Can I work during my studies?

You can find out more detailed information about working whilst studying in our How to Guide Working during your studies.

If you have a Tier 4 general visa and are studying at a higher education institution, then you should be able to work in the UK. You should check your current visa to confirm if you can work during your studies. Your work condition includes any paid work, unpaid work, voluntary work and internships.

How many hours can I work?

If your visa allows you to work then the immigration regulations state you can work:

  • During term-time:

– If you are studying a course at degree-level or above: up to 20 hours a week.

– If you are studying a course below degree-level (e.g. Extended degree): up to 10 hours a week.

  • During holiday/vacation periods: you can work full time if you are studying an Undergraduate course. If you are studying a Postgraduate degree, the usual holidays may not apply to you, please contact the International Advice team  for clarification. 

What is term-time?

Term-time and holiday/vacation times are defined by the University academic calendar and University key dates.

Not all courses conform to the published academic calendar so you should discuss your course obligations with your School. During term-time you will be attending classes and lectures, preparing for or sitting examinations, doing coursework or writing essays, a dissertation or thesis.

Undergraduate students and Postgraduate courses starting in January: The academic calendar for students enrolling in January includes a summer holiday between your taught semesters from June to September, during this time you can work full time in addition to the Easter and Christmas holiday.

Postgraduate students: Masters students are permitted to work full time during the Easter and Christmas holiday. You are expected to conduct research and collect data during the writing up period of your dissertation. You should not be working full time during this period.

If you are undertaking an integral and assessed work placement as part of your course you are permitted to work full time.

Postgraduate students (PhD): the usual term-time and holiday/vacation period will not apply to research students. You will need to agree your holiday with your Supervisor and the Research office. PhD students are entitled to four (4) weeks annual leave plus the university closure and bank holidays through the the year. 

Can I work full-time once my studies have ended?

You can work full-time up to the expiry date of your visa once your studies have ended but only up to a maximum of four months. Your course is usually considered to have ended once you have completed your final assessment item (e.g. exam, coursework, project/dissertation) and you are just waiting for your results. If you have immigration permission that is more than four months longer than your course you should:

  • Make a new immigration application if you intend to stay in the UK and are eligible,
  • Leave the UK after four months

What kind of work can I do?

You can do most kinds of work, but you must not:

  • be self-employed (this includes freelance work) 
  • be employed as a professional sportsperson including as a sports coach
  • be employed as an entertainer
  • take a permanent full-time job
  • work as a doctor or dentist in training, unless you are on the foundation programme.
  • You also should not accept 'cash in hand' for work.  

For further information on your entitlements to work please read the Home Office's Tier 4 Policy Guidance.  There is further useful information on the UKCISA website.

Applying for a National Insurance number (NINo)

This is a unique personal number which is used to record your National Insurance contributions. You will need to apply and have a National Insurance before you start work.  You can apply online and you will be asked to attend an appointment at a JobCentre Plus office.  You can find more information about National Insurance numbers on the GOV.UK website.

Do I need to pay tax?

You will need to pay National Insurance contributions if you earn more than the specified amount in a tax year you will be asked to pay income tax.  For further information please see the HM Revenues and Customs website.

Help finding work

You will find lots of part-time work available in London. You can also take advantage of our Employability service who can help you build your CV and find a suitable job. 

My Employer says I must prove I can work

You can show your employer your visa, which is usually in the form of a sticker in your passport or a separate Biometrics Residence Permit (BRP) card, as this will usually state whether you have permission to work in the UK (as described above). Your Employer can also check your right to work directly with the Home Office.

You can request a letter confirming your student status to show your employer from the Student Centre or alternatively, you can download and print the student status letter from the student portal which will confirm the term dates.  If you need to show your employer that your course has ended then you can also request a letter which states this.

Work placements during your course

If you hold a Tier 4 visa, you may be permitted to undertake a work placement as part of your course. This will allow you to work full-time outside the holiday/vacation period. In order to do so the following requirements need to be met:

  • You must be studying a course which is at degree level or above, and
  • The work placement must be an assessed and integral part of your course (check with your School to find out if your course can include a placement), and
  • The time you spend on the work placement must not exceed 50% of the total length of the course.
  • The University must inform the Home Office of the details before you start your placement/internship. You must not start working until we have informed the Home Office.

It is important that you liaise with your School to clarify what is required of you to meet the academic requirements. It is also important for you to liaise with the Employability team before you start your work placement so that all relevant paperwork can be completed to ensure compliance with Health and Safety.

