Working in the UK

Please see the information below regarding your ability to work in the UK both during and after your studies.

Am I allowed to work?

For immigration purposes, international students must show that they can pay their fees and living expenses without working and without claiming public funds (benefits).

If you have a Tier 4 (General) Student visa and you are studying at or above degree level, you are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week during term-time and full-time during holidays. If you have a short-term study visa you are not allowed to work. Please note, the Home Office defines 'week' as a period of 7 days starting on a Monday and ending on a Sunday.

Postgraduate students should also be aware that they may not be allowed to work unlimited hours during normal University holidays as their courses may not necessarily follow the usual Univeristy term dates.

If you are uncertain whether you are allowed to work, or would just like to check the rules, you can email us using the form to the right or below.

How do I find a part time job?

London Metropolitan University has a Careers and Employment Service which can help you find a part time job and enhance your employability. They can also assist you with any issues once you find a job. For more information visit London Met Careers Service.

Do I have to pay income tax?

It depends on how much money you earn. If you earn over the annual Personal Income Tax Allowance (currently £12500) you will need to pay tax on your earnings but students working part-time are unlikely to earn enough to have to pay tax. You can also claim tax back if you have paid it and haven’t earned over your personal allowance. Full details can be found here on the Government HMRC website and on the Gov.UK website.

Further information on working during your studies can be found on the UKCISA website.

Most international students would like to do some part-time work during term time not only to earn some extra money but also to build up some important skills and work experience for your CV.

As a Tier 4 Visa student studying a course that is at degree level or higher you will be permitted to work during your studies as follows:

  • up to 20 hours per week during term time (remember that the summer is considered term time if you are working on your dissertation). 
  • full time during official vacation periods when you are not studying on your course
  • you can take a work placement as an assessed part of your course
  • you can take up a sabbatical officer position at the Student Union for up to 2 years

Tier 4 Visa students studying a course below degree level are permitted to work as follows:

  • up to 10 hours per week during term time
  • full time during official vacation periods when you are not studying on your course
  • you can take a work placement as an assessed part of your course
  • you can take up a sabbatical officer position at the Students' Union for up to 2 years
  • Undergraduate students are allowed to work full-time during the winter vacation, spring vacation and the summer. There may be exceptions to this, such as if you started in January and not in September, you may be studying over the summer period. If you are not certain, please ensure to contact an adviser to confirm.
  • Master's students are allowed to work full-time during the winter and spring vacations, but are only allowed to work 20 hours per week during the summer as this is because you are expected to be working on your dissertation during this time. There may be an exception to this, such as if you started in January and not September. If you are not certain, please ensure to contact an adviser to confirm.
  • PhD students are expected to be working on their research throughout the year and therefore are considered to be in term-time all year round, except for the winter and spring vacations when you can work full-time. You may be entitled to some annual leave, which is also a time when you would be allowed to work full-time, however, this must be agreed in writing with your supervisor. If you are not certain, please ensure to contact an adviser to confirm.

For help with finding and applying for a job in the UK please contact the University Careers Service. They can support you not only with your long term career planning but also with applying for part time work.

The immigration rules state that there are some kinds of work you must not do:

  • self-employment and business activity
  • work as a professional sportsperson including as a sports coach*
  • entertainer
  • a permanent full-time job
  • doctor or dentist in training, unless you are on the foundation programme.

*On 10 January 2019, the Home Office amended the definition of what constitutes professional sportsperson, the full guidance of which you can find in paragraph 217, page 54 of the Tier 4 policy guidance. This applies to you if you are in possession of a Tier 4 visa, regardless of when you applied for it. Please read through this information carefully.

Upon reading the rules, you will note that the restriction prevents you from providing services as a sportsperson or coach at any level of sport, paid or unpaid, unless you do it as an “amateur” in a charity game. "Amateur" is a defined term and means a person who engages in sport solely for personal enjoyment and who is not seeking to derive a living from it, which includes payments made in kind, such as travel costs, accommodation or meals.

All employees pay National Insurance contributions and if you do want to work then you must apply for a National Insurance number.   The National Insurance Number (NINO) is a number unique to you to which will help your employer to pay your National Insurance contributions. No one else can use this number. 

