Am I allowed to work during my course in the UK?

Foreign Students's picture

Getting a part time job whilst you are studying in the UK can be a useful way to get a bit of extra cash. However, if you are looking to get a job, you should make sure that it won't interfere with your studies or conflict with your visa rules.  

Generally, if you are from a European Economic Area (EEA) Country or Switzerland, you do not need permission to work in the UK. Be ready to show an employer your passport or identity card as proof that you are a national of an EEA country.  

If you are from a non-EEA country, you may be allowed to work during term-time and holidays. Once you have your visa sticker or stamp, check it to see whether you are permitted to work. If you are, your permission to work will still probably be subject to some conditions.

Currently, for non-EEA students you can work a maximum of 20 hours a week during term time either paid or unpaid. However, during vacations, you can work full time if you want. You can only exceed the 20 hours a week if the work is part of a placement (such as during a sandwich year) and forms a compulsory part of your course.

However, starting in April 2012, changes to the law mean that the regulations about working during your studies are changing. The changes are as follows:

  • International students at public universities and publicly funded Further Education Colleges will still be able to work 20 hours a week during term time. However, outside of term time, students on work placements must have a "study : work ratio" of minimum 50:50, ie you have to study the same amount of time as you work.
  • International students at private institutions will not be allowed to work at all during term time.

It is important to remember that all of these changes do not affect you if you are from an EEA country and currently pay ‘Home/EU' fees.