UK Tier 4 Student Visa – Can I work whilst I am on the Tier 4 Student visa?

Can I work as a Tier 4 (General) Student visa?

The following information applies to applicants that have submitted their application on or after 4 July 2011.

Whilst you’re on a Tier 4 (General) student visa,

if you are on a course at or above NQF 6/QCF 6/SCQF 9 at a UK higher education institution, or a short-term study abroad degree programme at an overseas higher education institution, you are allowed to:

  • work for up to 20 hours per week during term time;
  • work full-time during vacations;
  • do a work placement as part of your course;
  • work as a postgraduate doctor or dentist on a recognised Foundation Programme; and
  • work as a student union sabbatical officer for up to 2 years.

If you are on a course below this level at a UK higher education institution, you are allowed to:

  • work for up to 10 hours per week during term time;
  • work full-time during vacations;
  • do a work placement as part of your course; and
  • work as a student union sabbatical officer for up to 2 years.

If you are on a course at any level at a publicly funded further education college, you are allowed to

  • work for up to 10 hours per week during term time;
  • work full-time during vacations;
  • do a work placement as part of your course, provided your education provider is a Highly Trusted sponsor or the course is at or above NQF 6/QCF 6/SCQF 9; and
  • work as a student union sabbatical officer for up to 2 years.

You can do this work without needing to seek UKBA’s approval.

You are not allowed to work in the UK if you are on a course at any level with an education provider that is not a UK higher education institution or a publicly funded further education college (unless you are on a short-term study abroad degree programme at an overseas higher education institution).

If you are allowed to work, the work you do must not fill a full-time permanent vacancy (other than on a recognised Foundation Programme), and you must not be self-employed, employed as a doctor in training (except on a recognised Foundation Programme) or as a professional sportsperson, coach or entertainer.

If you are allowed to work, you can work full-time during vacations within the above limits. If you have completed your course and you apply to remain in the UK under the points-based system before your existing permission to stay expires, you can work full-time (within the above limits) until your application is decided.

Workplacements that are part of your course

Under Tier 4 (General), you can do a work placement as part of your course of study, provided that the work placement is an assessed part of the course and the course is:

  • at degree level or above; or
  • a foundation degree course (but only if your confirmation of acceptance for studies was assigned before 21 April 2011); or
  • provided by a Highly Trusted sponsor.

If your course involves a work placement, your education provider will be responsible for you throughout the work placement.

In certain circumstances, you may be able to do a work placement as part of your course, providing it is an assessed part of your course. We will decide if you can do a work placement together with the amount of time you can spend on the work placement. This will depend on the level of your course and where you are studying.

If you are doing a course at NQF level 6 or above, with a recognised body, higher education institution or as part of a study abroad programme, any work placement you take must be no more than 50 per cent of the length of the course in the UK, unless there is a legal requirement for a longer period of work placement.

Example 1. You can study a 2-year Master’s degree course involving 12 months’ study with your education provider and a 12-month work placement.

If your course is at NQF level 5 or below with an highly trusted sponsor, or if you are studying a course at any level with a sponsor that is not an higher education institution, any work placement you take must be no more than 33 per cent of the length of your course in the UK unless there is a legal requirement for a longer period of work placement.

Example 1. You can study for an NQF level 4 diploma involving 20 weeks’ classroom learning (with a minimum of 15 hours’ taught study each week) and a 10 week work placement arranged at the end of or at any time during the course.

Example 2. You can study for an NVQ level 3 qualification with a work placement run concurrently with the course: 20 hours’ classroom study each week with your education provider, plus 10hours’ work placement.

If you are coming to the UK for a ‘study abroad’ programme as part of a higher education course at an overseas higher education institution, you may do a work placement as part of the programme – but it must be no more than 50 per cent of the length of your study in the UK.

The text above is an adaptation of the contents on the UKBA website as at 24 August 2012.

Remember, UK immigration law is complex and subject to continuous change. The information provided here may be out of date, or just based on personal experience/knowledge. The use of these pages is therefore entirely at your own risk. Before applying for any type of visas, you should always seek information from the authorities direct via their official websites. You will find some useful website details on our Links page.

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