Working in The UK

Am I Allowed to Work?

On arrival in to the UK, you should receive a stamp on your visa that states that you are only allowed to work with some restrictions. International students studying at degree level on Tier 4 visas are allowed to work 20 hours per week during the term and full time during holidays. This drops to 10 hours per week for those studying below degree level at higher education institutions, although full time work in holidays is still allowed. In addition to this, international students are allowed to take part in work placements as a requirement of degree fulfilment.


How do I Find a Part-Time Job?

The hospitality and retail industries are traditionally the biggest employers of students due to their varying hours and need for casual employees. If you have purchased a bike you may also be able to obtain courier or delivery work. Your institution’s career centre, or online jobs board, may have several roles specifically for students. Some bars, shops and cafés may advertise positions in their windows. Flyering and promotional work may also be available, particularly during summer. Find jobs online at Student Beans, E4S and StudentJob.


How do I Write a Curriculum Vitae (CV)?

The basics of a CV include your contact details, previous work history and, for students and recent graduates, details about your education. Keep it as concise as possible and get somebody to proofread it for you. Include at least one reference; this should be a previous employer or someone who knows your work or study ethic. Speak to a friendly tutor if you need someone to be a reference for you. Your CV and cover letter should be customised for a particular role; don’t use the same generic versions for all jobs.


How can I Volunteer?

Volunteering will provide you with a vast range of soft skills, improve your communication skills, allow you to make professional connections and integrate more with your new community. Your university’s student union is the best place to start your search, as are university societies – there are often lots associated with major charities or other volunteering projects, which can sometimes be oversubscribed. Volunteering through your university can be a great way to start. However, off-campus volunteering may help you learn more about the local community and also learn about British customs. The experience gained through volunteering can be of great advantage when you apply for a professional role. Check out Do It, Volunteering Matters, the NCVO or Team London (if you’re based in London!).


What About Internships and Work Experience?

Gaining experience relevant to your course of study is beneficial as you transition into a professional career. Whether this career is in the UK or overseas, completing an internship while studying is a uniquely valuable opportunity. Check with your learning institution for an internship or work experience placement. You will often gain skills directly related to your career and learn how to operate within a professional environment. You can also search for internships that are relevant to your intended career path through Student Jobs, Target Jobs, Prospects, Internships UK, Internwise or through the site (though you’ll need to be an EU citizen to apply to these).


What is a National Insurance Number?

Your National Insurance Number is a unique personal identifier that is used for tax and employment purposes. Everybody that works in the UK must have a National Insurance Number. You can only apply for a National Insurance Number once you arrive in the UK. If you can prove you are legally permitted to work, by showing the stamp on your visa, then you can start work before receiving your National Insurance Number. However, you will need to apply for one immediately and provide it to your employer as soon as you receive it. It is free to apply and upon acceptance you will be issued with a National Insurance Card with you number on it. Some applicants may have to attend an interview first and they will receive a letter upon application. If you earn above £155 a week you will have to pay a National Insurance Contribution that will be automatically deducted from your pay. You may be able to arrange a refund for some of this amount upon your departure from the UK.