Working part-time during vacation periods or when your schedule allows you to is a great way to get to know other people, upskill and earn some extra money.

But are you allowed to work in the UK on your student visa? We’ll help you answer that question in this guide below.

Visa eligibility

First, take a look at what is written on your student visa. For those studying degrees, the visa should state that you are allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours a week during term time. If you are a student of a programme below degree level, programme, there is a restriction where you can work up to only 10 hours a week during term time. Age restrictions also apply, as those under 16 years are not allowed to work.

It is very important that you stick to these hours allocated to your visa type, as it is a criminal offence if you breach this immigration regulation. What you must also be aware of is any restrictions your university may have on working during term times. Some campuses allow part-time work within university premises, some allow work at various institutions outside of the school. You may also have the chance to gain work experience at governmental agencies, so you’ll need clearance to take on any work offered then.

Be prepared that your immigration condition also changes if you switch courses halfway. For example, after completing your undergraduate course, you enrol in a postgraduate programme, or perhaps swap degrees or campuses at different institutions. Find out what your new immigration status is, until then stick to existing conditions.

If you are still unsure about these conditions, always feel free to check with us at MABECS or your international student services in your respective campuses.

Specific working hours

Here’s a guide to help you understand when exactly you can work based on the type of your visa and the course you are enrolled in:

You can work up to 20 hours a week if you meet these conditions:

  • You are taking a full-time course at a degree level or above at a higher education provider with a track record of compliance
  • You are a student of an overseas higher education institution taking a full-time short-term study abroad programme in the UK

Meanwhile, a 10 hour per week restriction applies to students under these courses:

  • In a full-time course below degree levels sponsored by a higher education institution with a track record of compliance
  • Any course where the student is aged over 16 and holding Tier 4 (Child) visa

Students are not allowed to work while studying in the UK under these conditions:

  • In a part-time postgraduate course or above that is supported by a recognised body in the UK or that receives public funds as a Higher Education Institution.  Students, who need visas, can study for full-time courses only
  • At any course where the student aged under 16 has a Tier 4 (Child) visa

What jobs can I do?

So, after you’ve cleared your work status, it’s time to hunt for jobs.  Keep in mind you’re not allowed to engage in the following types of employment:

  • Permanent full-time positions or filling full-time vacancies
  • Dentist or doctor in-training unless you are on a foundation programme
  • Self-employment and business activities
  • Professional athlete or sports coach unless this is through an approved placement as part of your degree programme
  • In the entertainment industry as a comedian, musician or performing artist

Aside from these restrictions, you can work within the limits you’re granted. Be mindful that it is for your professional gains or to help with finances – without getting distracted and losing track of your studies.

For those degrees or courses with compulsory work placement or internship opportunities, be sure to adhere to the rules that allow you fulfill your course requirements.


Don’t fret if you do not have the qualifications for a job that you’re applying for, particularly when in a labour market that is foreign to you. So long as you do not violate laws, you are allowed to explore and find work that will help you upskill and expand your experience. Most jobs that hire students do not necessarily require certifications or formal skills, so having a few hours of working experience will give you the chance for a professional recommendation when you leave university.

Voluntary or unpaid work

You are allowed to volunteer or take on unpaid work, just keep in mind that unpaid work will count towards your weekly maximum hours but volunteering does not. If taking on this type of work, you generally do not have a contract and likely to be helping a social cause or charity. Some organisations do offer reimbursement for expenses, so go ahead and do your research to see what suits you.