Employment during your studies
Working during studies
Whilst you are in the UK under the conditions of a student visa, studying must be your main priority. It is your responsibility to check what has been written on your vignette (visa in your passport) or Biometric Residence Permit to ensure that you do not breach the conditions of your visa. Therefore, before taking any work it is vital that you discuss your plans with your supervisor or personal tutor.
You should also keep in mind that, as a full-time student, it is expected that you complete your studies within the usual timeframe for your course of study. Extensions requested as a result of a student having neglected his or her studies in favour of taking up paid employment would not normally be approved.
Prospective students, student visitors and all other visitor categories carry a work prohibition.
The conditions of a General Student or Tier 4 (General) visa dictates that you must not:
- fill a full-time permanent vacancy
- be self-employed
- be employed as a doctor or dentist in training (unless on a recognised Foundation Programme)
- be employed as a professional sportsperson or entertainer
Where you are following a course of degree level study or above (excluding a foundation degree), the following work is allowed:
- Part-time during term-time (no more than 20 hours per week)
- Full-time during vacations (This does not apply to Postgraduate students - see below)
- Full time on a work placement provided that it is an assessed part of the course and is not more than 50% of the total length of the course
Where you are following a course of study below degree level (including a foundation degree), the following work is allowed:
- Part-time during term time (no more than 10 hours per week)
- Full-time during vacations
- Full time on a work placement as an assessed part of a course
New regulations introduced by the Home Office on 16 May 2014 now mean that Entry Clearance vignettes (visas granted overseas) must be presented in a current passport to enable the holder to work. If your Tier 4 visa vignette is in an expired passport, in accordance with new regulation, you will not be permitted to work.
If you hold a valid Tier 4 visa inside an expired passport you can apply to have the conditions of this visa transferred to a new passport and be issued with a Biometric Residence Permit, which will enable you to work. To do this you will need to use the Transfer of Conditions (TOC) Form. The current cost of a TOC application is £107, although from April 2015 this will increase to £183.
The average processing time for a TOC postal application is 6-8 weeks during which time you will not have access to your passport. A premium application route is available for an additional cost of £400 which would normally take 7-10 days to be processed. You are entitled to work while the TOC application is in progress subject to your employer conducting relevant checks with the Home Office which confirm an application is underway.
The Immigration Service can assist with TOC applications, just book an appointment to meet with an adviser.
For Masters students (regardless of the length of the Masters course i.e. 1, 2, 3 years) the University term dates are irrelevant. A Masters student is only entitled to work part time (up to 20 hours per week) until the course end date has passed. For Tier 4 students this end date is the course end date stated on the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) which was used to obtain the current Tier 4 visa application, or the revised course end date in the case of academic extension by recommendation of the Board of Examiners, whichever is latest.
The official course end date cannot be brought forward, even in the case that all elements of the course are completed/dissertation submitted before this official end date. Students who undertake full time employment after the official course end date but before the date of the Board of Examiners do so at their own risk and on the understanding that, if it is recommended that the award not be conferred and further study is required to complete the course, they will return to restricted work rights (20 hours per week) during this period of extension. Furthermore, if the Exam Board recommends that the student be permanently or temporarily withdrawn, the student should notify their employer of this change in circumstance and follow our advice here.
The only exceptions to the above are the official dates upon which the University closes, such as Good Friday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. After the official course end date, a student can work full-time provided that it is on a temporary or rolling contract and not a permanent position.
As is the case for Masters students, for Postgraduate Research students University term dates are also irrelevant. A PGR student is only entitled to work part time (up to 20 hours per week) until their course end date has passed. This will be from the date that his or her degree is officially conferred by Senate and not from the thesis submission date or viva date. The only exceptions are the official dates upon which the University closes, such as Christmas Day and Boxing Day. After the official course end date, a student can work full-time provided that it is on a temporary or rolling contract and not a permanent position.
