Working in the UK >

Government work directives allow all full-time students to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week in part time employment, and full-time during study vacations with one exception. Students on Visitor Visas cannot work at all.

You do not have to seek permission for this type of work, although it must be remembered that when entering the country you cannot include these earnings in showing you have sufficient funds for your study period. Immigration Officials may ask for proof that you have sufficient funds without having to seek employment.

Your husband or wife will be given a visa or passport stamp that allows them to work if you were given permission to stay in the UK for twelve months or more. Students studying for 6 months or less should note that the rules governing work are different and that you should make it known at Immigration if you intend to seek part-time employment during your stay.

If you are a non-EEA national you will find one of two restrictions stamped on your passport. The first one is "the holder is not to enter employment, paid or unpaid, without the consent of the Secretary of State for Employment and is not to engage in any business or profession without the consent of the Secretary of State for the Home Office". This means that, in theory you can apply for approval to take a part-time or holiday job.

The second endorsement you may have stamped on your passport is "the holder is not to enter employment, paid or unpaid, or engage in any business or profession" this means that you cannot take up employment under any circumstances.

The only students who should be issued with this second prohibition are;

  • Students on courses lasting less than 6 months (in which case they are classified as visitors, not students)
  • Students on longer courses who arrive with insufficient documentation. In these cases the Prohibition indicates that they have not been allowed into the country as students. However the 6-month expiry on the Prohibition stamp does not mean that their situation can be corrected when it is time for the stamp to be renewed or in the intervening period.

In conclusion, no student on a bona fide course lasting more than 6 months should have a Prohibition in their passports. Prohibition stamps are only issued for a maximum period of 6 months; it would not therefore be possible for a student on a course lasting for longer than this to be given a Prohibition stamp covering the entire period of their study in the UK.

Although the two types of stamps in students' passports remain unchanged, International students no longer need clearance from a Jobcentre before taking vacation or out-of-study work. The formal and technical position is that students still need permission to work, but that the Secretary of State has given blanket permission for all affected students to work, subject to the specified conditions, so that individual permission is no longer necessary. The specified conditions remain unchanged:

  • The student should not work for more than 20 hours a week in term time except where the placement is a necessary part of their studies with the agreement of the education institution
  • The student should not engage in business, self employment or the provision of services as a professional sports person or entertainer the student should not pursue a career by filling a permanent full time vacancy
  • Study Abroad/Exchange students or students studying for less than 6 months must inform immigration when entering the country if they plan to seek part-time work otherwise they will not be permitted to work while in the country.
  • Sandwich course students from overseas will no longer need a work permit for their work placements.
  • International students will be able to take part time work organised and in the gift of the School. Earnings from such can be taken into account when applying for 'leave to enter or remain', this being particularly aimed at research students.
  • Students can use Jobcentres to look for and apply for jobs. If a student finds an employer reluctant to employ without a work permit, a Jobcentre can issue an explanatory note detailing the changes in the law.

However, it is important that students do not rely on the possibility of finding part-time work to fund their studies and living expenses. You may still be asked at immigration to provide financial evidence that you can support yourself for the full period of your course and you may not be allowed past immigration if you cannot do this. Please remember also, that any breach in any of the working conditions could result in prosecution under the Immigration Act and deportation from the country.

Taxation

The position on tax and national insurance remains unchanged, in that, International students (and their spouses) will automatically be subject to the same taxation rules that apply to UK residents.

Everyone can earn or receive a certain amount of income in each tax year (6 April to 5 April following year) before paying tax. This is called the personal allowance and if your income is below this figure in the tax year, you will not have to pay any tax. For more information please visit the HM Revenue and Customs.

If you think this may be the case, you should complete form P38(S) handing it back to your employer to complete. Your employers should then pay you without deducting tax. You can claim a tax refund if you think you did not have to pay tax by completing form P50 which can be obtained from your local Tax Office - contact details of this office can be found in the local telephone book under, ' Inland Revenue'.