International students can work in the UK if they are on a student visa. Also, you can work if you graduate and apply for a Post-Study Work Permit visa. If you are in the UK on a visitor or short-term visa, work is not allowed at any time, including unpaid positions and volunteering.
Once your student visa is approved, you will receive a biometric residence permit (BRP) card in your decision letter, which will outline the type of work you are allowed to do.
Working During Studies:
- Undergraduate and Taught postgraduate students are allowed to work full-time outside their university term time especially during the Christmas, Easter and summer holidays.
- During term time, when lessons are taking place, they are allowed to work up to 20 hours each week.
- Full-time during term time if on a work placement that is an integral and assessed part of the course. Work placement must not be longer than 50% of the total course length (unless there is a UK statutory requirement for the course to contain a specific period of work placement which exceeds this limit.)
Student visa students can only work on a temporary basis. They cannot be employed on a permanent contract. They cannot be self-employed or set up a business, or employed as a professional sportsperson or as an entertainer.
Working After Studies:
The UK government established the Post-Study Work Permit (PSW) program in recognition of the enormous value that foreign graduates contribute to the nation. This program enables qualified students to stay and work in the UK for up to 2 years after they graduate in order to get professional experience and participate in the labor force of the country.
- Successful applicants are allowed to work full-time or look for work in any sector at any level and will be able to switch into skilled work once they find a suitable job and meet the requirements. The two year period will be non-extendable.
- Graduates who secure a job during the two-year visa period may become eligible to switch to another work visa category or explore avenues for permanent residency, such as the Skilled Worker Visa or the Innovator Visa.
To make the most of their prospects during the two-year visa period, graduates must be proactive in their employment hunt. To facilitate a seamless transition from student to employee, it is also essential to stay up to date with visa requirements and compliance standards.