Working during your studies

International students who hold a Student Route Visa to study in the UK are subject to working restrictions imposed by UKVI (UK Visas & Immigration). Breaching the working conditions and taking up work where you do not have the appropriate permission is considered illegal working and will affect your immigration record. Illegal working can result in curtailment of your visa and may risk any future visa applications you make. It may also lead to a prison sentence, a fine for you and a civil penalty for your employer.

Your entry clearance vignette (yellow visa sticker in your passport) or your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) indicates if you're allowed to work and the maximum number of hours you can work.


If you are from EU, EEA or Switzerland

If you are from within the European Economic Area (EEA), you can currently work without restriction, however, this will change from 1 January 2021. From this date not all EU/EEA students will be treated the same with regards to their status and what they are permitted to do in the UK:

  • Students in the UK on the EU Settlement Scheme can continue to study full or part time and can work over 20 hours per week during term time/can undertake a work placement/internship;
  • Study Route Visa students cannot work more than 20 hours per week/must meet criteria for placement/work placement as set out below;
  • General visitor visa route students are prohibited from working (may create a hardship issue) meaning they cannot undertake a placement/internship etc.

For more information regarding EU/EEA students visit our dedicated Advice page.

To find out more visit the UK Goverment information for EEA, EU and Swiss Nationals.

If you are on a Student Route Visa

The hours you are permitted to work will be clearly indicated on:

  1. The vignette in your passport (the yellow sticker)
  2. Your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

As a Student Route visa holder the types of work you can undertake are:

  • paid, unpaid and voluntary work
  • Paid and unpaid work placements undertaken as part of a course of study or period of study

Student Route visa holders are restricted from the following:

  • self-employment                   
  • engaging in business activity
  • Providing services as a professional sportsperson or entertainer
  • Take a full time, permanent position

UKVI also confirms that 'paid and unpaid work placements undertaken as part of a course of study' are separate from 'paid or unpaid employment', so can be done simultaneously.

Working limits for the Student Route under PBS rules

As a Student Route visa holder, if you are studying a full time course at the University, your Student Route visa may allow you to work in the UK. You will be permitted to work as per the UKVI rules:

  • 10 hours per week during term time if you are studying a course below degree level; OR
  • 20 hours per week during term time if you are studying a full time course at degree level and above;
  • You are allowed to work full time during vacation periods and after you have finished studies (until your visa expires);
  • 10 hours a week if you are on a Child Student visa and you are at least 16 years old.

Please read more information on University recommended hours if you are a Postgraduate or PhD student.  

What are the risks should a student work in excess of their conditions?

If you are in breach of your working conditions, please contact the IST immediately. If the IST establish that there is a breach, then the University of Birmingham is obliged to inform the UKVI of the overwork. As a result, the UKVI may choose to curtail your remaining leave. Please note: it is a criminal offence to exceed your working hours.

What can affect a student's working permissions?

Your working permissions will be affected :

  • If you wish to withdraw from your course or suspsend your studies then our Student sponsorship would cease and you must stop working immediately;
  • If you have successfully completed your course then you will retain the right to work until your visa expiry date.

Students in the UK on a Visitor visa

You cannot undertake any work whatsoever, whether paid, unpaid or voluntary. This includes work placements, which are not allowed even if part of your course.

Can I do an internship or work placement?

Work placements or internships must be an officially recognised part of your course.

If you want to do a work placement or internship outside your course, contact the IST to make sure that you are still within the regulations.

Further Information

If you have any questions, please contact the International Student Team.

For more information on work opportunities at the University of Birmingham visit the Work link website.

You can also find information and support on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.


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