Working as an International student
Working as an International student
The conditions of a Student visa dictate that you 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
- Be employed as a professional sportsperson or entertainer
* “Engagement in a business activity” is defined in the Student Visa Policy Guidance (page 93) as ‘they are working for a business in which they have a financial or other significant beneficial interest in a capacity other than as an employee.
How many hours can you work?
Where you are following a course of degree level study or above, excluding a foundation degree, the following work is usually allowed - Always check your Visa Vignette or BRP card first in case there is an error on it:
- Part-time during term-time, that is, no more than 20 hours per week, which is defined by the Home Office as Monday to Sunday
- Full-time before the course start date and after the course end date on your CAS
- Full-time during vacations (out of term)
- Full time on a work placement provided that it is an assessed part of the course and is not more than 50% of the total length of the course
Where you are following a course of study below degree level, including a foundation degree, the following work is usually allowed - Always check your Visa Vignette or BRP card first in case there is an error on it:
- Part-time during term time, that is, no more than 10 hours per week which is defined by the Home Office as Monday to Sunday
- Full-time during vacations
- Full time on a work placement as an assessed part of a course
Please note: The UKVI calculates working hours from Monday to Sunday hence you have to make sure that you do not exceed 20 hours within Monday to Sunday. The 20 hours limit is for all work you under take (regardless of multiple employers) all the work should not exceed over 20 hours.
Working illegally is classed as a criminal offence.
The student visa holder may be sent to prison for up to 6 months, fined up to £5,000, liable to be deported and banned from returning to the UK for up to 10 years.
Employers who knowingly allow the student visa holders to work over their total restricted hours permitted also attract criminal sanctions for the employer and place themselves at risk of heavy fines of up to £20,000 per illegal worker, as well as putting their Sponsor Licence, if held, at risk - sponsor licences can be downgraded or even removed, depending on the severity of the breach.
You will need an ‘NI’ number if you are undertaking any kind of work in the UK. To apply you should telephone 0800 141 2075. Your personal details will be taken and the application forms will be posted to you.
Income tax and NI contributions are automatically deducted from your pay once you reach a minimum level of earnings in the UK.
The 2020/21 tax free allowance for somebody born after 5 April 1948 is £12,570. If you earn below this level then you do not need to pay income tax or National Insurance. If you only work during university vacations and do not expect to earn more than the annual tax free allowance then you can complete a form so that your employer will not deduct income tax.
How do I open a bank account?
All the major UK banks have branches in High Wycombe. Different banks offer different benefits and services to international students so it is advisable to check your options before making a choice. Most students open a current account which provides a visa debit card, which can be used to make payment in shops and online as well as take money from cash points.
You may need to book an appointment to make your application depending on how busy the bank is at the time you visit. This is particularly likely at the beginning of the academic year.
To open an account, you will need to take your passport, UK visa and a letter from the University which you should request with the Student Hub located in N1.02 on Campus.