Non-EEA citizens, or EU/EEA/Swiss citizens without Settled/Pre-Settled Status
It’s important to check your visa or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) to see if you’re allowed to work. Students with Tier 4 or Student 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 or Student Visa holder with permission to work, you can:
- work for up to 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. The performance must take place before the end of your course.
- 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 gov.uk/student-visa and the UKCISA website for more details about the work you can and can’t do as an 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-UK student on a study programme of less than six months’ duration and you wish to work in the UK, make sure that you enter the UK with a Student Visa. A Standard Visitor visa forbids you from undertaking any work in the UK.
International students pay the same tax as UK residents, and have the same Personal Allowance - that means if you earn less than £12,570 in one financial year (2022/23 tax year figures), you will not have to pay any income 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
If you wish to stay in the UK to work when you have finished your course at the Academy, there will be some time before your Tier 4 Visa or Student Visa expires.
While the visa is valid, the 20-hour work restriction does not apply, but the other restrictions are still active - for example, you cannot be self-employed, and please be aware that you cannot be an 'entertainer' (that is, you cannot perform) because a performance cannot be counted as part of your Academy course after the course has finished.
The UK Government has introduced a Graduate Route visa. If you apply for this, the student visa restrictions remain in place until the Graduate Route visa has been granted, this is usually 8 weeks after submitting the application.