Pre-sessional English, PEPS, Visiting Students
If you hold a Tier 4 (General) Student visa and are enrolled on a course of study that is taught outside of the regular University term dates, for example the 5 or 10-week pre-sessional English course, you should refer to the course start and end dates on your CAS and not work more than the number of hours permitted by the conditions of your leave during this period. This advice also applies to Visiting Students with Tier 4 leave who are enrolled outside of the normal University term dates. You may work full time during the period of leave granted before and after the official course start dates included in your CAS.
PEPS students and Visiting/Exchange Students who are enrolled with Student Visitor Visas are prohibited from undertaking any kind of work during their stay in the UK.
Internships (General Student Visa, not Tier 4 Student)
With a general student visa issued before 31 March 2009, you can undertake an internship of up to three months. You should not have previously undertaken an internship with the employer; the internship must be an established part of the employer’s recruitment procedure; pay and conditions must be comparable to those for ‘resident’ workers and the internship must be completed within the current visa period you have as a student.
Work placements (Tier 4 Student Visa)
Any work placement you do whilst on a Tier 4 visa has to be an integral and assessed part of your course. You are therefore not able to take a placement during term-time unless it is an integral and assessed part of your course and is not more than 50% of the duration of your course.
If you are an undergraduate student you can take an internship during the university vacations as this will fit in with the working conditions linked to your Tier 4 student visa which state you can work up to 20 hours a week during term time and full-time during vacation. Postgraduate students should refer to the information above about working and restrictions.
Voluntary year out
It is not possible for a Tier 4 visa holder to take part in Warwick's Voluntary Year Out Scheme. If you are here on a non-PBS student visa, it may be possible for you to take a year out of your studies to work if you participate in the University of Warwick Voluntary Year Out scheme. You must have gained approval from your department and from the Academic Office before taking a year out under this scheme.
There are various ways of finding out about job vacancies. You could use the University temping agency, Unitemps or use a JobCentre Plus in Coventry or Leamington, or look for local ads in newspapers or shop/restaurant windows. For more details, visit our website listed below. You may also use the Student Careers and Skills centre.
National Insurance Number
You will need an ‘NI’ number if you are undertaking any kind of work in the UK. To apply you should telephone 0845 600 643. Your personal details will be taken and the application forms will be posted to you.
Income tax (and NI contributions) are automatically deducted from your pay once you reach a minimum level of earnings in the UK. The 2013/14 tax free allowance for somebody born after 5 April 1948 is £9,440. If you earn below this level then you do not need to pay income tax or National Insurance. If you only work during university vacations and do not expect to earn more than the annual tax free allowance then you can complete a form so that your employer will not deduct income tax. See http://www.direct.gov.uk/ for more information.
EEA and Swiss Nationals
Nationals of Austria, Belgium, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, and their dependants, have no restriction on the hours and type of work they can undertake whilst studying in the UK.
Nationals of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and their dependants also have no limitations on hours or type of work. There is no longer a need for nationals of these countries to apply for permission to work and you now have the same rights to work in the UK as other EU nationals.
Students from Bulgaria and Romania may also work during their studies, but must register under the Worker Authorisation Scheme. See the Home Office website for details and application forms. Registration certificates issued to Bulgarian and Romanian students will state that they can work up to 20 hours a week unless they are following a course with vocational training and are working as part of that training or they are working during their vacation.
Please note that it is possible to submit your national identity card instead of your passport with a BR1 application.
On 1 July 2013, Croatia accedes to the EU. From this date, Croatian nationals wishing to work in the UK will be required to apply for a yellow registration certificate to do so. Croatian nationals who are already in the UK with Tier 4 leave valid until after 1 July 2013 will be able to continue to work until the end of their visa, in accordance with the working conditions attached to Tier 4. For students who choose to remain in the UK under Tier 4 the University must continue with it's Tier 4 sponsor licence obligations to report any change of circumstance. Croatian nationals with valid Tier 4 leave are advised to apply for a yellow registation certificate well in advance of their Tier 4 visa expiry, as they will not be permitted to work between the expiry of their Tier 4 leave and the date which the yellow registation certificate is issued. More information can be found via the GOV website.