Working in the UK

EEA citizens

If you are a citizen of a country in the European Economic Area you are allowed to work in the UK without a restriction on the number of hours or the type of work.

The only exception to this rule is that if you are from Croatia you will need to have a Yellow Registration Certificate (CR1) from the UK Home Office; this will allow you to work under the same conditions as non-EEA citizens. 

Non-EEA citizens  

UK Home Office advice:

If you are an international student and have a Tier 4 Student Visa, you may have this phrase on your Tier 4 visa/BRP card: ‘No recourse to public funds. Work (and any changes) must be authorised’. This means that you have permission to study full-time and do some part-time paid work in the UK.

If you are from outside the European Economic Area and have a Tier 4 student visa, you are not allowed to:

  • work for more than twenty hours per week during term time (for Masters or research-degree students, ‘term time’ includes the Christmas, Easter and Summer breaks and any extra time for writing-up or resubmission);
  • fill a full-time, permanent vacancy (except if you are on a recognised foundation programme or are a students’ union sabbatical officer);
  • be self-employed (see for guidance about this status);
  • be employed as a doctor in training, a professional sportsperson (including a sports coach), or
  • be employed an entertainer (this includes participation in public concerts and professional performances; you are not permitted to be paid for a performance, or to perform to a paying audience).

However, students who are enrolled on a study programme in music at RQF 6 or above (this means Bachelor Degree level or higher), are able to undertake work placements which involve professional performance outside the Academy where the performance has been arranged through the Academy and is an assessed part of the course - it is not permitted to arrange your own performances or accept direct bookings if you have a Tier 4 visa. If you have questions about this, please contact our External Bookings office in Room G8.

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

When you have finished your course at the Academy, there will be some time before the visa expiry date; your visa remains valid until that date or until you leave the UK. While the visa is valid, you can work without the 20-hour restriction, but the other restrictions are still active. 

You can visit the UKCISA website for information about other UK visas which are available after you have completed your studies:

Graduate Immigration Route: Summer 2021
The Graduate Immigration Route is a new visa which will be available to international students who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance and who have a valid Tier 4 visa at the time of application. The new route will be launched in the summer of 2021, meaning that any eligible student who graduates in the summer of 2021 or after will be able to apply for the route. Those whose Tier 4 leave expires before the route is introduced will not be eligible.
Successful applicants on this route will be able to stay and work, or look for work, in the UK at any skill level for a maximum period of two years. Graduates will be able to switch into skilled work once they have found a suitable job.
The graduate immigration route will require a new application and will include the payment of a visa fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge. The exact fee will be set out in due course. We will publish more details here when these become available from the Government.


Short study programmes

If you will be a non-EU student on a study programme of less than six months duration (for example, Exchange or part-Year-In) and you 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 taking 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 (that is the allowance for the 2019/20 tax year) you will not have to pay any tax. This is called a personal allowance. 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). The UK financial year (tax year) is from April 6th to April 5th.

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 have found a job you must apply for a NI number. You can do this at your local Jobcentre Plus Office: telephone 0845 600 0643 to arrange the interview time. At the interview you will need to prove your identity and your right to work in the UK: your passport with the student visa/ID card should be enough proof. Alternatively you can begin the application online through the UK Government website.

If you are a Bachelor Degree student and a European Union citizen, you do not need a National Insurance (NI) number for your tuition fee loan application. If you do not have an NI number you can leave the National Insurance number box blank in the loan application form.
However, if you get a job in the UK and are allocated an NI number, you should contact the Student Finance Company's European Team call centre on +44 (0)141 243 3570 to tell them the number.