Be self-employed or engage in business activity
  • Be employed as a professional sportsperson including as a sports coach
  • Be employed as an entertainer
  • Take a permanent full-time job
  • Work as a doctor or dentist in training

Before you start working, your employer must check that you are allowed to do the amount of work and type of work they are offering.  As part of this check, they will require a letter from the University outlining your term dates.  You can request this letter by contacting Student Services at your centre.

Other Visa Holders
If you are a non-EEA national who is in the UK on a visa which is not Tier 4, you should check that it allows you to work before starting employment.  Usually your visa will state whether you are permitted to work and whether there are any restrictions.

Students who are in the UK as a Short Term Student or Visitor are not allowed to do any paid or unpaid work.  This includes internships, voluntary work and work placements.

Pro Bono Activity
The University has been advised that, while carried out voluntarily, some pro bono activities may be regarded as work by UK Visas and Immigration.  Therefore, if you are a Tier 4 student and decide to participate in pro bono, any hours will count towards your limit of 20 hours per week.  If you do not have the right to work in the UK there will be restrictions on the type of pro bono activities in which you can participate.   Please contact the Pro Bono Team at your centre if you have any questions about this.

National Insurance Number and paying tax
You must apply for a National Insurance Number if you start working in the UK.  This is a unique number used to record tax contributions from your pay.  Further information on how to apply for a National Insurance number can be found HERE.

You will have to pay tax on your earnings and the amount will depend on how much you are earning.  Currently, you do not pay any tax on the first £11,000 you earn during a tax year (called personal allowance).  The tax year runs from 6th April to the 5th April of the following year.

Further information
Tier 4 Policy Guidance (pages 65 – 71)
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-application-for-uk-visa-as-tier-4-student

UK Council for International Student Affairs website (Information & Advice > Working)
https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/