Call Job Centre Plus on 0800 141 2075 to make an application for your NINO.  You can find further information on how to apply for your National Insurance number here on the Gov.UK website.

You do not need a National Insurance number to start work but you will need to get one once you have started a job. Your employer will give you a temporary number while you wait for your permanent number.

  • identify and explore your career options, including further study as well as full time and part time work
  • clarify your goals and provide you with support in achieving them
  • develop awareness of your skills, qualities and motivations and how to articulate these in applications and interviews
  • access resources and develop strategies to find part time and full time work, work experience and graduate opportunities
  • update your knowledge of labour market intelligence (LMI) including trends in the recruitment and selection procedures of a range of recruiters.

You can find more information about the rules on working while you are studying on the Home Office website.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs also publishes this useful information on Working in the UK during your studies.

If your employer requires more information about your right to work you can suggest that they call the Home Office Employer's helpline on 0300 123 4699

Please note that all employers are now required to check your actual term dates and therefore you will need to provide evidence of your term and vacation dates.

Although the Post Study Work visa route was closed in April 2012 there are several other possible options if you would like to apply to work in the UK after your studies including:

  • Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) allows PhD students to extend their Tier 4 visa in order to work in the UK for 12 months after their studies.If you do want to apply for the Doctorate Extension Scheme you will need a new CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) from the University. The CAS can be issued only if you are within 60 days of completing your PhD. The Doctorate Extension Scheme will allow you full unrestricted work rights, except for some limited professions such as doctors or dentists in training or sports persons (including coaches). To make an application for the DES please contact our International Advice Service on
  • Tier 2 (General) all recent graduates can apply to switch into this work visa route if you meet all of the eligibility criteria . You will need to obtain a Graduate Level job with an employer that has a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence. The register of licensed employers can be found on the website here. You must be earning a minimum salary stipulated in the rules depending on the occupation. You can check the actual minimum appropriate rates of pay on the Codes of Practice for Skilled Workers.
  • Start Up visa - If you have a really great, innovative, viable and scalable business idea and possess entrepreneurial skills then you may be able to apply for this visa. Students can apply to be endorsed by any of the Universities on the list of Endorsing Bodies. London Met is an Endorsing Body for this scheme for London Met students only. This visa is different from the other Entrepreneurial visas in that you don't need to have investment funds and is a one-off visa for two years allowing you to develop your business. 

In order to qualify, you need to have your business idea assessed and recommended for endorsement by the Accelerator, London Met's business incubator.  All London Met students can use the Accelerator to help them with their business ideas. The Accelerator offers a range of help, support, advice and events for those interested in going into business for themselves. If you’re a student of London Met, the Accelerator gives you the opportunity to discuss your business ideas with a professionally qualified business adviser. They also offer funding and office space, as well as run regular workshops and motivating talks designed to equip you with the knowledge and inspiration to take your ideas to the next level.Through the annual Business Plan Competition, they encourage London Met students to submit their ideas for the chance to gain a £5,000 top prize and put contestants through training that will set them on the path to achieving their business dream. They also have an array of connections into the business world and through networking at events you can connect with the people who are able to elevate you into business success.

Find out more about the Start Up visa application process at London Met here.

Come along to one of our Working in the UK After your studies Workshops

We carry out workshops once or twice a year.  Keep an eye out for an email inviting you to the next event.  

The workshops are delivered jointly by the international adviser and careers consultant and cover visa and immigration advice to help you understand how to make an application for a Tier 2 (General) visa and also provide information on other work related immigration categories for which you may be eligible. The Careers consultant will provide information on the UK job market and advise you on job search techniques so that you can find and apply for the graduate job you will need in order to be eligible for the Tier 2 visa.

For full details about all work options after you have completed your studies please see the UKCISA guide Working in the UK after your studies.

International Student Support

International Advice



To make an appointment, please email

Appointments by request

Telephone or video chats

Sponsor Compliance

Visa Compliance 



Learning Centre

236–250 Holloway Road
London N7 6PP

Room: LCM-04


chat loading...