Student work

Last modified: 05 January 2024

Working in the UK as a student can be a rewarding experience. It’s important to understand and comply with your immigration rights and restrictions and any limits to working that your institution might have.

Most students aged 16 or over can work, even if it is only a course-related work placement. It is a great opportunity to make some extra money, meet new people, enhance your career prospects and experience working life in the UK. 

Work rights are a condition of your immigration permission, so it’s very important that you are clear about what you may and may not do. You must always follow any restrictions and ensure that your work does not affect the progress on your course.

If you’ve already been granted permission, check your work restrictions on your biometric residence permit (BRP) and find out more about working hours.

Can I work in the UK?

Last modified: 05 January 2024

Many, but not all, Students and Child students can work. This depends on the type of Student sponsor you have. You can find what type of Student sponsor you have and their sponsor status in the ‘sponsor type’ and ‘status’ columns in the register of Student sponsors.

When you have found your college or university, find out if you can work and what your maximum working hours are, based on the Student sponsor’s type including:

  • Student sponsor with a track record.
  • Overseas higher education institution.
  • Independent school.
  • Any other student sponsor.

Always check the information on your immigration document. If it says, "No work", you must not work. If you think this is a mistake, you must get it corrected before you take any employment. . You can find further details in these Home Office publications:

This change makes no difference to your work rights and restrictions.  

If you do not have Student permission, you can find further information about work rights for other immigration permission categories on Alternatively, find out more about your right to work as a dependant on our website.

Student sponsor with a track record

Overseas higher education institution

Independent school

Any other student sponsor

Working hours

Last modified: 05 January 2024

If you have permission to work, working hours in term time must not exceed 10 or 20 hours a week, and you can work full time outside term time. However, it is important that you check any limits on work that your university, college or school imposes or recommends and that you do not exceed them. 

A ‘week’ means any seven-day period starting on a Monday. You are responsible for ensuring that you do not exceed your weekly working hours, so it’s essential to keep detailed records of your working hours. This is especially important if you work irregular hours or if you have more than one employer (inside or outside the UK) because employers may not know about work you do elsewhere.

‘Term time’ means the period when your Student sponsor expects you to be studying. ‘Outside term time’ means any other time. For example, the period before your course starts and after it ends, and vacations. You can usually find term dates on your institution's website or in your course information. If you can’t find details of your course term dates on the website or information is contradictory, ask your Student sponsor for confirmation before starting full-time work to avoid breaching your work condition, even if it is by accident.

If you are a research student, you should ask your faculty, department or supervisor about how term time is defined for you – some institutions permit full-time work during agreed holidays or after submission of your viva, others do not. You must provide information about your term time to your employer.

Working hours and pay

Your pay and your working hours are separate. This means that you can work during a time when you get holiday pay for a different job. This is because only your hours actively working are counted. Make sure to check that your contract allows you to work for another employer.

For example, you have a job in a shop for 20 hours a week. When you are not working in the shop, because you are on leave and you are getting holiday pay, you can work up to 20 hours a week in term time on a short-term contract as a school assistant. Your hours of work must not exceed 20 a week. But you can get holiday pay at the same time as pay for your school assistant work.

The same principle applies to any extra money your employer pays you. Examples include but are not limited to: back pay, income tax credit after emergency tax, bonus payments, reimbursed expenses, increments for a retrospective pay increase. Extra money you receive for these reasons does not affect the number of hours you have worked or are working.

The UK government has more information about holiday pay on their website.

Work placements and internships

Last modified: 05 January 2024

Work placements and internships are an excellent way of getting work experience, which can help you make career decisions and apply for jobs after your course.

You can usually do a work placement as part of your course even if you are not permitted to take employment. 

If you need help finding a work placement or internship, talk to your tutor or careers service.

What is a work placement or internship?

Work placements outside the UK

Can I change my decision to do or not do a work placement?


What kind of work can you do?

Last modified: 05 January 2024

If you can work during your studies, you can apply for and accept jobs in most types of paid role, at any level. You are not restricted to working on campus.

The Home Office might question your working hours if you earn more than most students. This could be around £15,000 a year. There are no limits on what you may earn or on your hours of work in vacations and after study. But make sure you never exceed the limit on your weekly working hours in term time. It is important that you do not let work interfere with making progress on your course.

Our blog looks at many types of work, and whether you can do them as a student.


Volunteering and unpaid work

Work you must not do