The number of international students in the UK has risen rapidly over the last decade. In 2020-21, an impressive 519,000 international students were studying at tertiary institutions in the UK. That's more than double the number of foreign-born individuals studying in the UK just 10 years ago. One of the reasons the UK is such a popular study abroad destination is the enhanced graduate employability you earn withthrough a UK degree. And if you’re a student looking to get that head start, getting some work experience while studying is usually part of your priorities. To get you going, we’re running down everything you need to know about student work opportunities in the UK! Read on to learn more about some of the best job opportunities for international students in the UK.
Exploring Job Opportunities for International Students in the UK
Some of the world's greatest universities are located in the UK. The country is also one of the most popular destinations for international students looking to study abroad, with over 165,000 international students enrolling in UK institutions in 2021 alone.
The benefits of learning in the UK go beyond just getting an excellent education! With the right permissions on your Student visa, you can access opportunities to work while you study and get some valuable experience in one of the world’s economic, financial, and business powerhouses.
We rounded up some of the best job opportunities for international students in the UK in this article. Consider the options and the qualifications required to help you find the perfect job!
Requirements for International Students to Work in the UK
You must meet specific requirements to work part-time in the UK as an international student:
- Enroll in a full-time course provided by an appropriate Higher Education Provider (HEP)
- Be older than 16
- Be studying at undergraduate level or higher,
- Enrol in a course that is full-time for at least 20 weeks per academic year
As an international student, you can legally work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during vacation periods. Working over this limit is illegal and can jeopardise your Student visa status - so be mindful when tracking work hours!
Finding a Job in the UK
How do you obtain a job in the UK? You have a few resources to explore.
Use Your University Resources
UK institutions hosting international students often offer career support ready to assist you! These centres are familiar with assisting local and overseas students with their job search and can guide you through the do's and don'ts. You could also inquire about interacting with graduates and alumni in your field for advice. Career counsellors can also connect you with career fairs, recruiters, and interview coaches.
Build a Network
Approximately 70% of jobs are obtained through contacts, whether through your classmates, flat-mates, professors, colleagues, or elsewhere. Attend conferences and seminars held at your university for your field of interest. Sign up for clubs and societies aligning with your career plans.
You can find friends with similar interests and hobbies as well as mentors who are professionals in those fields. It's a great way to build networks. Your lecturers are also a great source for networking, as experts in their respective areas. Approach them for their advice on how you can build a career out of your education, qualifications, and interests.
Look for part-time jobs that interest you on job sites like CV-Library or Adzuna. These websites frequently feature firms looking for new employees. Job boards can help you filter down your preferred work opportunities by location, pay range, and field you want to work in. You can also search for “international students” to find recruiters who are specifically hiring individuals like you! Also, look into social media sites. Community posts from smaller businesses or people in your online networks could alert you to job openings for students. You may be able to uncover a large amount of information from the university community regarding part-time possibilities.
Part-Time Jobs in the UK with the Best Pay
Part-time jobs are available in various industries, from restaurants and shops to offices in the UK. They can be a great way to earn extra money while you study or prepare for your exams. Many part-time jobs come with benefits such as childcare vouchers, health insurance, etc. These jobs are flexible and won't hamper your education. They will allow you to work around them when necessary! Here are some of the best job opportunities for international students in the UK:
|Top Part-Time Jobs in the UK
|Average Salary in the UK (GBP)
|Student Support Assistant
|£11.70 per hour
| £6-14 per hour
|Computer Labs Assistant
|£12-15 per hour
|Campus Tour Guide
|£10-15 per hour
|£7-9 per hour
|£12 per hour
|£16 per hour
|£7-11 per hour
|£12 per hour
|£6-9 per hour
1. Student Support Assistant
The Student Support Assistant (SSA) is the initial point of contact for students, who manages day-to-day inquiries for on-campus students. This role involves supporting students with matters such as housing queries and tuition fee payments. It could also include helping them with academic tasks such as coursework or exam preparation. The department you work for will specify the requirements of your role.
For example, if you’re working for the international office of the administrative wing, you’ll likely be supporting other international students in renewing their visas and so on.
If you’re working for on-campus accommodation, checking new students in, orienting them to their rooms and facilities, following up on maintenance requests, etc. will be part of your responsibility.
High-quality, consistent student support requires effective time management, good communication skills, and flexibility. The average pay is £22,815 per year or £11.70 per hour. If you like working in an office environment and interacting with people, this will suit your needs perfectly!
2. Library Assistant
If books and research are your passion, you can apply for the library assistant position. Libraries are crucial for university students to look for information and materials or to study in peace. Given the size and volume of resources in a university library, library assistants are essential in ensuring that these resources are secure and organized.
A library assistant must do all essential jobs while remaining calm under pressure. You will have the opportunity to contribute to preserving history and information, while making the lives of students, professors, and others relying on these resources easier.
Alongside making sure everything is in its right place, you may have to give library tours to students, conduct demonstrations on how to use the library's resources and systems, and maintain a quiet, peaceful, and conducive-for-work environment in the library.
A library assistant position can also help your social skills as you will get to know the people who regularly visit the library as well as learning to handle day-to-day visits and inquiries. If someone is working on a research project, notifying them of the new book they were waiting for may make you someone’s personal hero. It is all about offering value to each and every library user.
Library assistants typically work part-time for at least two hours per week (or more). In general, salaries range from £6 to £14 per hour, depending on skills and location.
