Your Right to Work under Tier 4 (International Students)


Part-time and full-time work entitlements; work placement during course of study.


22 June 2011. Under the new rules, come into force in April 2011, the right to work while studying is reserved to students at universities and publicly funded further education colleges. All other students have no right to work.


What work am I allowed to do?

If you have been given leave to enter the United Kingdom as an adult student under Tier 4 (General), you have the following work entitlements:

• you can work part-time during term time;

• you can work full-time during vacations;

• you can do a work placement as part of your course;

• you can work as a postgraduate doctor or dentist on a recognised Foundation Programme; and

• you can work as a student union sabbatical officer for up to 2 years.

You can do this work without needing to seek approval from UKBA.

What kind of employment is allowed?

You can work full-time during vacations, but you may not fill a full-time permanent vacancy, except on a recognised Foundation Programme for postgraduate doctors or as a students' union sabbatical officer.

Additionally, the following categories of employment are not allowed:

• self-employment;
• employment as a doctor in training (except on a recognised Foundation Programme);
• employment as a professional sportsperson (including a sports coach); and
• employment as an entertainer.

What is the maximum amount of part time work I can do during term time?
The maximum amount of part-time work you can do during term time is:

20 hours per week if you are studying a course at or above UK degree level or a foundation degree course, and/or if you made your Tier 4 (General) application on or before 2 March 2010; or

10 hours per week if you are studying a course that is below UK degree level and is not a foundation degree course, and you made your Tier 4 (General) application on or after 3 March 2010

What if I applied to extend my stay or for leave under another Tier?

If you have completed your course and you applied to remain in the UK under the points-based system before your existing permission to stay expires, you can work full-time (within the above limits) until your application is decided.


Can I do a work placement as a part of my study?

Under Tier 4 (General), you can do a work placement as part of your course of study, provided that the work placement is an assessed part of the course and the course is:

• at degree level or above; or
• a foundation degree course; or
• provided by a Highly Trusted sponsor.

The work placement must be no more than 50% of the length of the course in the UK, unless there is a legal (statutory) requirement for the course to contain a specific period of work placement.

Example 1. You can study a 2-year Master's degree course involving 12 months' study with your education provider and a 12-month work placement.

Example 2. You can study for an NQF level 4 diploma involving 26 weeks' classroom learning (with a minimum of 15 hours' taught study per week) and a 26-week work placement arranged at the end of or at any time during the course.

Example 3. You can study for an NVQ level 3 qualification with a work placement run concurrently with the course: 15 hours' classroom study per week with your education provider, plus 15 hours' work placement.

If you are coming to the UK to do a 'study abroad' programme as part of a higher education course at an overseas higher education institution, you may do a work placement as part of the programme as long as it is no more than 50% of the length of your study in the UK.

Can I also work part-time in addition to my work placement?

Yes, any additional hours worked during the week may be allowed as part of your entitlement to work part-time during term-time, but these additional hours cannot be an assessed part of the course.

They cannot be arranged by your education provider, so you will need to arrange them directly with the employer.


As a as Tier 4 (General) migrant, you must pay income tax and National Insurance on your pay.

National Insurance helps to pay for state healthcare and pensions. If you are employed, your employer will take your tax and National Insurance contribution directly from your pay and send it to the government.

You should receive a pay slip that shows how much you have been paid and how much has been taken out for tax and National Insurance.

As an employee holding a Tier 4 (General) student visa what do I have a right to?

You have a right to:

• be treated fairly at work, regardless of your gender, race, nationality, sexuality, religion or any disability you have;

• be paid the same wage for a job, whether you are a man or a woman;

• join a trade union; and

• receive paid time off for medical care if you are pregnant and time off after the baby is born (this is known as maternity leave)


22 June 2011
Greenfields Solicitors

Edited by Federica Gaida


    For questions regarding the subject covered in this guide,
and post your question under the appropriate category (‘INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS). 

Greenfield Solicitors will answer them regularly.

  Disclaimer: The above article is meant to be relied upon as an informative article and in no way constitutes legal advice. Information is offered for general information purposes only, based on the current law when the information was first displayed on this website. 
You should always seek advice from an appropriately qualified solicitor on any specific legal enquiry. For legal advice regarding your case, please contact Greenfields Solicitors for a Consultation with a Solicitor on 020 8884 1166.  


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