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Student Visa Holders - Working during your studies

Information for international students working in the UK during your studies

If you are studying at the University with a Student Visa, you should have been issued a visa which allows work during your studies. This will be stated on the vignette (yellow sticker) in your passport or on your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). Check the front of your BRP or vignette in your passport to see how many hours you are permitted to work. If you do not have a BRP you can check your online immigration status

How many hours can I work?

Your visa/BRP will confirm how many hours the Home Office permits you to work:

  • 20 hours per week during term time if you are studying at degree level and above; OR
  • 10 hours per week during term time if you are studying below degree level OR
  • Full time during vacation periods (see ‘What is term time’ section below)
  • Full time during a work placement that is an assessed and integral part of your studies (see ‘Working on placement year’ page)

These hours are per week and must never be averaged over a longer timescale. The Home Office have also defined a working week as running from Monday to Sunday regardless of where or for whom you work. This is especially important to remember if you have more than one job. Remember – paid and unpaid work, on-call hours, on-the job training and working as a voluntary worker all count towards your permitted weekly working hours limit.

Check your visa/BRP carefully for any working hour’s errors before you start working. If you think that the working hours restriction on your BRP is incorrect, please report the error online on https://www.gov.uk/biometric-residence-permits/report-problem within 10 days of receipt of the BRP. You cannot exceed the working hour’s restriction until you get your visa/BRP corrected.

Working for the University of Hertfordshire

The University has its own restrictions on how many hours students can work, regardless what your BRP states.  Contact the Human Resources (HR) team to discuss how many hours you are permitted to work as a student sponsored by the University – recruitment-hourlypaid@herts.ac.uk

What is term time?

 Your Student Visa restricts the number of hours you can work during term time, but you can work full time outside of term-time. 

Term time means any period of time when you are expected to do any academic work, for example:

  • Attending classes and lectures (whether face to face or online)
  • Writing essays, dissertations or a thesis
  • Preparing for and taking exams
  • Doing coursework
  • Undertaking re-sits, referrals and deferrals

Please note that Induction/Fresher’s week, school reading weeks and study weeks are considered to be term-time, so you should not work full-time during these weeks. You can find the general term dates and vacation periods on the University website.  https://www.herts.ac.uk/study/term-and-semester-dates 

If you are registered in the current academic year, you are permitted to work full time outside of your term dates, which are noted on your student status letter and UH website.

Most courses are delivered within the standard term dates. However, some courses extend into vacation periods. To determine if your course is one of them, please refer to the attached here. If your course is listed, it may impact your ability to work outside of term times.

To prove to an employer that you can work outside of term time, please provide a copy of your student status letter along with the list of courses noted here.

If you are completing your dissertation, please note you cannot work more than 20 hours per week. Failure to comply may result in your visa sponsorship being withdrawn. 

For more information please refer to our page Student Visa Holders - Working during your vacation

What type of work can I do?

 The type of work you can do on a Student visa is subject to certain restrictions.

Permitted:

  • Part-time employment that is paid or unpaid, including remote work for an employer outside the UK
  • Work placement as part of a course that is paid or unpaid
  • Volunteering - as long as it meets the definition for volunteering as stated in the Student Route Policy Guidance  

Not permitted:

  • Self-employment e.g. freelancing, working from home, selling your own products such as artwork, music or jewellery.
  • Engaging in business or any professional activity. This includes (but is not limited to): setting up a business, being a company director, sleeping partner, sole trader, shareholder or entering a partnership arrangement. It also includes any work for a business which is based overseas, but the work is being done from within the UK.
  • Doctor or dentist in training unless on a recognised foundation programme where permission has been granted for this course type
  • Professional sportsperson/sports coach. Professional sportsperson includes playing or coaching, paid or unpaid, at all levels in any capacity. This includes being registered with a national/youth/state/ professional/semi-professional team. This is not an exhaustive list, so if you are involved with any type of sporting activity or coaching, please seek advice from the Student Immigration Team (Advice).
  • Entertainer (including modelling)
  • Sole trader e.g. eBay, Amazon, Etsy
  • Delivery person as a contractor e.g. Deliveroo, Uber, DPD, MyHermes etc.
  • Direct sales e.g. Avon, Amway, Thermomix etc.
  • Full-time internship or work placement that is not an integral and assessed part of a course
  • Filling a full-time permanent position

There is a blog available for students on the UKCISA website (UK Council for International Student Affairs) which provides some good examples of what is classed as ‘work’: www.ukcisa.org.uk/blog/6257/A-workingdefinition

Breaches of working conditions – illegal working

WARNING: Do not breach your visa working conditions. It is important that you understand the rules about working in the UK, as the consequences of breaching your visa conditions (including working over your weekly limit) are extremely serious, for both the worker and the employer.

Working breaches are a criminal offence and can lead to a fine of £5,000 and/or up to six months in prison and the possibility of removal from the UK.  It can also seriously impact on the University’s ability to recruit & retain international students and staff. Any student suspected of breaching their visa conditions must be reported to the Home Office by the University. If that student is also working for the University, they will be told to stop working immediately and the University may also stop sponsorship of their Student Visa.

If you have any questions about working in the UK, please contact the Student Immigration Team (Advice). If you have specific questions about working for the University of Hertfordshire, please contact the HR Department.

Contact Us

Student Immigration Team (Advice)

Student Immigration Team (Advice & Compliance)

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