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Working during your studies: guidance for non-EU students

Working during your studies

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website provides information on if you will be permitted to work. If you are allowed to work, you can also find out what types of work you can and cannot do and learn more about how many hours you can work.

For information about whether your family members can work in the UK, see the UKCISA's information for dependants.

Do my work conditions change when the rules change?

Not immediately. New rules do not affect you if you already have immigration permission to be in the UK. You have to comply with the rules that were in force when you applied for that permission. However, if you need to make an immigration application to stay longer, the new rules will apply to you from the date when you are granted permission to stay.

This means, for example, that if you are at a private college and you have permission to work, you do not have to stop working. The changes to the immigration rules that came into force on 4 July 2011 affect you only if you make an immigration application on or after that date. Your work conditions might then change, but only once you have been granted your new immigration permission. You can continue working until you are granted new permission that says something different, for example, that work is prohibited.

The same applies if you have been able to work for up to 10 hours a week and you are at a publicly-funded further education college. You can continue to work up to 10 hours a week until you apply for and are granted new immigration permission if you apply for this new Tier 4 (General) leave on or after 3 August 2015. This new permission will prohibit work, except for work placements that are an assessed part of your course, and you should then comply with that prohibition.

Can I pay for my studies through work?

You should be able to pay your tuition fees and living costs without having to work in the UK. However, if you need to make an immigration application in the UK, and you are working lawfully within the restrictions described above, you can use your UK earnings to show that you can meet the maintenance requirements. You should not rely on money from work in the UK because:

  • it can be difficult to find work;
  • it is unlikely that you will earn enough to cover all your costs;
  • you might lose your job; and
  • you might have problems with your studies if you spend too much time working.

Can I take a gap year and work full time?

No. If you want to defer your studies for a year, you should leave the UK and come back when your studies start again. You can work full time only in your vacations, or when you have finished your studies, or if you are doing a work placement or an internship.

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International Student Advisory Centre
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3645

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