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.
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.
University of Hertfordshire working hours
The University has its own restrictions on how many hours students can work, regardless of whether your visa/BRP states 20/10 hours. See ‘Working for the University of Hertfordshire’. Contact the Human Resources (HR) team to discuss how many hours you are permitted to work as a student sponsored by the University – email@example.com
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. It is therefore important that you know when your term time is, as this is different for every student. For students employed at UH, you cannot work full-time (max of 37 hours per week) until Ask Herts has confirmed to HR that you have successfully passed all modules and no referrals/deferrals are due.
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, however these may not apply for all undergraduate courses or for Master’s or PhD students: https://www.herts.ac.uk/study/term-and-semester-dates
For Master’s students, Christmas and Easter are usually the only vacation periods in each year of registration. If you are only completing your dissertation/project, your working hours are still restricted because working on your dissertation is classed as term time study. You are still expected to be studying in the UK and not from overseas whilst undertaking your project.
Masters students who started their programmes in January may be entitled to a summer vacation period, but you must check with your Programme Leader first as vacation times vary between courses. For students employed by UH, please first contact the HR Team – firstname.lastname@example.org .
Students who are re-sitting are not permitted to work full time during the summer vacation period until all exams/resits are completed and the exam board has confirmed a successful result.
Students with referred/deferred modules, exams or project also cannot work full-time until they have completed their studies and the exam board has confirmed a successful result.
Research students (Master’s by Research/MPhil/ PhD) are considered to be studying throughout the year (52-week term), so should not exceed their working hours restriction at any point. If you need to take vacation, please contact the Doctoral College team to discuss before taking any leave.
What type of work can I do?
The type of work you can do on a Student visa is subject to certain restrictions.
- Part-time employment that is paid or unpaid
- 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
- 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.
- 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.