Can You Work on a Student Visa UK

Can You Work on a Student Visa UK

Living in the UK is increasingly expensive, so when paired with the extortionate fees for international students to study in the UK, it’s no wonder many students look for work to support themselves. Some universities such as Oxford University don’t recommend working while you’re studying as their courses can be demanding, however, for many people, there’s no option but to have a part-time job to cover living costs.

British students in the UK are able to receive loans and grants to cover their course fees and living costs, but international students must cover theirs themselves unless they have a scholarship, sponsor or loan from their home country.

So can you work while on a Student visa in the UK? If so, what are the restrictions on working hours and jobs?

Applying for a UK Student Visa

Applying for a UK Student Visa

To study in the UK, you need to apply for a Student visa online, submit your documents proving your English language skills, your finances and your offer for a place at an eligible sponsoring educational institution, and pay the application fee as well as the immigration health surcharge (IHS). The IHS is worked out according to how long you’ll be residing in the UK, as Student visas are given for the length of the course, plus a couple of months on either side to make it easier to arrive and leave the country on time and at a reasonable price.

You’ll receive a response regarding your application within 8 weeks, or possibly longer if the Home Office requires more information from you or needs you to attend an interview to assess your character or English language capabilities.

If your application is refused, you’ll receive a letter explaining why and informing you of whether you have the right to appeal the decision or not. If successful, you’ll receive your passport back with a vignette sticker on one page allowing you to enter the UK to collect your biometric residence permit (BRP) which will have details of your rights in the UK and allow you to enter and leave the UK outside of term time.

Your Rights as an International Student in the UK

Your Rights as an International Student in the UK

International students with UK Student visas may live, study and work in the UK for the length of their visa, by the end of which they must either leave the country, extend their student visa or switch to another visa like a work visa.

Student visa holders may travel around the UK outside of term time, including to Wales, Scotland, the Channel Islands and Northern Ireland, although they are not permitted to cross the border into Ireland (the Republic of Ireland) without a relevant visa, unless they are also an EU or EEA citizen.

To obtain a Student visa, you need to show your commitment to your studies, so travelling during term time, unless for a school trip or a necessary part of your course, is not permitted and can cause your visa to be revoked. There are also limits to the number of hours you can work each week and what jobs you can do as an international student in the UK, to ensure that the course being studied is the student’s priority.

What Is Term Time?

Term time refers to official term dates and changes according to what level of study your course is as well as what educational institution you are at. For example, some university’s bachelor’s degree courses begin in September, while others begin in October. Each institution will produce a handbook each year detailing the exact course dates that academic year.

Official course vacation periods are outside of term time.

Working in the UK on a Student Visa

Working in the UK on a Student Visa

When you collect your biometric residence permit after arriving in the UK, you will see information regarding the number of hours you can work on the card itself. When applying for work, you must show your proposed employer this card to ensure that you do not work more than your permitted number of hours.

There are also restrictions on the type of work that you can do as a Student visa holder in the UK. International students may not:

  • Have permanent, full-time positions
  • Be self-employed or freelance
  • Own a business
  • Work as professional sportspeople, including sports coaches
  • Work as entertainers, including actors, musicians, dancers and performers, unless they are dance, drama or music students at university level and on work placements.
  • Work as doctors or dentists in training

A permanent, full-time position means any job without an end date on the contract. Student visa holders in the UK can only take on fixed-term contracts with specified start and end dates to their employment.

If you have a job offer or are looking to work in a particular industry and aren’t sure if it is among the prohibited occupations, you should ask your educational institute for advice, or contact HMRC for guidance. Working in a prohibited industry may also cause your Student visa to be revoked.

The hours you are allowed to work alongside your course as an international student, change according to your age as well as your level of study.

Working While Studying Below Degree Level

If you are studying a course or for a qualification below degree level, you may work up to 10 hours per week during term time, and full-time outside of term time. A course below degree level is any qualification from Level 1 to Level 5, including GCSEs, A Levels, diplomas and most BTECs.

If you are under 18 years old, you may not work more than 8 hours a day, and 40 hours a week when working full-time.

Working While Studying at Degree Level or Above

International students who are studying at degree level or above, i.e. for a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or doctorate, may not work more than 20 hours per week during term time and may work full-time outside of term time.

You cannot work more than 48 hours a week when working full-time in the UK as an adult unless you choose to opt out of the 48-hour working week.

Working in the UK After You Graduate

Working in the UK After You Graduate

Once your course has ended, you usually have one to two months left on your Student visa in which you can continue working full-time. You must leave the country before your visa expires, unless you wish to stay in the UK to work or obtain another visa such as a Family visa.

To continue living and working in the UK, you must obtain a relevant work permit. Many students opt to switch from a Student visa to a Skilled Worker visa once they have graduated to remain in the UK. However, you must obtain a job offer from a licensed sponsor for a job that is on the list of eligible occupations before your current visa runs out to obtain this visa.

For the Skilled Worker visa, you must also meet the minimum salary requirement which is currently the higher of:

  • £26,200 per year
  • £10.75 per hour
  • the ‘going rate’ for your job title

New visa regulations are being introduced in 2024, with changes to the Student visa meaning only PhD students can bring their family members to the UK with them as of 1 January 2024. From Spring 2024, it’s being proposed that the Skilled Worker minimum salary requirement will be going up to £29,000, with plans to raise this to £38,700 in the future.

Finding a job that meets these requirements within the two months you have remaining in the UK after graduating can be tricky, so some students opt to apply for a Graduate visa instead, to allow them to live and work in the UK for 2 to 3 years upon the completion of a degree or higher level course.

Need Visa Help? Contact Synergy Immigration Solutions

Staying up to date with the changes to visa rules and knowing what you can and cannot do while on your visa in the UK is tricky, not to mention collecting supporting documents for the initial visa application.

Fortunately, agencies like Synergy Immigration Solutions are here to help! Contact us today for more information on our services.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *