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Working with your Student or Tier 4 visa

Find out what work you can and can't do in the UK as a full-time Student or Tier 4 visa holder.

If you are studying full-time with a Student or Tier 4 visa, you will have working conditions attached to your visa. These conditions allow you to work in the UK, but there are some restrictions on the amount of work and the types of work you can do.

Please note, you cannot work in the UK if any of the following apply:

  • you are on a part-time Student / Tier 4 visa
  • you have any type of visitor visa or a Short term study visa
  • if you go into suspense or withdraw from your course

How many hours you can work

If you have a full-time Student or Tier 4 visa you are limited to the following number of hours you can work per week depending on whether it is term time or a vacation period:

  • no more than 10 hours per week in term-time if your course is below degree level (e.g. a Foundation or Pre-Sessional course)
  • no more than 20 hours per week in term-time if your course is at degree level or above
  • a full-time role during vacation (36.5 hours per week if working at the University of Bath)
  • a full-time role from the official end date of your course (as listed on your CAS) until your visa expires

The times refer to the amount of time that you can work in total e.g. if you work multiple jobs during term-time, the combined total time cannot exceed 10 or 20 hours per week (depending on your course level). ## Making sure that you do not work more than you are allowed

It is your responsibility to make sure that other work you do, paid or unpaid, does not exceed the total number of hours your visa allows. 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.

When is term-time

Whether or not it is considered to be term-time will depend on the type of course you are studying. For taught students, vacation periods are listed on the academic year chart. For undergraduate and postgraduate taught students, the January inter-semester break is considered vacation time. For first year undergraduate students, Welcome Week is considered term time. For any other student, Welcome Week is not considered term time.

Undergraduate students

The term dates are listed on the academic year chart. You can work full-time during any period marked as vacation on the academic year chart.

Post-graduate taught students

You can work full-time during any period marked as vacation on the academic year chart except during the summer vacation. During this period, you are expected to be studying full-time to complete your dissertation. Work is therefore restricted to 20 hours per week.

After your dissertation is submitted, you cannot work full-time until your official course end date as listed on your CAS (even if you submit your dissertation early).

Doctoral students

You can work full-time during vacation time. Vacation time is five weeks over the course of a year, from September to August (plus Bank Holidays and University Closure days). Vacation must be 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.

Unless you have a vacation period authorised through the authorised absence form on SAMIS, you are restricted to 20 hours per week from the date of your viva until your degree is awarded at the final Board of Studies.

Types of work that are permitted

Work can include the following:

  • part-time paid employment
  • hourly paid work at the University
  • participating in focus groups or clinical trials
  • voluntary work

Voluntary work

Voluntary work is included in the 10 or 20 hours per week work limit during term time.

Voluntary work 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.

Voluntary work could, for example, include:

  • stewarding at events for which you receive benefits instead of payment e.g. music festivals for which you receive free entry (e.g. via wristbands)
  • 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

Volunteering 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. The amount of volunteering you can do is not restricted to the 10 or 20 hours per week during term time.

Types of work that are not permitted

If you have a full-time Student or Tier 4 visa, the following types of work are not permitted with your visa:

  • self-employment
  • engagement in business activities
  • employment as an entertainer
  • employment as a professional sportsperson or sports coach

There is a useful blog written by UKCISA which gives examples of the types of work that fall into the above categories.

Integrated placements

You can do a placement during your studies as long as it is an integral and assessed part of your course. Work placements can be paid or unpaid and can be full time, even in term time.

If your visa permits work, you can also work up to 10 or 20 hours a week in term time in addition to working on your placement full-time.

Please see our guide on placements as a full-time Student or Tier 4 visa holder for more information.

Right to work checks

Before you start a job in the UK, your employer will need to conduct a Right to Work check to ensure they are not employing you illegally. This is a legal requirement.

What documents you need to provide

As a Student / Tier 4 visa holder, you will likely need to provide documentation detailing your right to work in the UK including:

  • 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)

The University’s Student / Tier 4 visa worker Booking System

To protect you and the University, we have developed a Student / Tier 4 visa worker Booking System. You can use it to book work, see how many hours you are able to work in a week, and get paid for the work you do.

You will only be paid for work completed at the University of Bath if it has been booked in advance on the Booking System.

The Student and Tier 4 visa worker Booking System is for paid workers only and only covers the work you do at the University of Bath. To use the system, you must be a current full-time student at the University, and a Student or Tier 4 visa holder. You will not appear on the booking system if you have graduated. If you are employed by the University whilst you are studying, please read the email that you will be sent explaining how to use the Booking System.

Careers advice and support

The University of Bath has a dedicated Careers Service who can help support you with finding work. The Careers Service can support students with career plans, application advice, interview skills, job search strategy and much more through 1:1 appointments, events and online resources. Book an appointment with an adviser or explore the extensive online resources through the MyFuture careers platform.

Getting a National Insurance number

You must get a National Insurance Number if you wish to work in the UK. You can find out more about this from several sources:

Working with your Student or Tier 4 visa after your studies have ended

After you your studies have ended, the amount of work you can do and the type of work changes according to a number of factors:

  • After your official course end date: if you have completed your course, you can work full-time with your Student or Tier 4 visa from your official course end date as listed on your CAS, until your visa expires. Whilst you are working with your Student or Tier 4 visa, you cannot be employed on a permanent contract even if your course has finished.
  • After applying for the Graduate visa: you can start working on a full-time permanent contract as soon as you have submitted the Graduate visa application - you do not need to wait for your Graduate visa to be granted.
  • If your Student visa expires before your Graduate visa is granted: if you have applied for the Graduate visa but you have not yet received a decision on your application, you can continue to work even if your Student visa expires. If for any reason your Graduate visa is refused and your Student visa has expired, you will need to stop working immediately.
  • Suspending or withdrawing from your studies: if you suspend or withdraw from your studies, you cannot do any work in the UK from the point that you suspend or withdraw.