STUDENT VISA HOLDERS RIGHT TO WORK IN THE UK

Employment conditions for UK student visa holders are dependent on the type of sponsor education provider the individual is studying at and the level of course they are studying.

The key source of information on the amount of hours a foreign Student can work in the UK and the type of employment that is permitted are in the Immigration Rules, Appendix Student. Further below we outline the foreign Students' employment rights in the UK.

It is important that employers and their HR teams are fully versed with the rules and carry out the right to work checks before the start of employment. From 2024 penalties for employing migrants in breach of the rules are due to triple.

IF STUDYING FULL-TIME DEGREE LEVEL COURSE (OR ABOVE) AT HIGHER EDUCATION PROVIDER (HEP)

If a Student is studying full-time degree level course (or above) at a higher education provider (HEP) with a track record of compliance OR at an overseas higher education institution and the student is on a short-term study abroad programme in the UK, then the following work is permitted:

  • part-time during termtime (up to a maximum of 20 hours a week)

  • full-time during vacations, including the period before the course starts

  • on a work placement as part of the course

  • full-time as a postgraduate doctor or dentist on a recognised foundation programme when permission has been – granted for this course type

  • as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer for up to 2 years when permission has been granted for this purpose.

IF STUDYING FULL-TIME COURSE BELOW DEGREE LEVEL AT A HIGHER EDUCATION PROVIDER (HEP)

If a foreign Student is studying full-time below degree level course at a higher education provider (HEP) with a track record of compliance, then the following work is permitted:

  • part-time during termtime (up to a maximum of 10 hours a week)

  • full-time during vacations, including the period before the course starts

  • on a work placement as part of the course

  • as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer for up to 2 years.

IF STUDY FULL-TIME AT A SPONSOR THAT IS NOT A HIGHER EDUCATION PROVIDER (HEP)

If a Student is studying full-time at sponsor that is NOT a higher education provider (HEP) with a track record of compliance and not an overseas higher education institution sponsoring a study abroad student, then the following work is permitted:

  • on a work placement as part of the course (but only if the sponsor has Student sponsor status)

  • as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer for up to 2 years.

IF STUDY PART-TIME AT POST-DEGREE LEVEL AT A HIGHER EDUCATION PROVIDER (HEP)

For those who study part-time at post-degree level at a Higher education provider (HEP) with a track record of compliance, NO work is allowed including work placements as part of the applicant's course.

STUDENTS WHO ARE ALLOWED TO WORK ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS

Students who are allowed to work in the UK must not do the following:

  • fill a full-time permanent vacancy other than a recognised foundation programme and all other requirements are met or where they are filling a post as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer.

  • take employment as an entertainer or as a professional sportsperson, including a sports coach

  • be self-employed or engage in business activity, except where they are awaiting a decision on an application for permission to stay as a Start-up migrant which is supported by an endorsement from a qualifying HEP with a track record of compliance.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.