Working during your studies

A guide to working
during your studies

Working in the UK will help you develop your English language skills and make a great addition to your CV. It's also a great way to meet new people and experience another side of British life.

However, the main purpose of the student visa route is for you to come to the UK to study and there are strict limits on your working hours. Where you are permitted to work, your visa will state how many hours you can work (usually either 10 or 20 hours per week) and the intention is that this should only be to supplement your income whilst studying.

It is your responsibility to ensure you do not work more than maximum hours allowed. If you do work more than maximum, you are breaking your visa conditions and could face a significant fine, having your earnings seized and have your visa cancelled.

The UKCISA website gives you full information about this but here is a summary:

  • If you are enrolled on a Bachelor’s degree course or higher you can work for up to 20 hours a week during term time.
  • If you are enrolled on a course below Bachelor’s degree level, you can work up to 10 hours a week during term time.
  • During holiday periods there are no restrictions on how many hours you can work.
  • You cannot take a gap year and work full time in the UK. If you want to defer your studies for a year, you must leave the UK and come back when your studies start again.
  • If you complete your course and you apply to stay in the UK under another visa (e.g. Graduate visa), you can to work full-time until you receive an outcome on your visa application.

Type of work you cannot do

  • You must not work in a full-time permanent role.
  • You must not be self-employed, or work as a freelancer.
  • You must not work as a professional sportspersons, coach or entertainer.

Getting the balance right

While your visa may allow you to work up to 20 hours a week, to get the right balance of work/study/social life, we recommend that you only take on part-time work for a maximum of 15 hours a week.

More information

We have a team of specialist Gateway advisors based in our campus libraries. They are trained to help and advise you on working during your studies, as well as things like visa issues, finances, healthcare, and enrolment.

Work Placements

Some of our courses allow for a short work placement during the course. During this placement you can work beyond the 20 hour a week limit if the placement is authorised by UCA before you start the placement.