Working during your studies

As a visa sponsored student, you can work during your studies (which is different to a work placement). However, there are restrictions on the types of work that you can undertake and the amount of weekly hours you may work.

Is there any work that I cannot do?

You can do most types of work with a Student visa but you must not:

  • hold a permanent job
  • be self-employed or engage with business activity
  • be employed as a professional sportsperson including as a sports coach
  • be employed as an entertainer
  • work as a doctor or dentist in training unless you are on the foundation programme

For extensive guidance, please view the UKCISA webpages.

How many hours can I work?

Your Student visa should should have a condition allowing the following hours of work per week during term time:

  • degree level students: 20 hours per week
  • below degree level students: 10 hours per week

You must only work up to the maximum number of hours as stated on your visa. This is across any and all part time jobs. You cannot exceed the hours in any week or average the hours out over several weeks. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) considers a working week in this context to run from Monday to Sunday.

If your visa shows a different number of hours per week than stated above or states 'no work' this could be an error. Please notify the Student Immigration Compliance Team and see an advisor at the Kent Union Advice Centre who can check your visa and, if appropriate, help you report the error to UKVI.

What is the definition of term time?

University term dates are published online. If you want to work more hours during vacation time, you must be aware of the vacation periods related to your course.

  • Below degree level students: your term time will depend on the course you are studying
  • Undergraduate students: you will have three terms with vacations at Christmas, Easter and in the summer
  • Postgraduate Taught (Masters) students: you will have vacations at Christmas and Easter only (this depends on your start date and length of course)
  • Postgraduate Research and PhD students: you do not have standard vacations and are expected to be engaged with your study for the duration of your registration as a research student. You may only work part time and you should not take annual leave just so you can work full time.

For more information please see our Frequently Asked Questions.

How to prove your right to work out of term time

To demonstrate your right to work outside of term time you can use your BRP or Digital status (sharecode) plus a status letter. Our team does not provide bespoke letters. 

How to get a status letter 

Working when you have intermitted, withdrawn or are resitting out of attendance

If you are intermitting, re-sitting out of attendance, due to submit coursework or you have withdrawn, you are in term time until you have fulfilled all academic responsibilities. This is the case even if your course completion date on KV is in the past. 

You must stop working as soon as your visa is curtailed. If you continue to work after you have received the curtailment letter from UKVI, you will be in breach of your immigration conditions which can have serious consequences for your UK immigration history such as:

  • refusal of immigration applications
  • removal from the UK
  • being banned from returning to the UK for a certain period.

You will receive a notification from the Student Immigration Compliance Team that we have reported the withdrawal to UKVI. You will usually have up to 60 days within which to leave the UK from the day of our report, however the UKVI may issue immediate curtailment in some circumstances.

Work placements

Working during your studies is different to undertaking a work placement.

As a Student visa holder you are permitted to undertake a course with a work placement as long as it is:

Before your placement year you will be working with your Division to secure a work placement. Please consult your Division regarding deadlines for securing a placement.

What happens if I secure a placement?

If you are successful in securing a placement, you or your Division must inform our team.

The University will inform UKVI of:

  • your employer's name and address; and
  • the dates you will be on placement.

What happens if I can't secure a placement?

If you are unable to secure a placement, you need to tell your Division, who will complete a Change of Circumstance request to drop the placement year. We must report this change to UKVI and you will receive an email confirmation once it has been processed.

Please consult the Kent Union Advice Centre if you have any questions about work placements and your visa conditions.  

What happens if my course doesn't have a placement/internship component?

If you are not registered on a course that has a work placement/internship component, you may only work a paid or unpaid internship in the UK that you have found on your own outside of term time (during a vacation period).

During my work placement

During your work placement you must keep your Division and the Student Immigration Compliance Team informed of any changes to your position, address, or if the placement is ends early.

Further information

UK government guidance

For more information on internships and volunteering, please see the UKCISA guidance.

Seek immigration advice from the Kent Union Advice Centre.

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