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Work and Study in UK for Indian Students


The cost of living and studying in the UK can be a little on the higher side if you don’t plan your expenses wisely. As an Indian student studying in the UK, it is possible that you might want to supplement your financial requirements by working while you study in the UK. In addition to this, working alongside your studies is an excellent way to gain experience and skills for your career. A lot of international students (including Indian students) in UK do part-time work while some do an internship or work placement as part of their curriculum. But before you take up any work assignments, ensure that you satisfy the following conditions:

  • Can you work while you study in the UK?

Whether you can work or not while studying abroad depends on the type of visa you have. As per the new immigration rules in UK that came into force on 4 July 2011, affects applicants under Tier 4. This rule is applicable to students from the Non-European economic area (EEA); Indian students fall under this category. The conditions laid down above are applicable if you are pursuing your course from a recognized body, a institution that receives public funding as higher education institution in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland or any publically funded further education college. Also, whether you can work depends on where you study. You are not permitted to work in UK if you are pursuing any course, i.e. undergraduate, post-graduate or PhD, with a private institution which is not a higher education institution in UK or public funded further education college. On the other hand, if your private college is a recognized body, you may be allowed work.

  • How many hours are you allowed to work per week?

Usually, you are allowed to work while you are studying if you are in UK on a Tier 4 (General) or student visa. You are advised to check the passport stamp/sticker on your entry clearance/ residence permit – if it says “Work”(and any changes) must be authorized” or “Able to work as authorized by the secretary of State”, you are allowed to work alongside your studies.

      • If your programme is degree-level or above, i.e. Bachelor’s or Master’s or research degree, you are permitted to work a minimum of 20 hours per week during the term-time.
      • If your programme is below degree-level, e.g. Diploma or certificate course, you are permitted to work a maximum of 10 hours every week during term-time.

However, you are permitted to work full-time during holidays. Students should note that ‘term-time’ is your actual classroom period including lectures, preparation for examination or doing course work. Holidays are usually around Christmas and Easter and vacations after completion of examinations.

If you a student visitor in UK, you are not allowed to work, i.e. paid/unpaid employment or work placements.

  • What kind of work are you allowed to do?

International students can do most kind of jobs but there are few exceptions. Students:

      • Must not be self-employed
      • Must not be working as a professional sportsperson or give sports coaching
      • Not allowed to take up full time permanent vacancy
      • Must not be a performing artist.

However, in case you are required to undertake any internship or work placement which may involve performance then it must be assessed part of your curriculum, e.g. music and dance courses.

You can also go for volunteering roles as a great way to gain new skills and improve your CV. Students should ensure that their emigration status allows taking up positions-even unpaid positions.

  • Finding work

Sometimes, as part of your syllabus you might be required to work. In such cases, usually the college or university arranges placements for you. You can reach out to your university employment center that can help you increase your employability, gain new skills and experience. Typically students can work part-time in a café, bar, stores, call center or clerical work. But you may also find jobs depending on the skills and expertise. You can find jobs by registering with the local recruitment agency, in local newspapers, on notice boards at the university, jobs on website or simply approaching the employer directly. Since the job market is generally competitive, it is advisable to organize such work as soon as possible. During holidays, you may want to do a job that will provide you with experience in your field of study.

  • National Insurance Number

Also, before you start working there are other requirements which you will have to fulfill. In UK, employees and employers have to pay National insurance contributions (funds for state benefits such as pensions and health benefits). In UK, you will need National Insurance number (NINo) to be able to work. You can apply for National insurance number by calling 0845 600 0643 to fix an appointment. You will have to fill out a form by providing all relevant details such as personal details, passport number, visa, address etc.

You can start working before you receive National insurance number.

If you earn more than a specified personal allowance, you will have to pay income tax.

Working alongside studies might help with your additional expenses but you should not depend on the part-time work as a means to pay your tuition fees. Finding a balance between work and study is essential. Don’t try to work for long hours. This may leave you tired and affect your studies – you need time to rest and relax too! Students should be careful not to exceed the maximum, lest to want to risk you continuing studies.


“Working during your studies”, — more/Working-during-your-studies/
“Can I work?”, — more/Working-during-your-studies/Can-I-work/
“What kind of work can I do?”, — more/Working-during-your-studies/What-kind-of-work-can-I-do/
“How many hours a week can I work?”, — more/Working-during-your-studies/How-many-hours-a-week-can-I-work/
“Conditions of your stay”,

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About Reeja Elizabeth Varghese

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