Advice for international students who want to work in the UK

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Get advice from UKCISA on Working During Your Studies

National Insurance Numbers

Find out more from the HM Revenue and Customs website about Applying for a National Insurance Number.

It is essential that you know if you are legally permitted to work in the UK during your time at Strathclyde.

As a student from an EU country, you don't need permission to work in the UK. Be ready to show an employer your passport or identity card as proof you are a national of an EU countries.  See the GOV UK website for details of Countries in the EU and EEA.

Once employment has been secured, a NI number is required.

It is the British Government, and not the University, which decides on whether you can work while studying in the UK.

The Internation Student Support Team has information about working during studies.

International students should visit the UKCISA website: Information and Advice - Working pages for the latest information/advice on:

  • Can you work?
  • How can you check that you are allowed to work? (including examples of passport stamps)
  • Can Tier 4 students work before and after the course?
  • Work placements and internships
  • Leaving or interrupting your studies
  • Short term student, student visitor

What next?

  • If you are uncertain what type of stamp is on your passport, please speak to staff at the Advice Centre, level 1, McCance Building
  • If you are eligible to work in the UK when you are here to study, you can start looking for a job immediately
  • If you are allowed to work while studying here in the UK and you find a job, your employer will ask you for your National Insurance Number.  Read the section on Tax and National Insurance to find out how to get one.
  • You can start looking for a part-time job in Glasgow as soon as you know that you will be a student here at Strathclyde. However, in the UK employers will want to interview you face-to-face before offering you a job, so it is very unlikely that you can arrange a part-time job before you arrive in Glasgow
  • Start with StrathUnion JobShop where local part-time and casual jobs are advertised.
  • Since Glasgow is a commercial hub and a tourist centre, most of the part-time jobs we advertise are in the hospitality/catering and call centre sectors
  • With few exceptions, it is very unlikely that you will find a part-time job related to your course of study
  • There are some restrictions on the type of work you can do while studying in the UK.  See the UKCISA website:  What Kind of Work Can You Do?
  • There are restrictions on the number of hours you can work during term-time.  See the UKCISA website:  How Many Hours Can You Work?
  • University departments may choose to advertise their part-time vacancies centrally via Human Resources and the vacancies section of the University website.
  • Ask in your own academic Department if there are any part-time or temporary work opportunities.
  • There are not very many part-time jobs on campus. If a department does contact us to advertise a vacancy, you will find that vacancy advertised via the MyCareerHub Strathclyde . It is your responsibility to login and check the part-time vacancies on a regular basis.
  • Some opportunities may also be advertised by StrathUnion JobShop.
  • Employers who advertise with the Careers Service must provide certain details - eg hours to be worked, location of work, pay rates, job description etc
  • Students have to apply for jobs directly to the employer
  • Follow application instructions carefully. If the employer likes your application, s/he may offer you an interview, which is your chance to meet the employer and let him/her know about your skills and suitability for the job
  • At interview it is acceptable to ask what the pay rate is, how many hours per week you will be required to work and when you will be paid
  • Some employers will know this and some won't
  • Any employer who wishes to employ you must ensure that you are legally premitted to work in the UK.  The UKCISA website has more details: Employers Checking Permission to Work
  • Jobcentres are run by the UK Government and were set up to help people find paid employment and to help employers fill their vacancies.  They advertise full-time and part-time, permanent and temporary vacancies. There are jobcentres throughout the UK and many local businesses will advertise their vacancies in the Glasgow job centres.  When you are looking for work, you can either go to your local jobcentre or you can search vacancies online through the GOV UKweb-site:  Find a job
  • Many businesses looking for part-time employees put adverts in their windows and supermarkets advertise on their notice-boards.  As you walk around town, make an effort to look in the windows you are passing.  You can apply for these jobs if they appeal to you.  Remember international students cannot work more than 20 hours per week during semester.
  • Some students use recruitment websites to search for part-time or temporary work eg:   

  • UK employers must pay at least the minimum wage for work done.  From April 2020 the national minimum wage rate is £8.72 per hour for anyone aged 25 or over, £8.20 per hour for anyone aged 21-24, £6.45 per hour for anyone aged 18-20 and £4.55 per hour for anyone under 18. 
  • Employers who don’t pay at least the minimum wage are breaking the law. 
  • Anyone can make a complaint about an employer who does not pay the minimum wage.  Visit the GOV UK website: Pay and work rights helpline and complaints
  • National Insurance is the name of the British Social Security tax.
  • Every worker in the UK must have a National Insurance Number.
  • Students are not exempt from paying tax and national insurance contributions. 
  • Once you have found an employer who is willing to give you a job, you should apply for your National Insurance Number by contacting the Jobcentre Plus National Insurance Number Allocation Service on: 0800-141-2075.  This Service will arrange an “evidence of identity” interview for you.  Find out more from the GOV UK website:  Applying for a National Insurance Number
  • More on Income Tax and National Insurance.

When you have been offered a job by an employer and accepted it you are permitted to start work straight away, even if you have not yet received your National Insurance Number.  If you haven’t applied for your NI number, you must do so immediately.

Your employer should ask you for certain information e.g.

  1. your full contact details (if he/she doesn’t have them already)
  2. your bank details - your account number and sort code if he/she is going to pay you directly into your bank account
  3. your National Insurance Number

Your employer will also ask to see ID (your passport and student ID card) in order to ensure that you are who you say you are.  Your employer may also wish to take a photocopy of your passport/ID card for his/her records.  Employers have responsibilities to ensure that their employees are legally permitted to work in the UK.

Once you start work you should receive a regular pay/wage slip which will have your name and National Insurance number on it and will give details of the hours you have worked, your payments and any deductions for tax and national insurance.  Find out more about Your Rights At Work. - current UK government information on Visas and Immigration - The UK Council for International Student Affairs home page: general information for international students - Worldwide information on UK Education

Use the GOV UK website for the current information about switching to a Tier 2 (General) visa

The UKCISA website has useful information on Working After Studies