Working in the UK during your studies

Tier 4 (General) student visa

If you have a Tier 4 (General) student visa you can do the following, providing that a right to work in the UK check has been completed for you by your employer before you start any work:

  • work part-time during term time - 20 hours per week if you are studying a degree course, 10 hours per week if your course is below degree level
  • work full-time (36.5 hours) in University vacations and upon completion of your course until your visa expiry date.
  • work on a placement that forms part of your course (you do not need a separate work visa)

For example, your valid Tier 4 visa must either be in your current passport (i.e. not in an expired passport) or a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), in which all new visas are now issued, supported by a current passport. Please note that an in-date visa in an out-of-date passport will not give you a right to work in the UK.

You must not:

  • work for more than 20 hours per week in term time, except in the case of an agreed work placement which forms part of the course
  • provide services as a professional entertainer or sportsperson (including a sports coach)
  • be self-employed (registered with HMRC)
  • engage in business activities. For example you must not:
    • work for a business in a capacity other than an employee in which you have a financial or other significant beneficial interest
    • set up a business as a sole trader or under a partnership arrangement and that business is either trading or establishing a trading presence
    • be employed by a company in which you hold shares of 10% or more (including where the shares are held in a trust for you)
    • work for a company where you also hold a statutory role, such as a director

Please note that you are still limited to the working hours detailed on your visa even if you finish studies early. You cannot start a full-time role until after your official completion date.

Full details about Tier 4 visas can be read in the UK government's publication titled, 'Tier 4 of the Points Based System - Policy Guidance'.

Working at the University – Tier 4 worker booking system

Access the Tier 4 worker booking system

To maintain your Tier 4 immigration status, you must not exceed the number of hours that you are entitled to work. The maximum number of hours is calculated per week, and must not be averaged out. If you exceed the limit, your visa could be curtailed and you would be required to leave the UK. The University may be fined and have its Tier 4 Sponsor Licence revoked.

The University has developed a system to protect you and the University, which you must follow.

If you have a Tier 4 visa and carry out hourly paid work for the University of Bath, you must only accept bookings made on the new Tier 4 Worker Booking System.

You will only be paid for work completed at the University of Bath that has been booked in the Tier 4 Booking System.

How the booking system works

The booking system only covers work completed at the University of Bath by current Tier 4 visa students.

  1. When a member of staff asks you to carry out work, you must make sure that they know that you hold a Tier 4 visa.
  2. For hourly paid work, your engaging manager must first make sure that you are set up using the University's Hourly Paid Worker System. This will include a check of your documentation detailing your right to work in the UK; this is something that must be completed before you undertake any work. As a Tier 4 student, even though you have a right to study this does not mean that you automatically have the right to work. For example, your valid Tier 4 visa must either be in your current passport (i.e. not in an expired passport) or a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), in which all new visas are now issued.
  3. Once you are set up on the system stating that you are able to undertake hourly paid work, and having signed your contract (online), your engaging manager must book the hours that they want you to work in advance using the Univeristy's Tier 4 booking system. The system will calculate whether you are able to work for the amount of hours requested. The booking system uses information about your visa type, course status and the academic calendar to determine the maximum hours that you are allowed to work in a particular week.
  4. The Tier 4 Booking System will then generate an email. This contains the numbers of hours booked and a timesheet. You will be asked to complete this timesheet and submit it for approval once the work has been completed. You must not undertake any work before receiving the email. Once authorised, your line manager will submit your timesheet to Payroll for approval.

The Tier 4 Booking System is for paid workers only. However, unpaid and voluntary work is still considered to contribute to the total work that you are allowed to do as part of your Tier 4 visa. It is therefore up to you to make sure that you do not exceed the total number of hours of work allowed on your visa.

If you work in more than one department, each department will need to book you using the Booking System.

Before you agree to carry out any work, you must make sure it would not mean you work more hours than you are permitted, especially if you do other work, paid or unpaid, for any other organisation.

For example, if you are booked for work during a term-time week, the maximum number of hours of combined paid and unpaid work that you can do that week is 20 hours. So, if you are booked for 16 hours of paid work that week, and you complete four hours of unpaid or voluntary work as well, then you can do no more work at the University, or for an outside organisation, that week.

Please note that you will not appear on the booking system if you have graduated; as a graduated Tier 4 student, you are entitled to work full-time (36.5 hours per week) until the end of your visa.

Postgraduate taught students writing up a dissertation

Writing up your dissertation is considered term-time and work is therefore restricted to 20 hours per week. You cannot work full-time until your official end date on SAMIS. If you submit your thesis early you are not permitted to work full-time until your actual course end date.

Postgraduate research students

You can work full-time during vacation time that has been agreed with your supervisor and authorised using the authorised absence form available on SAMIS online. You must submit a request under the 'VACATION' category.

You can request a longer period of vacation in between submitting your thesis and completing your viva, but this must be authorised by your Director of Studies using the authorised absence form available on SAMIS online. You must submit a request under the 'POST SUBMISSION' category.

You are restricted to 20 hours per week from the date of your viva until final submission of your thesis.

Human Resources provide more information on Tier 4 working restrictions.

