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Working in the UK

Many students choose to work during their studies, both to earn some extra money and to gain experience. The following information should be helpful if you are thinking about working during your studies and after your studies.

Please note: All guidance for students on a Student Route visa also applies to students on a Tier 4 general visa.

Working legally
Work rights are a condition of your immigration permission. This means it is very important that you are clear about what you may and may not do. You must always comply with any restrictions, which are explained in high level details on this page.

Solent University does not produce letters to confirm your working conditions.

Further information and guidance is available on the UK Government website and UKCISA website.

It is your personal responsibility to be compliant with your visa requirements to include working conditions. Breaching visa conditions is an immigration offence that is taken seriously.

  • Self-employment is prohibited under a Student visa.
  • If you are working 'cash in hand', you are not working legally.

You should always have a pay slip showing how much you have earned and any deductions made. If you are unsure about your pay slip, please check with the international student adviser:, or employability adviser:

National Insurance number

You will need a National Insurance number to work in the UK.

Your National Insurance (NI) number is a unique personal number which is used to record your National Insurance contributions and tax that you pay. It also acts as a reference number when communicating with the Department of Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

More information on National Insurance

You do not need to have a NI number before starting work, but you must obtain one when you get a job. For information on how to apply for NI number visit:

Working during study

EEA (European Economic Area) or Swiss National with EU Settlement Status (settled or pre-settled)

If you are an EEA (European Economic Area) or a Swiss National who applied for EU Settlement Scheme, or you are the dependant of one, you are permitted to work in the UK without any restrictions on the number of hours or type of work.

To prove that you are a national or dependant of a national of an EEA country, you will need to show an employer your passport or identity card and share your digital status.

Further details on how to view and prove your digital status

Students on a Standard Visitor Visa (short-term study)

If you are studying on a course shorter than six months, are attending resits or graduation, and you were issued a Standard Visitor visa, you are not permitted to work in the UK.

Students on a Student Visa route/Tier 4 general visa

An Entry Clearance Sticker in your passport and your BRP card indicate that you can work 10 or 20 hours per week depending on your level of studies. It is important that you check if those details are correct, and verify any errors with us by emailing

  • If your course is below degree level, your visa should allow you to work a maximum of ten hours per week in term-time, and full-time in vacations.
  • If your course is at degree level or above, your visa should allow you to work a maximum of 20 hours per week in term-time, and full-time in vacations: Christmas break, Easter break and summer holidays.
  • Masters students on taught programmes are not deemed to be 'on vacation' over the summer until they have submitted their final project and should, therefore, restrict their hours of work to 20 or less during this period.

You can work full-time after your course ends within the additional two or four months, depending on your course duration.

Solent University does not produce letters to confirm your working conditions. However, you can request a letter from the Student Hub which will indicate term dates or end of course date

You can apply for and accept jobs in most types of paid roles, at any level. Restrictions on the type of employment permitted under a Student visa apply. You will not, for example, be able to set up your own business or be self-employed during your course. But you can prepare your business plan to launch your business after studies. Further details are available on the UKCISA website.

Solent University has a dedicated careers service which provides students with information on job vacancies, career planning, and every aspect of working during and after your studies. For more information, visit the careers section.

Work placements on a Student visa

If the work placement/internship is an integral and assessed part of your course, meaning it is a requirement of your course to complete it:

  • you will be able to engage in a full-time work during that placement. Please note, you must log your placement on the placement app and await approval from your placement tutor before starting the placement. Once your placement is approved by your academic a letter will be sent to your employer confirming that that placement forms an assessed part of your course.
  • Students studying a postgraduate course which includes a three-to-six-month placement should follow the postgraduate placement gateways which will support you with finding a suitable placement.

If a placement/internship is not an integral and assessed part of your course you can still complete it within your permitted working hours:

  • Work part-time during term time.
  • Work full time outside of term time and after your course ended within the last two or four months of your visa.

Please see the 'Working during your studies' section above for more information.

Working after your studies

Start-up and Innovator visa schemes

The Start-up visa scheme is open to the University's graduates who have a business plan and wish to set up their business in the UK. Successful applicants will be granted a two-year visa to stay in the UK and build their business under this scheme. The Solent Futures team will provide support with business plan guidance and advice along the way.

After the two years, you can switch to an Innovator visa to continue to grow and expand your business. For more information please see:

Graduate immigration route

The Government has announced that the new Graduate route will open for applications on 1 July 2021 to allow the UK to retain the brightest and the best international students from around the world.

Find out more

The route will enable international students to remain in the UK to work, or look for work, for two years (three years for doctoral students) after they have successfully completed their degree level studies at undergraduate level or above. The Graduate route will be unsponsored, meaning applicants will not need a job offer in order to be eligible. There will be no minimum salary requirements or caps on numbers. Graduates on the route will be able to work flexibly, switch jobs and develop their career as required.

What we know so far is that the qualifying criteria are likely to be very simple and at the time of application you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a valid Tier 4/Student Visa.
  • Hold a valid passport.
  • Have successfully completed a degree level or above course for which your most recent CAS was issued.
  • Be present in the UK by certain deadlines*
  • Submit and pay for the visa application. The expected visa application fee is £700 and Immigration Healthcare Surcharge of £624 per year (eg, £1248 for the two-year visa).

* Typically, students granted a visa for study would be expected to study in the UK. Due to Covid-19, the Home Office has also put in place concessions for students unable to travel to the UK due to the pandemic:

  • Students who began their studies in autumn 2020 now have until 21 June 2021 to enter the UK (updated from the previous date of 6 April 2021) to be eligible for the route.
  • Students who began their studies in January or February 2021 will need to enter the UK by 27 September 2021.
  • Students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 and who have already travelled to the UK during that period on their student visa will be able to make a Graduate application as long as they are present in the UK before the end date of their course.
  • Students sponsored for a course lasting longer than 12 months will not be prevented from being eligible for the Graduate route as a result of any distance learning that took place either in the UK or overseas between the period of 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021.

Your dependants will also be eligible to apply to remain with you in the UK provided they are also dependants on your student visa.

Read more information

If you have any queries, please contact:

Skilled Worker visa

In order to secure a Skilled Worker visa you will need to be sponsored to do a specific job, which meets certain skills and salary requirements, by an employer that has been licensed by the Home Office.

As a student you can switch to the Skilled Route only towards the end of your study. More information is available on: The Solent Futures team can help to set you on the right path during your studies with advice and guidance on employability.

Global Talent visa

The Global Talent Visa is available for talented and promising individuals in the fields of science, engineering, medicine and humanities, digital technology, and arts and culture who wish to pursue their career in the UK. There are two routes available which cater for different levels of experience: Exceptional Talent and Exceptional Promise.

Exceptional Talent is for people who are already established as leaders or recognised experts in their field and Exceptional Promise is for people who have the potential to become leaders or recognised experts in their field.

Find out more about global talent visas

Family members working in the UK

Family members on a Dependant visa

Family members on a Dependant visa are permitted to undertake any type of work, full-time and part-time, employed and self-employed. However, they cannot take employment as a doctor or dentist in training unless they have a degree in medicine or dentistry from a UK institution.

Family members on a Standard Visitor visa

Any family member visiting you on this visa will not be permitted to work in the UK.