3. Computer Labs Assistant
If you're a computer science student who wants to spend more time with computers and programming, this may be the job for you. Computer lab assistants are responsible for assisting students with technical support. The pay scale is based on your skill level. It generally ranges from £12-15 per hour.
You'll of course need some technical skills to qualify, like being able to troubleshoot problems with the equipment quickly and efficiently. The work environment consists of spending a lot of time in your campus computer or Mac labs. Occasionally there are also occasional classroom visits to help with machines elsewhere on campus or to run demonstrations on computer lab resources.
If you are a CSE or IT student, the experience can enhance your career opportunities too. Most software businesses want to hire people with hands-on experience with technology and software. As a computer lab assistant, you will develop significant knowledge and skills that employers will find attractive.
4. Campus Tour Guide
Campus tour guides give warm welcomes to the newly-enrolled students on-campus as well as to visiting students considering applying to the university. As an ambassador for the university, you will be responsible for guiding students through campus, spotlighting the various facilities and resources, and giving them the best experience possible.
You must familiarise new students with the campus layout as part of your job. New students, particularly international students, probably won't know much about important locations, like faculty buildings, the library, academic support centres, bus stops, on-campus medical centres, and more. Help them get around and answer any questions they may have.
The pay depends on your skillset but generally ranges from £8–£12 per hour depending on location. For example:
The most rewarding aspect of working as a cleaning service provider is knowing that you are genuinely making a difference as a frontline keeper of public health. As a cleaner, often known as a custodian, you'll be responsible for cleaning various locations in and around the city.
The benefit of becoming a custodian is meeting people from many walks of life. Do you enjoy working with children? Consider working as a custodian in an elementary school. Do you enjoy sports? Check to see if your local stadium has any available custodian positions.
The pay is usually £7-9/hour. Besides being paid an hourly rate, there are benefits such as holiday allowance during peak seasons, such as the Christmas shopping season. There are also opportunities for overtime rates during weekends when demand is higher than usual.
6. Teaching Assistant
Teaching assistants (TA) are responsible for helping teachers with their lessons and curriculum. You can also be called on to assist students with homework or other assignments during breaks in class time.
Assistantships are often available to assist postgraduate students in subsidizing their tuition costs! It's an excellent method to obtain teaching experience and may lead to a full-time career once you graduate.
The job of a tutor involves helping students with their homework in an academic setting. It is a great way to earn some extra money while increasing your knowledge. You might teach students English, math, science, and other subjects. You will be responsible for:
- Preparing and delivering lessons on time
- Collaborating with other teachers
- Ensuring your students understand the material being taught
- Answering questions and doubts
- Keep up-to-date knowledge about the latest developments in your field
Some students need assistance with specific skills, such as essay writing or preparing presentations! The salary range varies depending on experience, but it can start at £16 per hour. Tutors are an excellent option for international students, as they offer flexible hours.
8. Dog Walker
This could be an excellent job if you love dogs and are willing to work in a dog-friendly environment! You'll need to be able to handle dogs well and walk them regularly, which means that physical activity and stamina will play an essential role in determining whether or not you can make this career choice successfully.
If you do decide on becoming a dog walker, many different things come with the territory:
- Walking dogs around town or the countryside
- Cleaning up after the dog during and after walks
- Approving the routes you’ll take with the dog owner
- Being attentive to the dog’s needs and behaviour and reporting these to the owner
- Taking care of sick animals at home or at veterinary clinics in the case of emergencies. This includes ensuring they're comfortable while being treated by their veterinarian, cleaning up messes left behind after vaccinations, disposing of waste responsibly if necessary, etc.
9. Research Assistant
Research assistants are employed in universities and research institutes. They are responsible for assisting researchers with designing and executing research projects while performing other tasks such as data collection and analysis.
Most universities offer training courses for new researchers who wish to become research assistants. These courses will include topics such as writing reports or managing databases. Research assistants can expect to work long hours, often from 8 am to midnight on weekdays, but you will receive a salary for your efforts.
This is a terrific chance if you wish to conduct and publish your own study someday. You can also find many opportunities for future work prospects, such as research and development engineers, adjunct faculty, business analyst, and so on.
Baristas are the backbone of any coffee shop and are always in high demand. You can find jobs through several websites with a simple Google search for barista posts in your location.
Alternatively, you can also look for vacancies through your local newspaper or job centre. In fact, there are likely several coffee shops on- and around campus, since university students rarely function without caffeine. Most of these establishments also generally hire students, so they’re great places to drop off your resume.
The average hourly wage for barista positions is £6 per hour. This job will allow you to meet new people while earning additional money while studying. You'll pick up lots of handy soft skills, including thinking on your feet, multitasking, time management, and people skills.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it difficult for international students to get work in the UK?
Not at all! Part-time jobs for international students are common in the UK. It is easier to find jobs in big cities like London, Birmingham, or York than in rural areas. You may even find on-campus opportunities that let you conveniently earn while staying on homeground, helping you balance work and studies.
How much money can an international student make in the UK?
The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is the legal benchmark that determines the minimum wage in the UK. It is £6.83 per hour for a student between the ages of 18 and 20 and £9.50 per hour for people aged 21 and above. This is true for both UK and non-UK residents of the nation. Of course, depending on the post, your qualifications, and the location you're working in all play into your salary!
Our Concluding Thoughts
Finding a job while studying in the UK can be more accessible than you might think. There are many job opportunities for international students in the UK. The best way to find them? Talk with your university or college's career services and connect with people in and outside class. Internet searches and online communities can help you too. Building up your network will help you start the job search and connect you with employers who want to hire international students!