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    Working in the UK during your studies

    The rules surrounding working in the UK while you are studying are complicated and will depend upon several conditions attached to your stay in the UK. Before looking for work, check that you have permission to do so, as working without permission could have serious consequences.
    When you are certain that you have permission to work you should also check the rules surrounding tax and National Insurance.

    You may also like to look at the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website as they also give detailed guidance on working in the UK while studying.

    Applying for a National Insurance number

    Once you start looking for a job, you can apply for a National Insurance Number.

    Your NI number is used as a reference number for the whole benefits and tax credits system. You are required to have an NI number before you can get a job in the UK.

    To apply please call 0845 6000 643. Click here for more information on National Insurance.

    Important: Middlesex University does not provide ‘work letters’ to confirm how many hours you are allowed to work. It is your responsibility to ensure you do not breach the conditions of your Tier 4 visa.

    You can request a ‘student status letter’ from UniHelp which will contain all necessary information to help your potential employer make a decision regarding your work hours.

    If your employer has any questions about your work conditions they would need to contact the Home Office.

    If you undertake any work that is not allowed or work more hours than you should, you will be considered in breach of your immigration conditions and this can have very serious consequences. If you are concerned that you may have broken the rules please contact International Student Advice team.

    • Information for students

      • Employment during your studies

        As a Tier 4 student, you are in the UK under the conditions of a student visa which affect the type of work you can undertake and how many hours you are permitted to work. You should remember that studying must be your main priority.

        You can find the permitted work hours written on your vignette (visa in your passport) or Biometric Residence Permit card and it is your responsibility to ensure you do not breach the conditions of your visa

        Please read carefully the employment restrictions that apply to Tier 4 students. Students on Tier 4 (General) visa must not:

        • fill a full-time permanent vacancy
        • be self-employed or engaged in a business activity
        • be employed as a doctor or dentist in training (unless on a recognised Foundation Programme)
        • be employed as a professional sportsperson or entertainer

        “Engagement in a business activity” is defined in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance (paragraphs 306, 307, 308 and 309) as ‘working for a business in which you have a financial or other significant beneficial interest in a capacity other than as an employee’. Below are several example of what the Home Office considers as engaging in a business activity. This is not an exhaustive list:

        • “Setting up a business as a sole trader or under a partnership arrangement and that business is either trading or establishing a trading presence;
        • being employed by a company in which you hold shares or 10% or more (including where the shares are held in trust for you); or
        • working for a company where you also hold a statutory role, such as a director.”
      • Work for more than one employer

        As a Tier 4 student, you can have multiple contracts, but during term-time must not work any more than 20 hours paid or unpaid work each week.  This means 20 hours in total rather than 20 hours per employer.

      • Voluntary work/Volunteering

        There is a legal distinction between volunteering and paid or unpaid work. However, the definitions are complex so to avoid any implication we recommend that volunteering should be considered in the same way as part-time work and students not to volunteer more than 20 hours in any seven-day period.

        In cases where you undertake volunteering and paid work during term time this should not exceed total of 20 hours between them.

      • Important Dates

        The number of hours you are allowed to work will depend on a number of factors e.g. time of the year, what course you study. Please note that term times and holidays for this academic year.

        See our Academic Calendar page for more information.

        Tier 4 students can work full time during vacation period at Christmas and Easter

      • Pre-sessional English Language and Foundation Students

        Where you are following a course of study below degree level, the following work is allowed:

        • Part-time during term time (no more than 10 hours per week which is defined by the Home Office as Monday to Sunday)
        • Full-time during vacations
      • Undergraduate Students (including exchange students)

        Where you are following a course of degree level study or above, the following work is allowed:

        • Part-time during term-time (no more than 20 hours per week which is defined by the Home Office as Monday to Sunday)
        • Full-time during vacations

        Note that if you have pending assessments over summer you are not entitled to work full time and only allowed 20 hours per week until the outcome of any outstanding assessment is reflected on your student account and confirmation to progress to next academic year.

      • Postgraduate Taught Students

        For Masters Students the University term dates are irrelevant and they are in term time until all elements of the programme have been completed and the programme has officially ended. This means that you are only entitled to work part time (up to 20 hours per week) until the course end date has passed.

        Note, that the dissertation period until official programme end date stated on the CAS is not vacation.  You are still expected to be academically engaged with writing dissertation at this point. Any full-time work completed during the dissertation period without permission is a breach of Tier 4 visa conditions.

        It is not possible to bring forward the course end date, even in the case that all elements of the course are completed and dissertation submitted before the official end date.

        The only exceptions to the above are the official dates when the University is closed, such as Christmas and Easter.

      • Postgraduate Research

        Term dates do not apply to Postgraduate Research Students. A PGR student is only entitled to work part time (up to 20 hours per week) until their course end date has passed. This will be from the date that your degree is officially awarded and not from the thesis submission date or viva date.

        The only exceptions are the official dates when the University closes, such as Christmas and Easter or during a period of Annual Leave taken as a 'vacation' (this is limited to 28 days per year). You will receive a letter confirming the dates of your annual leave and this should be presented to your potential employer.

        After the official course end date, a student can work full-time provided that it is not a permanent position.

      • Work Placement

        Tier 4 students are permitted to undertake a work placement as part of their degree programme providing all conditions below met and the work placement is:

        • an integral part of the course
        • assessed part of the course
        • where the course is at degree-level or above placement must not be more than 50%   of the length of the programme, unless it is a statutory (legal) requirement for the course to contain a specific period of work placement which exceeds this limit
        • student will remain enrolled at the University and will not take an interruption of studies

        Once a work placement has been approved for Tier 4 student Middlesex University is required to submit a report to the Home Office to inform them on the placement with exact start and end date and the postal address of the company

        Once such report is submitted you will gain ability to work full time during term time and maintain your Tier 4 visa.

        Unless the work placement notification is submitted to the UKVI outlining the details and timeframe of the placement, you cannot commence full time work. With no notification both Tier 4 student and the employer will be in breach of their responsibilities and Home Office can take action against them.

      • Information for Employers

        Middlesex University does not provide ‘work letters’ to confirm how many hours a student is allowed to work. It is the responsibility of an employer to ensure correct allocation of working hours.

        It might be useful to refer to Right to work guidance published by the Home Office.

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