Students' Union Sabbatical Officers

Students' Union sabbatical officers are paid, elected executive union positions. The term "sabbatical officer" also includes those elected to posts with the National Union of Students (NUS). Each year, LSBU students elects full-time student representatives to lead the LSBU Students’ Union. They take a year out of their studies or after they finish their degree to work full-time for the Union for a year. Students also elect a number of part-time officers and representatives who take on their students’ union roles alongside their studies.

If you have a Tier 4 General visa and you are elected to one of the full-time roles then the Tier 4 General visa conditions allow you undertake this as a full-time paid position. If you undertake this role after you have completed your studies then you can apply to extend your Tier 4 General visa.

Your visa will state that you are restricted to working 20 hours a week in term time. This refers to employment you can undertake in addition to your full-time hours of work as a sabbatical officer. If you are elected to do a part-time role then you must ensure that you do not exceed the 20 hours a week in term time.

Doctorate Extension Scheme

If you are a student completing a PhD at LSBU you can apply to stay in the UK for a further 12 months after your course completion date. The Home Office has introduced the Doctorate Extension Scheme which allows students nearing the completion of a PhD to apply to extend their Tier 4 (General) visa to look for and start work in the UK. If you are given permission to stay under the Doctorate Extension Scheme you will have full unrestricted work rights, except for some limited professions such as doctors or dentists in training or sportspersons (including coaches). LSBU will continue to sponsor your visa during this time so you will be required to regularly update the University on your status throughout the 12 month period.

Who can apply?

To be eligible to apply:

How can I apply?

To register your interest in applying for the scheme please contact Immigration and International Student Advice team. Please also refer to our How to Guide Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) for more information on the scheme, the requirements and the conditions of applying.

Things you will need to do:


Your Tier 4 conditions apply while you are studying. You must also keep in contact and regularly update the University on your status throughout the 12 month period.

Please read our guide Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) for more information and answers to Frequently Asked Questions.  

Start-Up Visa

The University is a Start-up authorised endorsing body which means we can issue endorsements to enable students to apply for the Start-Up visa. In order for us to endorse you, you will need to follow the LSBU process of endorsement and meet the UKVI and LSBU criteria

LSBU provides support for 24 months to those who are successful in securing endorsement for the Start-Up visa, which includes office space, access to networks and workshops. This support is led by the Student Enterprise team. You can find more information on the International Graduate Support page.

This visa option have the following UKVI criteria in addition to the criteria set by LSBU.




You must demonstrate that you have a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or create competitive advantage.

Applicants must have the necessary skills to successfully run the business.

Demonstrate that the idea has the potential of job creation and growth into national and international markets.

If you think you have a business idea that meets the above criteria and you are interested in the scheme then you should first contact the Immigration and International Student Advice team

Application Deadline Time
23/11/2020  9 AM
15/03/2021   9 AM
02/08/2021   9 AM

You can also find more detailed information about the visa application in our How to Guide Start-up Visa.

Tier 2 General

If you want to work in the UK after your studies then the main visa route for doing so is Tier 2 General. In order to switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2 in the UK you must meet the following requirements:


Advantages to switching in the UK from Tier 4

If you are switching from a valid Tier 4 visa within the UK, the following concessions currently apply:

  • Employers are exempt from having to carry out the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT), which requires a job to be advertised in a particular way and for sponsors to demonstrate that there are no suitable settled workers to fill the post.
  • The issuing of the CoS is not subject to the national annual limit and so does not require prior approval from UK Visas and Immigration. Therefore, you are likely to have the CoS issued to you within a shorter time frame.
  • Employers are exempt from paying the Immigration Skills Charge.

You can also find more detailed information on the Home Office website.

Tier 5 Temporary Worker

This visa category allows you to undertake specific types of work in the UK under various schemes for a period of one year or for two years, depending on the scheme. You must have a Tier 5 sponsor under the scheme of relevance to you. Your Tier 5 sponsor must issue a certificate of sponsorship to you before you can make your immigration application. You should check the Home Office website for more information about the various different Tier 5 schemes and a list of Tier 5 sponsors.

You will need to show that you have enough money for living costs and in most cases you will need to apply from your home country. However, if you are applying for the Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange scheme then you can switch into this from inside the UK if you meet the following requirements:

  • You have a student visa,
  • You obtained a UK recognised degree within your most recent grant of leave,
  • You are being sponsored under Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) and you are being sponsored to undertake postgraduate professional training or work experience which is required to obtain a professional qualification or registration in the same professional field as your qualification; or are being sponsored to undertake an internship for up to 12 months which is directly related to the qualification,
  • Your employer does not intend to employ you in the UK once your training or work experience for which you are being sponsored has ended.

For more information you should visit the Home Office website.

Further information

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