EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

If you’re an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen, you can work in the UK with no a restriction on the number of hours or the type of work.

A new immigration system will apply to people arriving on or after 1 January 2021. Please check the UK government website for the most up-to-date information.

Non-EEA citizens

It’s important to check your visa or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) to see if you’re allowed to work. Many students with Tier 4 visas are permitted to work for up to 20 hours a week if studying at degree level.

However, if your visa says, ‘No work’ or ‘Employment prohibited’, you are not allowed to work.

If you are a Tier 4 student visa holder with permission to work, you can:

  • work for more than 20 hours per week during term time, and full-time during vacation periods (for Master’s or research-degree students, ‘term time’ includes the Christmas, Easter and summer breaks).
  • work as a performer, but only if the performance has been arranged through the Academy and is an assessed part of the course

You cannot:

  • claim benefits
  • work as a doctor or dentist in training
  • work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach
  • work as an entertainer (this includes performing in public concerts and professional performances, but see above)
  • fill a full-time, permanent vacancy
  • be self-employed

See for more details about the work you can and can’t do as a non-EEA international student. These rules apply even if you are not paid or are doing voluntary work.

Short study programmes

If you will be a non-EU student on a study programme of less than six months’ duration and wish to work in the UK, make sure that you enter the UK with a Tier 4 student visa, not a student visitor visa or short-term study visa, because those forbid you from undertaking any work in the UK.


International students pay the same tax as UK residents. If you earn less than £12,500 in one financial year (2019/20 tax year figures), you will not have to pay any tax.

Any paid work that you do at the Academy will be taxed, but you can claim a refund with the repayment claim form P50. You can find this on the website of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

National Insurance (NI) number

Everyone who works in the UK must pay National Insurance (NI) contributions. You do not need a number before you start working, but when you’ve found a job you must apply for a NI number. More information can be found here.

Working after your course

When you have finished your course at the Academy, there will be some time before the visa expiry date. While the visa is valid, the 20-hour restriction does not apply, but the other restrictions are still active.

Visit UKCISA for information about other UK visas that are available after you have completed your studies.