Street Section by Helen A Love

International students Working during studies

If you have a Student visa or Tier 4 visa allowing you to work in the UK, there are strict rules governing the total number of hours that you may work in any given week.

The following information is for students studying under a Student or Tier 4 visa sponsored by the University of Strathclyde only, a sponsor with a track record of compliance.

Please note: if you have a Student visa or Tier 4 visa and have been furloughed from your job under the UK Government's Job Retention Scheme - these furloughed hours still count towards your 20 hours per week during term time. 

Working while studying

Am I entitled to work?

Your entry clearance vignette (visa sticker in your passport) or Biometric Residence Permit card (BRP) will state your working entitlement. It should state either 20 hours or 10 hours per week during term time.

This allows you to work part-time for up to 20/10 hours (as stated on your visa) per week during term time and full-time during holiday periods. Holiday periods will vary according to your course of study.

You should not attempt to work an average number of hours if the average puts you above 20 or 10 hours at any time. For example, if you're entitled to work 20 hours per week, you cannot work 24 hours one week and then 16 hours the following week.

If you work more than 20 or 10 hours in any one week, you will be breaking the conditions of your visa which can have serious implications on your immigration status and ability to continue with your studies. 

How many hours can I work?

  • Student visa/Tier 4 visa students on pre-sessional courses will be limited to 10 hours per week
  • Students here on a Standard Visitor Visa are not permitted to undertake paid or unpaid work or participate in a work placement
  • EEA nationals granted Pre-Settled or Settled Status through the EU Settlement Scheme have a right to work in the UK

For further information on working during studies please visit the The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.

What counts as one week for work purposes?

The Home Office states that a week is considered 'a period of seven days beginning with a Monday.' This means that you shouldn't work more than 20 hours between any Monday and the following Sunday. Further information on how a week is defined is available here.

When can I work?

Summer vacation runs from the end of Semester 2 to the beginning of Semester 1 in the following academic year.

For confirmation of semester and vacation dates, take a look at the University's key dates page.

  • A Postgraduate Masters student writing a dissertation/project is not on vacation from the course during the summer vacation and therefore cannot work more than 20 hours per week during this period 
  • Full time work is permitted during official Christmas and Spring vacation periods
  • MRes, MPhil or PhD students undertaking research are not on holiday from the course during the spring and summer vacations and therefore cannot work more than 20 hours per week during these periods. PhD students are only permitted to work full-time on the official University Closed Dates over the Christmas and New Year period
  • Undergraduate students are on vacation during the Christmas, spring and summer vacations and are therefore entitled to work full time during this period.
  • All Student visa/Tier 4 visa students can work full-time after being marked as completed on PEGASUS until their visa expiry date.
    • This period may be 4 months or less, depending on when you complete
    • PhD and PGT students, please note that you will not have completed until your thesis has received final examination AND your Pegasus record shows your status as ‘Completed’

What work can I do?

Student visa holders and Tier 4 visa holders can do most kinds of work. However, you are not permitted to:

  • be self-employed or undertake any 'business activity'
  • work as a professional or semi-professional sportsperson, including as a sports coach
  • work as an entertainer
  • take employment as a doctor or dentist in training
  • take a permanent full-time job

More information is in the Student route caseworker guidance.

Students who have a Standard Visitor Visa are not permitted to work in the UK.

What evidence can I provide to my employer that shows I can work and when I can work?

If you have a Tier 4 or Student visa, your BRP will help show your Student visa work conditions. However, some employers may ask for further information from you.

We would suggest that you provide the following:

  • Student status letter - this can be downloaded from PEGASUS
  • Confirmation of award or your results letter - this also can be downloaded from PEGASUS
  • A link to the Key Dates page
  • Providing the employer your share code - you will need your BRP or passport you used to apply for your Tier 4 or Student visa to use this service

The International Student Support Team are unable to provide letters confirming how many hours a student is permitted to work or when a student can work full-time hours.

How do I find a job?

You are allowed to use government Jobcentres when searching for a job. Students can also use the Careers Service online vacancy platform, MyCareerHub, to search for work experience opportunities and graduate jobs. The Careers Service provides reliable information and advice on all aspects of preparing for and searching for jobs in the UK and abroad.

The Careers Consultants can also advise you on preparing your CV, your search for jobs and preparing for different stages of the application process.

Once you have found a job or have been offered a job, you need to obtain a National Insurance Number. The Careers Service can assist you with this.

What is the minimum wage?

The Government issue details on the National Minimum Wage & National Living Wage rates in the UK.