Among the goals students have for studying abroad is often the opportunity to work while studying. Work experience in the UK isn’t just great because of the weight it adds to your résumé. Paid opportunities help you earn a bit to help offset your costs. And the experience of working in one of the economic powerhouses of the world is a huge plus for your career and employability! Interested? Take a look at the work opportunities for students in the UK!
Job Opportunities for International Students in the UK
On a Student visa, students at or above the age of 16 can, usually, work while studying. But depending on things like your student sponsor, age, and course, there may be conditions on your employment opportunities. Be sure to thoroughly understand whether you’re eligible for job opportunities in the UK for foreigners before seeking employment!
Work and Study in the UK for International Students
Are you enrolling at a Higher Education Provider (HEP) registered as a student sponsor – specifically one with a track record of compliance? If yes, you can pursue work opportunities for students in the UK! These HEPs may be a Higher Education Institution (HEI), a public or private university, an independent school, etc. Currently, there are 186 HEPs registered as student sponsors with track record. If you’re planning to work while studying in the UK, make sure you check whether you’re applying to a school that meets this criterion.
If you are:
- Enrolling at or above degree level, you may work a maximum of 20 hours a week during semesters
- Enrolling below degree level, you may work a maximum of 10 hours a week during semesters
- On study break, in work placements, or have completed your course, you may work full-time
Note that “a week” in this scenario specifically begins every Monday and lasts for a seven-day period. If you’re working multiple jobs, or have irregular work hours, make sure you don’t exceed your weekly work-hour limit.
Work While Completing a Study Abroad Program
If you’re enrolling in a study abroad program under a HEP registered as an “overseas higher education institution”:
- You may work up to 20 hours a week during semesters
- You may work full-time while on vacation, in work placements, or if have completed your course
Does your entry clearance or BRP (biometric residence permit) specify that you can’t work while studying in the UK? Work placements might be a good opportunity to still get work experience while you study!
A work placement is a graded and crucial component of completing your course. Work placements can constitute up to, but not more than, half of your course.
You can qualify for a work placement if:
- You’re studying a course at or above degree level
- If your student sponsor is either an overseas higher education institution or a HEP with a track record of compliance
If you meet these conditions and enroll in a course involving work placement, your student sponsor must:
- Ensure you work within the guidelines and limitations of your work placement
- Inform the Home Office that completing your course involves a period of work (which may be paid or unpaid)
If you’re eligible for work opportunities for students in the UK, you can work part-time during semesters and full-time outside of semesters alongside work placements. If you’re not eligible for work opportunities while on your Student visa, you may still apply for internships only if they meet the conditions for work placements specified above.
You Can’t Pursue Work Opportunities for Students in the UK If You Are
- Younger than 16
- Working over maximum weekly hours permissible during semesters
- Conducting business activities in the UK
- A professional athlete
- An entertainer (unless you’re in a work placement in a related field)
- A doctor or dentist in training
- A full-time employee
Note that there is also a difference between volunteering and voluntary work in the UK. The Home Office considers voluntary work to be unpaid employment. This counts towards your stipulated number of hours during semesters. So, be sure you understand the nature of relevant work opportunities and whether they count under work hours when looking at volunteering or voluntary work.
Graduate Jobs for International Students in the UK
Thanks to recent policies by the UK government, international students can pursue post-study work opportunities in the UK! While your Student visa is still valid, you may apply for the Graduate route to work in the UK after completing your course.
This means that if you complete your bachelor’s or master’s degree in the UK, you may be eligible to stay in the UK and work, or look for work, for two years. For PhD graduates, you may work or look for work in the UK for up to three years.
You can only apply for the Graduate route while your student visa is still valid, and you’re applying from inside the UK. If you have been participating in distance learning through 2020 or 2021, you may still be eligible for the Graduate route provided you meet all other requirements.
Our Concluding Thoughts
Studying abroad creates unique opportunities to get work experience in a different country. In the UK, it gives you the option to get hands-on experience in one of the world’s economic powerhouses! This experience can go a long way in setting you apart from other candidates in the workforce. The work opportunities for students in the UK are certainly something we urge you to take advantage of. They may also open up opportunities to pursue Skilled Worker status in the UK after graduating!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can a student get a job in the UK?
As an international student, if you’re eligible to work in the UK, you may find plenty of opportunities through online job searches. From part-time opportunities like working as a delivery person or server to administrative jobs, there are plenty of options to consider. If work placements are a part of your course, we recommend getting in touch with your student sponsor before arriving in the UK. Inquire whether they will help you connect with employers, or if you’ll have to find opportunities yourself. This can help you plan and prepare accordingly.
Which city has the most work opportunities for students in the UK?
Typically, the major cities in the UK have higher employer activity. According to QS Top Universities, London is the 4th best student city in the world in terms of employer activity. It’s also the best student city in the UK for students looking to work, followed by Edinburgh, Manchester, and Coventry.