Who can work?
Many international students are allowed to work whilst studying in the UK, however, there are certain restrictions on the type of work that you can do. Working in breach of your visa conditions is a criminal offence.
National Insurance, Tax and the Minimum Wage
As an international student, you are required to pay National Insurance (NI) contributions if you work in the UK. You may already have a National Insurance (NI) number printed on the back of your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). You don’t need to reapply for a National Insurance number if you already have one, or one is printed on your BRP.
If you don’t have a National Insurance number, you must apply for one online once you’re in the UK https://www.gov.uk/apply-national-insurance-number You must have the right to work or study in the UK to get a National Insurance number. You can apply for an NI number whilst you are looking for work. You can even start work without an NI number, but once you have started work, if you don’t already have one, then make sure that you apply straightaway. However, to work for the University, you will be required to show your NI number as part of the Student Application pack.
You may also be required to pay income tax. There is a Personal Allowance (PA) for workers, which means that your earnings are not taxed until you exceed your Personal Allowance threshold. This means that you will become liable to pay income tax once your earnings go over your PA.
There are different rates of minimum wage according to age. You should not be paid at any rate lower than those rates, as this is a legal requirement for employers.
For more information on National Insurance, tax and the minimum wage, please see https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Information--Advice/Working/Employers-income-tax-National-Insurance
How to prove your right to work
The University is unable to provide a letter confirming your eligibility to work in the UK - it is the employer’s responsibility to carry out a right-to-work check for you.
The Home Office expects all employers to conduct ‘Right to Work’ checks and to keep a record of the evidence which proves that their employees can work. The employer is required to obtain and retain evidence of your academic term and vacation dates. These dates are available from our website https://www.herts.ac.uk/study/term-and-semester-dates
If your employer has any concerns about eligibility to work, they can contact the Home Office: www.gov.uk/legal-right-work-uk
From 6 April 2022 employers will not be able to accept biometric residence cards or permits and will ask applicants for a share code. If you have a valid BRP card you can check your right to work and share it with your employer: https://www.gov.uk/prove-right-to-work. More information for employers on how to conduct these checks has been published by the government and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/check-job-applicant-right-to-work
Remember – it is a requirement of your employer to conduct a Right to Work Check, including whether you can work full-time hours during vacation periods. If you are not sure when your term-time is, please obtain confirmation of this from your Programme Leader.
Working for the University & Students' Union