Higher Education system in the United Kingdom

Education in a UK university is not easy to afford since the tuition fees are among the highest in the word on top of the high cost of living. Not everybody can be able to afford UK for their education. You may look for scholarships and other financial aids from the university or any other sources. What if all the sources of funds that you have in hand is not able to cover for your education in the UK? Do not worry. You can work while studying in the UK.

In UK, like most of the top international study destinations, foreign students are allowed to work part-time. In the UK international students are allowed to work up to 20 hours at maximum per week during term-time and full-time during holiday breaks. There are a few conditions that you need to abide by in order to continue your work in the Kingdom.


Two factors affect your eligibility to work in the UK while studying: the terms and conditions of your university and the rules and regulation of the government agencies. For instance, your university may restrict you to work even 20 hours a week depending on the type and rigor of the course which you are attending.

It is not difficult for international students to find a part-time job in cities like London. You may even find on-campus jobs (jobs within the campus premises in case of some universities). Some universities may only allow you to work inside the campus, but there is no need to worry because there are still many options available to you. However, before looking for 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, don’t need permission to work in the UK while they’re attending a university.

All conditions and limitations are printed out on your Tier 4 sticker (vignette) including the number of hours 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.

A new immigration application may be need if you decide to move to a higher level of study. Your immigration status does not change unless you receive a response to the new application.

How many hours are you allowed to work per week?

The number of hours that you can work in the UK as a student depends on the type of the course that you are attending. The number of hours that you can work with respect to the type of course have been explained below:

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 in a recognized higher education institution
  • A short-term student registered in a program of a foreign higher institution settled in 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 or a publicly-funded as a higher education institution.
  • Any course where the student is aged over 16 holds a Tier 4 (Child) visa

While students attending these courses are not allowed to work while studying in UK:

  • In a part-time postgraduate course or above that is supported by a recognized body in the UK or that receives public funds as 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 on the type of work you’re willing to do. There are certain 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.

What types of jobs can you find in UK for students?

In general, the primary purpose of student visas in the UK is to serve as a route for you to study without barriers. Despite being designed only to allow you to attend the university, your student visa can also allow you to work within certain time limits. However, note that the extent to which you’re allowed to work, it’s made rather for your professional gains or to complement your budget. Said otherwise, the government wants to be ensured you’re not losing the track of your studies while working.

If a work placement is mandatory for your study course, then there is a fixed time-limit you should work. Currently, if you’re attending such course you’re allowed to work for the period of time which is less than 33% of the whole duration of your course.

The following circumstances make an exemption to this rule:

  • Your study course is offered in a recognized higher education institution and it’s at RQF 6 or SCQF 9. You’re allowed to work up to 50% of the total length of your studies.
  • Your study course is part of a study abroad program and it’s at RQF 6 or SCQF levels. You’re allowed to work up to 50% of the total length of your studies.
  • You’re a Tier 4 (Child) aged 16 or above. You’re allowed to work up to 50% of the total length of your studies.
  • Work placement is an integral part of the study course and there’s a UK statutory requirement that allows you to exceed this limit.

As a foreigner and as an individual who may not have a clue of how the labour market work, it may be hard guessing what type of jobs you can and still not violating the law. Surely, there are many such jobs, but if you don’t know at least some of them right from the beginning you may end up with fewer options available.

Many students fear that they lack the proper skills to find a job as a student. That is mainly wrong because the majority of student jobs require no specific qualifications or skills. Furthermore, regardless of how hard may be to perform the task in a job placement as a student, you will always receive provision from an experienced employee.

But have you ever thought about what types of jobs you can find while studying in UK. Below we give you a long list of student jobs in the UK, which will give you an idea over what jobs to seek in UK as a foreign student.

  • Student Support officer
  • Sales assistant
  • Pharmacy Deliver Driver
  • Pizza Delivery Driver
  • Veterinary care assistant
  • Personal Assistant
  • Physiotherapy assistant
  • Admission Officer
  • Sport Facilities Worker
  • Gardener
  • Customer Assistant
  • Freelance translator
  • Waitress
  • Receptionist
  • Facilities Assistant
  • Residence Guider
  • Promotional worker
  • Enrollment advisor
  • Finance Assistant
  • Social Media Assistant
  • Newspaper distributor
  • Photographer
  • Personal Tutor
  • Ice Cream scooper
  • Host at a Restaurant
  • Smoothie Maker
  • Bartender
  • Cashier
  • Blogger
  • Graphic designer
  • Software Developer Intern
  • Bookseller
  • Tour Guide
  • Research Assistant
  • Waitress at the university cafeteria
  • Pet caretaker
  • House Cleaner
  • Babysitter
  • IT assistant
  • Security guard
  • Fitness instructor


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