International Students

Most students in the UK have immigration permission which allows them to work during their studies.  You do not need to apply for special permission in order to work.  The hours and type of work you can do are restricted and depend on the type of course you are studying.

You must make sure that you comply with any restrictions which apply to you.  This is because the Home Office treats working in breach of your conditions very seriously.  It can refuse your immigration application or remove you from the UK if you work too many hours or if you do work which you are not allowed to do.

Check the conditions attached to your visa (either an entry clearance vignette in your passport or a plastic biometric residence permit. 

You can work in the UK if your visa or biometric residence permit says one of the following:

  • Work (and any changes) must be authorised
  •  Able to work as authorised by the Secretary of State
  • Work as in Tier 4 Rules
  • Restricted Work. P/T term time. F/T vacations
  • Restricted work term time
  •  Work limited to max 20 hrs per week during term-time
  •  Work limited to max 10 hrs per week during term-time.
  • You must not work if your visa or identity card says "No work" or "Work prohibited" because this would be a breach of your immigration conditions and a criminal offence.

What kind of work can I do?

You can do most kinds of work, but you must not:

  • be self-employed
  • be employed as a professional sportsperson or sports coach
  • be employed as an entertainer
  • take a permanent full-time job

Can I work full-time while I write my dissertation or thesis?

If you are still studying, even if you are not attending classes, this is not a holiday period for you.  This means that you should not work full-time, for example over the summer months, until you have submitted your dissertation or thesis and finished your studies. You can confirm your ability to work with the University’s visa advice team on student.international@abdn.ac.uk

The date on which you finish your studies is decided by your college or university.  It is often the end of term or semester, even if you complete your exams or coursework before that date.

Working with student immigration permission when studies have ended

If you have immigration permission that extends for up to four months beyond the end of your studies, you can work full-time for that extra period once you have completed all your studies.  You are still under Tier 4/student rules so there are types of work you cannot do (see “What kind of work can I do during my studies?”).

My employer says I must prove I can work during my studies

If you have a visa or biometric residence permit  that does not prohibit work, you are allowed to take employment as described above without getting any further approval or permission.  Your employer can check with the Home Office that you are allowed to work.

Employers have a legal obligation to check that you are allowed to work in the UK, so you must be able to provide evidence of this, usually by showing them your passport or biometric residence permit.  You might not have your passport if, for example, it is with the Home Office because you have applied to extend your immigration permission in the UK.  If you made your immigration application before your previous student immigration permission ended, you still have the right to work under the usual student conditions.  However, a new employer must see evidence that you are currently in the UK with student immigration permission before allowing you to start work.  This may also apply to your existing employer, who might have noted when your immigration permission ended and now wants to be sure that you still have the right to work.

In these cases, you will usually have to provide a letter from the Home Office which confirms that you have made an application to extend your immigration permission before your previous permission expired. 

If your employer asks about University holiday periods, you can provide them with a copy of the University’s term dates.