Documents your employer is likely to ask you for

  • your current passport
  • a valid visa in your current passport or a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), supported by a current valid passport
  • evidence of vacation dates (undergraduate students can print these from the University website. Postgraduate students will need to get confirmation from their faculty by email or letter)

For full details visit the UKCISA website

Work conditions

Please note:

  • if you have any type of visitor visa or a Short Term Study visa, you cannot work in the UK
  • if you withdraw from or suspend your course, you cannot work in the UK on your Tier 4 visa
  • if you complete your course early your visa will be curtailed. You can work full-time after your new course end date for the amount of time you were given on your original visa (usually 4 months or 6 months for 1 year Masters students participating in the Tier 4 pilot scheme)
  • if you find out that your work conditions are incorrect for your visa, please email

Examples of prohibited, restricted and unrestricted work

This is a list of examples only and should not be taken as a complete list. If you are in any doubt about whether an activity you are planning is prohibited, restricted or unrestricted, please email


If you are on a Tier 4 visa, you must not do any prohibited activities under any circumstances.

Employment as a professional or semi-professional sportsperson (including a sports coach)

  • sports coaching / coaching education e.g. as part of an after school club or as part of a Sunday sports club for which payment is received. Note that if you are acting in an 'amateur' role, this may be an acceptable activity - see the 'Unrestricted' section for more details.
  • the only circumstances in which coaching is permitted is if it is solely for personal enjoyment and is unpaid
  • deriving a living from playing or coaching in any capacity e.g. zumba / dance / yoga / fitness instructor

Employment as an entertainer

  • employed as an entertainer e.g. DJ, musician (whether self-employed or as a paid employee)
  • taking part in television shows (check with organisers whether this is considered employment)
  • any freelance work, including working digitally across different countries
  • performing for audiences on stage, cabaret or comedy shows e.g. singing, stand-up comedy, playing music, tribute acts, children's magician


Including but not limited to:

  • selling things for personal profit on campus or in pop-up shops
  • selling items for a profit on a regular basis (trading) on Amazon, eBay, Etsy etc. (occasional sales of unwanted items are permitted)
  • using a skillset to obtain a personal contract, either for profit or unpaid e.g. if a member of a student society contributes to work on a society project with a client, and then obtains more work from that client in a personal contract
  • any activity in which you are paid in cash e.g. dog walking, babysitting etc.
  • private tuition / teaching

For more details on self-employment, read the information provided by the UK government.

 Business activities

  • 'Gig economy' work such as Uber, MyHermes, DPD, Deliveroo etc. (short-term contracts with last minute scheduling / freelancing)
  • direct selling i.e. going to people's homes to sell products directly to them, or in any location that is not a permanent retail office
  • setting up a business e.g. you cannot set up a business with the Innovation Centre, even if this follows on from a business plan created with Bath Entrepreneurs' Society. You also cannot set up a business with groups such as ENACTUS
  • running an online business; this includes collecting 'passive' income from affiliate marketing e.g. clicks on your YouTube videos
  • working for an employer based outside of the UK while you are in the UK (you may work for an overseas employer if you are not in the UK)
  • working for a company in which you hold shares of 10% or more (including where the shares are held in a trust for you)
  • working for a company where you hold a statutory role, such as director
  • having a partnership arrangement with a trading business
  • regularly buying and selling shares
  • Bitcoin mining
  • any full-time, permanent contract (i.e. taking a full-time job alongside studying), except in a role as a Student Union executive officer
  • if in doubt, always note that you cannot run any business in the UK; this is even the case if all of your clients for that business are outside of the UK


You may do restricted activities, but these are limited to the work restrictions of either 10 or 20 hours per week in term-time, and a full-time role (36.5 hours) during vacation.

In voluntary work, you will normally have contractual obligations to perform the work (e.g. to attend at particular times and carry out specific tasks), with the employer contractually obliged to provide you with the work. The contract does not have to be written, and you will normally be paid 'in kind' i.e. you will receive a benefit instead of monetary payment, such as accommodation for the duration of your contract. This is different to volunteering, which is explained in the section titled, 'Unrestricted'.

  • stewarding at events for which you receive benefits instead of payment e.g music festivals at you receive free entry to performances (e.g. via wristbands)
  • participating in focus groups or clinical trials
  • resident tutors (being 'on call' in this role for no more than the maximum hours detailed in your Tier 4 visa)
  • hourly paid work at the University
  • part-time paid employment
  • any work for which you receive payment in the form of vouchers or other incentives e.g. receiving Amazon vouchers for acting as a student caller


You are able to do any unrestricted activities.

Volunteering is an unrestricted acitivty. This is different to voluntary work as no contract is involved, and there are no payments 'in kind' except for reasonable travel and subsistence (food and drink) expenses

  • placements that are an assessed and integral part of your course
  • performances that are part of your course
  • academic and business programmes and work placements forming part of your course, including secondments to businesses
  • acting/performing as an amateur. An amateur is defined as a person who engages in a sport or creative activity for personal enjoyment and who is not seeking to derive a living from the activity. Other examples include being an amateur sports player or coach i.e. not receiving payment, such as coaching as part of a student club or society.
  • owning a property and deriving income from it (although you must pay tax on your rental income)

Volunteering and Voluntary work

You should always try to confirm whether an activity you would like to undertake is considered 'voluntary' or 'volunteering' before starting it. For advice on any activity, please email