International Students on Student visas

This information is for international students studying degrees that include a placement year only and is based on the full guidance of the UK Government. You should read this in addition to the 10 things you need to know about placements.

If you are an international student studying at Sheffield Hallam on a Student visa and you are looking to undertake a placement year, this page explains what you need to know about placements and your visa. 

Permission to work full-time during your placement year 

As an international student holding a Student visa, you are permitted to undertake a work placement as part of your full-time degree if you are enrolled on a sandwich course or a course with work experience. During your work placement you are able to work full-time and you are able to be paid for full-time work. This is different to any other year of your degree, as you are usually only able to work 20 hours per week during term-time and full-time during university defined vacations, please refer to your visa for details of your permissions. 

Student visa sponsorship 

The University is still your Student visa sponsor so it is important that you stay in contact and keep your contact details up-to-date and tell the University if anything changes by contacting the Work Experience Team.

Length of placement 

Your placement should not take up more than 50% of the total time that you spend on your course. For example, postgraduate students on a 2 year course are therefore only allowed to be on placement for the maximum of one calendar year. If you are on an undergraduate course, these are usually 4 year courses, which means you are able to work for longer during your placement year. 

Types of work you are not able to do whilst working on a Student visa 

The following types of job are not allowed under the conditions of your Student visa, therefore you must not apply for these types of job as you cannot: 

  • be employed as a professional sportsperson (including a sports coach)
  • be employed as an entertainer
  • be self-employed (please contact the Enterprise Team for alternative options)
  • engage in business activity (e.g. being employed by a company in which you hold shares of 10% or more, including where the shares are held in a trust for you; or working for a company where you also hold a statutory role, such as a director)
  • fill a full-time, permanent vacancy (your employment must always be ‘fixed-term’ and have a clear end date)

Working outside the UK

If you wish to do a placement overseas, Sheffield Hallam University will continue to sponsor you. You will need to seek immigration permission from the country where you will work, unless it is your home country. Please note it is your responsibility to apply for the relevant visa for the country you will be working in. The University is not able to apply for you. You must follow the same guidelines as if you were working in the UK and keep us informed of any changes. 

Inform the University about your placement before you start 

Once you have secured a placement you MUST get your placement approved by the University straight away, by contacting the Work Experience Team.

The Work Experience Team will start the approval process for your placement and ask you to complete this form on UniHub. The form will start by asking you to complete some Health & Safety questions and then it will ask you for information about your placement. When the Work Experience Team have this information, they will then be able to approve your placement. 

Once your placement has been approved, you will receive an ‘Authority To Start letter'. You MUST not start your placement before you have received your 'Authority To Start letter'. 

Once your placement has been approved, the University will inform the UK Visas and Immigration service (UKVI) to inform them about the placement and your visa will remain valid. You must continue to abide by the conditions of your visa. 

If you wish to change your placement and work for a different employer, you must not do this without first obtaining a new Authority to Start letter, by contacting the Work Experience Team to approve a new placement. 

Latest date to secure a placement

If you started your course in September as either an undergraduate or postgraduate student, you must secure a placement by 31 July. If you started your course in January, you must secure a placement by 30 November. There is more information on our 10 things you need to know about placements page, which will tell you more about what happens on these dates.  

You must tell the University that you have secured a placement to avoid a breach of your visa conditions. 

If you need additional time to secure a placement, this can be accommodated in exceptional circumstances but you must contact the Work Experience Team to ask when your latest date is. Late changes such as this are likely to cause problems, which is why you must secure a placement as early as possible. 

If you are a postgraduate student and you secure a placement after starting your dissertation but before your dissertation deadline, you will have until your dissertation deadline to secure a placement. In these circumstances you will be given a new dissertation deadline which will be a date after your placement is due to finish. This will need to be agreed by your course team. 

Breaks between study and placement; and/or breaks during placement

You should not usually have a break between your studies, working on your dissertation and starting your placement unless it is during an official university vacation period for your course. 

If, in exceptional circumstances, you need a break between your studies, working on your dissertation, starting your placement or during your placement for any reason you must notify Hallam Help urgently. You may be able to request an Authorised Absence for a short period without affecting your visa. 

If you need a longer break, you may need to suspend your studies and return at a later date. More information about your responsibilities as student on the University’s main Student visa page.

Monitoring during your placement 

Throughout your placement, the University will continue to monitor your attendance to see if you are still actively engaging in your studies/placement. The University is required to do this by UKVI. To do this, the University will send monthly emails to your employer to check if you attending your placement as normal. 

Please note that if you do not actively take part in your placement or you change your employer without informing University, this could have serious consequences to your Student visa. The University is obligated to report any breach of your conditions to UKVI. Failure to do so could result in your visa being curtailed. 

When placements should finish 

Your placement must finish before your course finishes, or before your final year begins. If you are on an undergraduate course, you will usually start your fourth (and final) year in September, which means your placement must have finished before your final year induction week. If you are on a postgraduate course, your placement is usually the last part of your course and this must finish before your course end date. If you do continue working on placement after your course end date, this will be a breach of your Student visa conditions. 

You may work full-time when your course is complete. Your course administrator can issue you an Employer Letter to provide to your employer which will allow you to work full-time only when your university record is complete and this will not count as your placement. To request an Employer Letter, please contact your course administrator directly, or contact Hallam Help

In the period after you finish your placement and before your course is complete you can work hours permitted during term only, as defined by the permissions on your visa. 

Additional questions

More information is available on the UK Government website.  

If you have any further questions about placements, please contact the Work Experience Team

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