International Students: Working While Studying
22 March 2018
Working part-time during your studies is a great way to supplement your student budget while learning valuable life skills. However, there are restrictions and rules on working in the UK as a student that you need to know. Here, we offer advice on working hours and pay, and list helpful resources where you can look for work.
Working part-time during your studies is a great way to supplement your income while learning new skills, meeting new people and gaining valuable experience in working in a foreign country. Sure, working as a student isn’t for everyone, and balancing a work, study and social life can be demanding, but it will also give you invaluable life experience – and for many people, that’s what being a student is all about.
In this guide, we look at the ins and outs of working part-time as an international student, including restrictions on working hours, what documents you’ll need when applying for work, and some of the best places to start finding a job.
Working Restrictions and Documentation
Before you start applying for jobs, you need to make sure your student visa permits you to work in the UK on a part-time basis. For most international students living in the UK on a Tier 4 sponsored visa, the maximum number of hours you’re entitled to work in a single week is 20. Though this might not sound like a lot, 20 hours is around the maximum amount of time that is recommended that students work while studying, to ensure that the main focus is still on their degree.
As you begin your job search, make sure you look for positions which are designated as ‘term-time only’, and check the definition of this carefully in the small print. During the holidays, you may want to go home to visit family, so you need a position that allows that freedom and flexibility.
When it comes to applying for jobs, attending interviews or accepting employment, you’ll need to provide the employer with some documentation. Most employers will need to see the following before your contract can start:
- Your passport
- Your Tier 4 student visa, clarifying your right to work a maximum of 20 hours in the UK
- Your National Insurance number (or NI number). You’ll need to apply for this by calling 0845 600 0643 and arranging an appointment at your local Jobcentre Plus.
Remember – before you accept a job, think about the risks and rewards. If, for instance, you’re only going to be on minimum wage, your salary may not be high enough to justify interrupting your study time. Think carefully about your options and be realistic about how much time you can responsibly spend away from your studies.
How to Find Part-Time Work in the UK as an International Student
Finding a job as an international student is by no means easy, particularly if English isn’t your first language. With a huge pool of cash-strapped students all vying for similar positions on and around the campus, things can be very competitive. But that’s not to say it’s impossible, and here we offer our top tips on the best places to look for work.
- University careers and job page – Most UK universities have job listings, including both full-time and part-time positions on and off campus. The great thing about finding a job on a university site is that it’s almost guaranteed to be term-time only, with employers specifically targeting the student talent pool.
- UK job sites – There is a massive variety of job listing sites in the UK, and trawling through the listings can be a little overwhelming. The great thing about sites such as Indeed and Reed, however, is that they let you really filter the results, so you can find just what you’re looking for.
- Hand out your CV – The traditional way of looking for work is still an effective tool in your job search arsenal. Print off a handful of copies of your CV and hand them out to local businesses. Many smaller businesses want to keep things informal, and don’t post all openings online, so it often pays to speak to them in person.
Working While Studying in Dublin
If you are preparing to study in Dublin, it is worth noting that certain employment laws may be different in Ireland.
International Student Guide
>Go to Before You Arrive
>Go to What to Expect on Arrival
>Go to Organising Your University Life
>Go to Staying Safe and Healthy
>Go to Settling In and Meeting People
>Go to Shopping as a Student
>Go to British Culture
>Go to Studying in Ireland