Working while Studying: Provisions and Rules for International Students


Have you considered working part-time while studying in the UK? If so, then, it is important for you to become aware of work placement details, working hours, and works you can or cannot do while on a student visa.

Work Placement

Placements are an exceptional means of gaining work experience, particularly if students are not permitted to take employment otherwise in the UK. Students can engage in a work placement as a central part of the academic course even if students are not allowed to take employment (Working while Studying). Nevertheless, probationary sponsors are not permitted to support students to study any course below degree level education with work placements. A work placement needs to be reviewed and normally should not use up more than one-third time of the educational course.

A student can devote up to half of the course in the work placements in the UK undertakings if they satisfy the following criteria regarding levels of course and sponsor:

The Immigration Rules and regulation indicate such patrons as a “higher education provider (abbreviated as HEP) with a history of compliance. However, the sponsor might be designated in the register of promoters as an HEI, a publicly-financed college, a private source, an autonomous school, or a college delivering pathway courses, therefore, the track record makes all the difference. An HEI in a foreign country need not have a “track record“, thus, it is important to review the Sponsor type column.

The sponsor also needs to monitor the student during work placement and allow Home Office to be acquainted with the fact that the student would be working while studying for part of their academic course. Also, the sponsors need to issue a letter for the provider of work placement covering all the particulars of the terms and conditions of the appointment.

Work placements can be either paid or unpaid/honorary and can even be full-time during course term. The work authorisation in students’ passports or on biometric residence permit of the student will not explicitly mention this, but the Home Office guide for businesses clarifies it.

Working Hours

If a student is allowed to take employment, then he/she can engage (up to 10 hours to 20 hours every week during term time) along with working on placement. An internship that is a vital and assessed part of the academic course and does not go beyond the one-third or one-half limit of the term time can be considered as a work placement. In all other circumstances, students can engage as an intern only if they are allowed to work and it would be subject to limitations and regulations of student employment. This implies that a student cannot work full-time during the time of terms.

Works you are allowed to do

The majority of students aged 16 or above are permitted to work, though students are restricted to engage in a course-linked work placement. If a student is permitted to work while studying, then they can apply for as well as accept the offer in almost all kinds of paid employment, at any position. There are no such limits on what a student earns or the working hours during vacations or after study, however, it is important to make sure that a student does not exceed the limit of maximum working hours in a week during term time.

Work you are not permitted to do

Certain types of work that students are not allowed to do are listed below:

  • Engage in any business activity or self-employment
  • Work as a professional athlete or as a coach, although there is an exception to this rule for students engaged in work placements while pursuing degree level course
  • Engage as a professional entertainer, which entails singer, dancer, actor, musician as well as other performers; however, there is an exemption for students engaged in work placements while pursuing degree level courses in dance, drama, or music.
  • Engage in any full-time and permanent job, until and unless applied under “Work Route


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