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Working in the UK

Working in the UK

To work in the UK you will need to apply for a National Insurance number  

For EU nationals and Swiss nationals are able to work in the UK with no restrictions during your study. 

Non- EEA nationals have some limitations.


Information for Non EEA Nationals (Student Visa/Tier 4 visa students) 


During Studies  

 Your BRP will indicate how many hours you are able to work whilst you are studying.   

For degree level students on a Student Visa or Tier 4 visa you should be allowed to work up to 20 hours during term time. Term time is determine by the academic calendar

 You are able to work full time during vacation periods. These students should be aware that: 

Masters students: you can only work 20 hours during the summer period (the summer period is when you should be doing your dissertation so does not count as a vacation period) 

PhD students: as you work throughout the year, term time dates do not apply to you. You should be entitled to 8 week's annual leave and you can work during your annual leave periods. 

There are also certain types of work you are not allowed to do. You can find this on the UKCISA website


After studies 

Your Student Visa orTier 4 student visa is likely to continue for up to 4 months after your course end date. Your end date will be as follows:

End dates
 Undergraduate students  The end of the summer term as specified in the Academic Calendar
 Postgraduate Taught Master's students  The course end date listed on your CAS
 PhD students  The award date of your PhD (as confirmed by the Research Degrees team)

Upon reaching your course end date, you can start working full-time up until your visa expiry date, for a maximum period of 4 months. Its therefore important that before you reach your visa expiry date/the 4 month period after your course end date, you apply to switch into another immigration category or otherwise leave the UK.

During this 4 month period you may have the option to switch to another visa which permits you to work in the UK after your Student Visa or Tier 4 visa expires.


Impact of COVID-19 and working after studies


If I’m an international student on a Tier 4 visa, who has returned home (or to a tertiary country), am I still able to return to the UK to undertake an internship or graduate role I have already been offered?

If you have previously been offered a place on an internship/graduate scheme, we advise you to communicate with your employer around whether the recruitment is still happening as previously planned. We are aware that some employment may no longer be taking place this year, and therefore we advise you that before planning to return solely for work, you should discuss with your employer whether your position will still be available under current circumstances.

You may prepare to return upon your employers confirming your position is still available. However, please be aware that this is a fast-changing situation and we strongly advise you to double check with your employers before your departure.

If your employer confirms that your position is still going ahead and you travel back to the UK during the end of the validity period of your Tier 4 visa, we would recommend that you carry in your hand luggage proof of your job offer – this could include a contract + start date, your Certificate of Sponsorship to allow you to switch into a Tier 2 visa, as well as confirmation from your employer’s HR that your employment is still going ahead as planned.

If I’m an international student on a Tier 4 visa, who has returned home (or to a tertiary country), am I still able to return to the UK to undertake a job search this summer, but where I don’t currently have a guaranteed job offer and thus a commitment to a Tier 2 visa?

We do not advise students to return to the UK solely for job hunting on a Tier 4 visa if you have completed all of your studies and after your programme end date, as this could be deemed as non-study related and therefore not what a Tier 4 visa is granted for. 

If at the point you want to come back for job hunting, you will have completed all assessments overseas and had no more academic activities to take but only plan to return to the UK in the summer for job hunting, please be aware that you bear your own risk. You may be queried over your intentions at the border. The Border Force Officer can choose not to grant your entry if they assess that your purpose of re-entering is not study-related at all.

I’m being asked by my employer to defer my start for a year – I have an offer, but no contract and by starting next year I will no longer possess the Tier 4 visa in order to be converted to a Tier 2 (and be exempted from the RLMT) – therefore surely by deferring I am effectively losing the contract?

If you have held a firm offer to start a graduate scheme bur now the opportunity is closed due to the pandemic, you may want to query if any alternative arrangements or concessions from UKVI might be available with your employer (their HR and/or law department).

You can raise the point to your employer that if you defer the offer, your current Tier 4 visa will then expire before you can switch to a Tier 2 visa from inside the UK. This means you will not be able to benefit from the exemption on RLMT and unrestricted CoS which you would have had otherwise. Unfortunately, King’s are not able to advise on such issues in depth regarding Tier 2 visa category. For any further queries, students may need to seek external legal advice.  


Start up visa

Tier 2

Tier 5

Graduate Route


Advice guide on working in the UK 


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