Tier 4 students and working

Eligibility to work

One of the conditions of being admitted to the UK as a student under Tier 4 of the Points Based System is that you have enough money to maintain and support yourself and your dependants, without working or recourse to public funds. This means that you cannot come to the UK and work your way through university. However, you are sometimes allowed to work to earn extra money within certain rules.

You must not work if your visa states:

  • No work; or
  • Work prohibited

This would be a breach of your immigration conditions and a criminal offense.

If your visa states something else then you are authorised to work subject to the following conditions:

If your Tier 4 student visa was issued before the 6th April 2010

You must not:

  • Work for more than 20 hours per week during term time, except in the case of an agreed work placement or internship.

If your Tier 4 student visa was issued on or after the 6th April 2010

If you are studying on a degree level course or above, i.e. a bachelors or masters course, you must not:

  • Work for more than 20 hours per week during term time, except in the case of an agreed work placement or internship.

If you are studying on a course that is below degree level, i.e. a foundation or pre-sessional English course or an HND, you must not:

  • Work for more than 10 hours per week during term time.

All students studying in the UK on a Tier 4 visa can do most kinds of work, but must not:

  • Engage in business, self-employment or provide services as a professional sportsperson or entertainer
  • Pursue a career by filling a permanent, full time vacancy
  • Establish a business in the UK (effective as of the 6th April 2016)

Part time / full time

As detailed above, during term time international students must not work for more than 10 or 20 hours a week depending on the level of their course and the date their visa was issued, except in the case of an agreed work placement. There are however periods when students are not expected to attend classes but when they should be studying, writing a dissertation, or preparing for exams as part of their course. They should not be working more than the relevant 10 or 20 hours during these periods.

There are certain periods when international students are allowed to work full time. They are as follows:

  • During university vacations (NB for September start postgraduate students the summer vacation does not constitute a holiday as they should be spending their time writing their dissertation);
  • For the remaining time on their visa that students have after their course completion date, whilst waiting for their results or commencement of a new course or graduation. This could be up to 4 months depending on the level of course studied. The official course end date is that on the CAS statement used to apply for the visa and recorded by the Home Office. Students should not work full time before this date is reached in order to remain safe and legal and prevent problems with future immigration applications.

More information about working during your studies can be found on the UKCISA website

Confirmation of eligibility to work

The University cannot confirm that a student is eligible to work

The Home Office provides detailed information for employers to check that students are eligible to work.

Employers can also check a particular student’s eligibility to work by calling the Home Office Employers’ Helpline on 0300 123 4699.

If your employer has requested confirmation that you are studying at the University, you need to request a student status letter from your Campus Advice Zone. You can also access a letter stating the working regulations from the Immigration & International Student Advice team in H027.

Can my husband or wife work?

If your husband or wife comes to the UK with you or joins you at a later date during your studies, they will be free to work as long as you, the student, have been granted a visa for twelve months or more.

If your husband or wife travels to the UK to join you at a later date and is planning to work while they are here, then they should provide the immigration officer with photocopies of the following pages from your passport:

  • The page showing personal details – name etc;
  • Any pages containing UK visas.

If you are meeting your husband/wife at the port of entry, then you should take your passport with you in case of any queries.

If you have been granted a visa for less than 12 months, then your husband/wife will be prohibited from working during their stay.