Are you allowed to work?
Your immigration conditions determine whether you are allowed to work while you are in the UK. You can check either your passport sticker or residence permit to identify this. If it says 'No work' or 'Work prohibited' then you must not work. This includes unpaid work and work placements that are a part of your course.
How much work can you do?
If you are allowed to work, you will normally be limited to 10 or 20 hours of work each week during term-time. The number of hours you can work might be written on your passport sticker or residence permit. If not, you can find out how many hours you can work on the UKCISA website.
Outside term time, you'll be able to work full time.
What kinds of work aren't allowed?
Even if you are allowed to work, you are not allowed to:
- Be self-employed
- Work as a professional sportsperson or coach
- Work as an entertainer
- Take a permanent full-time job
- Work as a trainee doctor or dentist, except as part of the foundation programme.
Balancing work and study
- It is not realistic to plan to study successfully and at the same time earn all the money you'll need. Don't take on more hours of work than you can cope with. Find out how many lectures and hours of study you will have to do per week. Then you can work out how much paid work you will be able to do, and when you can do it
- Be careful about working in your final year as you will have to study more. Save money to prepare for this
Finding a job
There will be lots of students looking for jobs, so be patient as it may take time! Some tips for finding a job:
- Ask in your university job shop or speak to student services or the students' union.
- Visit your university's careers service for help with finding work, improving your CV and building your skills.
- Register with local employment agencies. You may be asked for an interview or to do tests to assess your computer skills. You will need to take your CV (or send by email). When you have registered, they will contact you when they find suitable jobs
- Look out for adverts on noticeboards around college or on campus and in local shops
- Use the internet
- Ask around - other students and contacts can help
Benefits of employment
It's not just about the money! You can gain a lot from all different types of jobs, for example;
- Gaining skills for your future career and making contacts
- Meeting people and improving your English (especially understanding local accents)
- Learning about everyday life in the UK and about different work practices
The Minimum wage
The UK has a minimum wage policy which means all employers must pay you at least:
- 16-17 years old - £3.79 per hour
- 18-21 years old - £5.13 per hour
- 22 years or older - £6.50 per hour
Getting a National Insurance (NI) Number
Your National Insurance Number is a unique personal number which is used to record your National Insurance (NI) Contributions. Employees and employers both pay NI Contributions, which help to fund contributory benefits, for example, the state pension and jobseeker's allowance. You do not need to have this number before starting work, but you must obtain one when you get a job. Make an appointment at a local Job Centre to apply for your NI number. They will ask you for some personal details and to see your passport. Find out more about National Insurance numbers.
Paying Tax while you are working and studying
You will be liable to pay tax and National Insurance Contributions on your earnings. How much you pay depends on how much you earn. However there is a set amount of money that you can earn per year which is not taxed. This is called your 'Personal Allowance'. If your earnings are more than this, you'll have to pay tax on the difference. If your circumstances change and you pay too much, you can claim this back. For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/student-jobs-paying-tax