Advice for international students

Working in the UK enables you to gain valuable skills and understand more about the working culture and environment.

If you are an international student, the process for applying for work may be quite different from your home country and there may be rules that apply to you if you wish to work either during your studies or after you graduate. Ensure you have read the following pages to give you a better understanding of the requirements and the opportunities available to you.  

Students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)

If you are an international student from outside the EEA, and have a student visa that allows you to take up employment, you should be able to:

  • Work for up to 20 hours during term time
  • Work any number of hours during vacations
  • Take a placement as part of a sandwich course or an internship, provided certain conditions are fulfilled

If you're studying in the UK for more than six months, you will usually have permission to work up to 20 hours per week during term time and up to 40 hours in the vacation period.

More details are available in the section 'working during your studies' on the UKCISA website.

If you have questions about working on your student visa, please contact the International Student Support Officer in the Student Gateway or the Welfare and Education Centre in the DSU.

Students from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland

No permission is required to work in the UK and there are no restrictions on the amount of time you can work. If you are student from the following:

  • Czech Republic
  • Latvia
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Estonia
  • Lithuania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

You no longer need to register to work under the Worker Registration Scheme and you are free to take up employment without being subject to any special requirements.

If you are a national of Bulgaria or Romania you are no longer subject to the Worker Authorisation Scheme, and are free to take up employment without being subject to any special requirements.

If you are a Croatian national, you might be subject to the Worker Authorisation Scheme. If you are in the UK as a student, this means you might have to apply for a registration certificate as a student before you can start work. You can find more information about this from the UK Council for International Student Affairs and from the Home Office website.

What is a National Insurance number

Employers and employees in the UK have to pay National Insurance (NI) contributions, which fund UK state benefits (such as the State Pension, for example). Your employer should deduct National Insurance contributions from your earnings whenever you earn above a certain level (currently £139 per week).

National Insurance numbers are issued by the UK Department for Work and Pensions. A NI number is your own personal reference number for the UK tax system - knowing your NI number should help to make sure that you pay the correct amount of tax. You do not need to have a NI number before starting work, although many employers prefer students to already have a NI number, and once you get a job you will need to have one.

How do I get a National Insurance number?

You can apply for an NI number by telephoning 0345 600 0643, between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. When you telephone, you will usually be asked to provide personal details, including your passport or visa number, your date of arrival in the UK and a full UK address, including your postcode. So it's a good idea to have this information ready when you call.

If you have a Tier 4 student visa, you will normally be able to complete your application by post. Students might sometimes be asked to attend a short appointment at a Job Centre in another city (usually Coventry or Nottingham); EU students will usually be asked to attend an appointment like this as a matter of course.

Contact| to find out more.

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