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Working part-time during your studies

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Working part-time during your studies

Working part time during your studies, or in vacation periods, can be a great way to get to know other people and boost your skills as well as earning extra money. However, before you take any employment in the UK, you should always check if you have permission to work in the UK.

The following information is relevant for students who hold a Student Visa. If you are in the UK with a different type of visa (not a Student Visa), check carefully which work conditions apply to you. Please contact an International Experience adviser to discuss your situation if you are not sure about your right to work in the UK.

 

Does your visa allow you to work in the UK?

You can check if you are permitted to work in the UK by firstly looking at what is written on your Student Visa. If you are studying at degree level, you should find that the visa states that you are permitted to work a maximum of 20 hours per week during term time.

If you are studying below degree level (for example if you are studying a foundation programme), you should find that you are restricted to working a maximum of 10 hours per week during term time.

If your visa states any of the following phrases this means that you are not permitted to work in the UK:

• No work
• Work prohibited

If your visa does permit you to work in the UK, you must not work more than the number of hours per week you are allowed, as this would be a breach of your immigration conditions and a criminal offence.

If you have doubts about your right to work in the UK, the permitted hours, or if visa says something unusual or something that you don't understand, contact an International Experience adviser to discuss. It is very important that you check your permission to work and the permitted hours before you do any work in the UK. If you breach the working conditions of your visa, even by accident, both you and your employer could be subject to a substantial fine and prosecution.

 

Definition of a week

UKVI define a week as a period of 7 days starting with a Monday. During this period, you must not work more than the maximum hours per week allowed by your visa. This weekly limit includes paid work and unpaid work.

 

Definition of term time

Term time means any period of time when you are expected to do any academic work. For example;

• Attending classes and lectures
• Writing essays, dissertations or a thesis
• Preparing for and taking exams
• Doing coursework

The following tables will help you identify when you can and cannot work, according to your level of study (and subject to your visa conditions).

Undergraduate students

Vacation Work you are permitted to do
Christmas and Easter vacation You can work full time
Summer vacation You can work full time, provided you are not undertaking any re-sits over this period.

NB: If you started your programme in January, please check your summer vacation dates as these may vary slightly from students who commence study in September.

Postgraduate taught students (Masters)

Vacation Work you are permitted to do 
Christmas and Easter vacation You can work full time
Summer vacation Only 20 hours per week maximum is permitted because you will be required to work on your dissertation or work on course-related projects or engage in autonomous study/research.

Postgraduate research students (MPhil/PhD)

Vacation Work you are permitted to do 
Christmas and Easter vacation Only 20 hours per week maximum is permitted
Summer vacation Only 20 hours per week maximum is permitted
Writing up and corrections period Only 20 hours per week maximum is permitted

 

Employer letters

The University does not provide individual letters for employers for term time and Christmas or Easter vacation work. To provide evidence to an employer of the hours you can work during these periods you should download the standard letter (PDF, 141.4KB) and a Confirmation of Enrolment from My Student Record (MSR) and give both to your employer.

This will provide your employer with confirmation that you are currently enrolled at the university and information about the hours you can work.

If you wish to work full time during the summer vacation or at the end of your course when you have completed your award this will depend on your individual circumstances. You should request an employer letter from Immigration-Operations@shu.ac.uk. Your eligibility to work on a fulltime basis will be checked to ensure that you are not undertaking your dissertation and that you don’t have any reassessments.

Term dates

Refer to the academic calendars for dates of vacation and academic terms.

Undergraduate academic calendar

Postgraduate academic calendar

 

Work that is not permitted

There are some restrictions on the type of work you can do with a Student Visa. You are not allowed to engage in any of the following types of employment:

• Self-employment and business activity (unless you have made an application under the 'Start-Up' visa route)
• Professional Sportsperson or a Professional Sports Coach (unless this is through an approved placement as part of your degree programme)
• Entertainer (musician/comedian/theatre performances etc)

You are also not allowed to fill a permanent, full-time vacancy so any work you do must be part-time and/or on a contract or fixed-term basis.

For more information regarding international students working in the UK, please refer to the UK Council for International Student Affairs.

If you are unsure, please contact an International Experience adviser before undertaking any work.

 

Voluntary / unpaid work and volunteering

Unpaid work (also sometimes known as voluntary work) counts in exactly the same way as paid work. Therefore, any unpaid / voluntary work counts towards your weekly maximum hours. However, volunteering does not count in this way.

It is important to understand the difference between volunteering and unpaid / voluntary work. In both scenarios you will not be paid for your time, but reasonable expenses can be reimbursed.

• Volunteers do not generally have a contract and will usually be helping a charity or public sector organisation

Working after completing your studies

Students with a Student Visa who have completed their studies may work in the UK, but this is subject to certain conditions. You must be sure you have checked this before working more than your weekly maximum.

If you work more than 10/20 hours per week before the end of your programme, you risk serious consequences.

You should not work more than 10/20 per week until you have received your results and it is confirmed that you have gained your award and do not have any reassessments.

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