From some of the highest tuition fees in the world to one of the most expensive countries to live, studying in the UK costs a wealth.

Luckily there are many options for you to make your education in British universities an easy mission to accomplish which wouldn’t be the case in most popular study destinations. A well-developed and easily accessible student loan system, plus many scholarships schemes will offer you enough financial assistance.

Moreover, in the UK, similar to most of the top international study destinations, foreign students are allowed to work part-time. In the UK as an international student, you’re allowed to work up to 20 hours at maximum per week during term-time and full-time during holiday breaks. But there are many restrictions and conditions you must stay in line with in order to be allowed to work.


Your eligibility to work in the UK while studying depends on two major restrictions: those set by your university and those by official institutions. First, you must ensure that your university doesn’t have any constrain pulling you back from working before dealing with officials. For example, depending on your study course your university may limit working hours to you, aside from governmental restrictions.

In the UK, particularly in big cities like London, international students can find easily a part-time job. Some universities may only allow you to work within the campus, but there is no need to worry considering that there are still many options. However, before getting out hunting part-time jobs you must check if you’re eligible for such work. It all starts with your Tier 4 visa, the official student visa in the UK. The first criteria you must check is your age. If you’re under 16 and don’t have a Tier 4 (General 4) you’re not qualified to work in the UK.

Note that these working prohibitions are only weighted to students coming from a country rather than EU/EEA countries or Switzerland. Citizens of EU/EEA including Switzerland too need no permission to work in the UK while they’re attending a university.

All conditions and limitations are printed on your Tier 4 sticker (vignette) including hours up to which you can work per week during term-time. When receiving your residence permit paperwork there will be a letter that will offer you all information, whether you can work or not while you’re studying.

If one of the following is stated in that letter you can work in the UK:

  • Work must be authorized
  • Able to work as authorized by the Secretary of State
  • Work as in Tier 4 Rules
  • Restricted as in Tier 4 Rules
  • Restricted work – Part-time during term-time, Full-time during vacations
  • Restricted work time
  • Work limited to 20 hours per week at maximum during term-time
  • Work limited to 10 hours per week at maximum during term-time

Your passport’s sticker may say something a bit different to all of the above options, but if none of the following isn’t mentioned you’re eligible to work.

  • No work
  • Work prohibited

If none of these is clearly stated in your paperwork or you have a problem understanding it we advise you to contact them personally before deciding to get a job.

Note that if you decide to move to a higher level of study or change the course you may be required to initiate a new immigration application. Until you receive a response to this new application you must adhere to the old immigration status.

How many hours you’re allowed to work per week?

How many hours you’re permitted to work in the UK depends in the type of  course you’re attending too. Below are shown how much hours can work with respect to the type of course

In these types of courses, a student can work up to 20 hours per week
A full-time course at a degree level or above sponsored by e recognized body in the UK
A short-term student registered in a program of a foreign higher institution settled in the UK

In the following types of courses, students are allowed to work only 10 hours a week
In a full-time course below level degree sponsored by a recognized body in the UK or it receives public funding as a Higher Education institution
Any course where the student-aged over 16 holds a Tier 4 (Child) visa

While in these courses students are not allowed to work while they’re studying in the UK

  • In a part-time postgraduate course or above that is supported by a recognized body in the UK or that receives public funds like a Higher Education Institution
  • In a course at a further education college at whatever level
  • In a course at any level offered by a private higher education provider
  • At any course where the student aged under 16 has a Tier 4 (Child) visa

In the UK you’ll face some limits on working hours depended on few elements including the type of your course and the type of Tier 4 sponsor you’re studying at. Full-time students can work for 20 hours per week at maximum, whether you get or not paid for your job. You can’t average a week in a long period of time since there’s a legal definition of the week. Based on this rule a week is the period of 7 days between a Monday and Sunday.

Types of jobs you’re not allowed to do

After you make sure you’re allowed to work in the UK, you’ll now have to deal with some constraints in the type of work you’re willing to do. There are certain of jobs you’re not allowed to do while studying in the UK. Below are some types of them (paid or not paid) you can’t engage to when you’re holding a Tier 4 visa:

  • Be a self-employed or working freelance
  • Initiate a business activity
  • Full-time permanent job
  • Professional sportsperson including sport coach
  • Work as an entertainer
  • Work as a dentist or a doctor in training, except you’re enrolled in a foundation program.

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