Most international students who hold a Student Visa will be allowed to work in the UK. It is important to check your visa for any work-related conditions.

It is your responsibility, as the visa holder, to ensure you do not breach your visa conditions.  If your employer is asking you to do something that you think might be a breach of your work conditions, you must not agree to do this, and should contact Student Life International for assistance.

As with any other condition of your visa, UEA has a responsibility to report any breaches that it becomes aware of to UKVI. Breaches of visa conditions can result in curtailment of your visa and/or the refusal of future applications.

Certain courses may also place restrictions on the amount of work you can undertake whilst studying. You can check this information with your School (UEA Log-in required).

If you have a Standard Visitor visa, you are not permitted to work while you are in the UK.  You can find further information on UKCISA’s webpage under ‘Prohibited Activities’.

Restrictions on the work you can undertake - in relation to amount and type of work - can be found on your BRP Card or by using the View and Prove service if you have digital status. The conditions below are typical for UEA students, but yours may vary. If you have any questions about these, or think there might be an error, please speak to Student Life International.

Typical conditions are:

  • You can work a maximum of 20 hours per week, during term-time. This cannot be averaged (e.g. 25 hours in week 1 and 15 hours in week 2) and is calculated from Monday to Sunday. 
  • You can work full time during your course vacations (usually Christmas, Easter, and Summer for undergraduate students) - your School can confirm these dates.
  • You can work full time once you have completed your course, submitted all work, and the official end date has passed (as stated on e:Vision), up until your visa expires. 
  • You must not: 
    • Be self-employed or work on a freelance basis 
    • Fill a full time vacancy 
    • Be employed as a professional sportsperson, coach, or entertainer

Find further information about the work you can and cannot do here. This includes a helpful blog post on the types of work you can and cannot do. It is important that you familiarise yourself with these pages before you accept a job.

For the full official rules, please read the UKVI Student Visa Policy Guidance.

If you require a letter confirming the dates you are not in term time, please request a Non-Standard Proof of Study Letter from the Student Information Zone. In your request, make sure you ask for semester and vacation dates to be included.

Please check your course vacation dates with your School. These dates can vary between courses and often do not include the Summer vacation period. Please take care not to work outside of your Student Visa conditions.

Certain courses have restrictions on the amount of work you can undertake while studying that may be less than the hours permitted on your visa.  

The UEA Code of Practice for PGR Students states that you "are not normally expected to do more than an average of 6 hours a week of paid employment, up to a maximum of 180 hours per academic year."

PGR students are permitted to work full-time during the University Christmas and Easter Break closures. The PGR Service (UEA Log-in required) can confirm these dates for you. You can also work full-time after your final corrections to your thesis have been submitted and your degree is complete, until your visa expires. Please note, if you complete ahead of schedule, your visa may be curtailed (shortened). You can seek advice on this from your Graduate School and Student Life International.

All students can volunteer, but it is important to understand the difference between volunteering and voluntary work.


  • You will not have an employment contract
  • You will not take the place of a paid employee
  • You must not receive payment or remuneration for your role.
  • You can be reimbursed for reasonable travel and subsistence expenses.
  • You will usually be helping a charity, voluntary, or public sector organisation

Voluntary Work:

  • You might have a contract or agreement to provide services at regularly agreed times/days (this does not need to be in writing) 
  • Your employer must provide you with work 
  • You are usually compensated for your work (this could be with goods/services, not necessarily money, and is sometimes referred to as 'payment in kind')

The key difference in this distinction is that Volunteering does not count towards your working hours, in respect of your Student Visa. Voluntary Work is considered work and counts towards the 20-hours per week limit, during term-time.

This distinction can be difficult to draw. If you are unsure or have any questions about this or anything else in relation to working on a Student visa, please contact Student Life International.

Placements are an excellent way of obtaining work experience. They can help you make career decisions and are helpful when you apply for jobs after your course.

If a placement is an assessed and integral part of your course this will have been listed on your CAS statement when you applied for your Student visa. An internship that meets these requirements as a work placement is not subject to the work restrictions of your visa and you can work full-time hours for your work placement, even during term-time. UEA will continue to sponsor your Student immigration permission whilst you are on placement. UEA will monitor your attendance and engagement throughout your placement, and report any relevant changes to UKVI. If, for example, you move away from Norwich to undertake your placement, we must report a Change of Study Location (UEA Log-in required). If this applies to you, you should also update your UK contact address on e:Vision, when you move. As your placement is considered to be a part of your course, if you have permission to work in the UK, you can still take up work outside of your placement, within the working hours condition applied to your immigration permission. 

If you wish to arrange your own internship or work experience this will be subject to the work conditions of your visa, even if it is unpaid.

You can find a lot of advice and resources on looking for a job on CareerCentral, as well as on UKCISA’s website.

If you are offered a job in the UK, your employer may ask you for your National Insurance Number (NINO). This unique number is allocated to you and helps to record the National Insurance contributions and taxes you pay. 

If you have a BRP card, you might already have a NINO printed on the back. If you do not have one, you will need to apply for one if you plan to work. You can only apply for a National Insurance Number online once in the UK. You can also find the application helpline on this page. You may be asked to supply supporting documents or attend an appointment. 

PLEASE NOTE: if you are asked to provide your Passport and BRP card you may be without these documents for some time and you will not be able to travel outside the UK without them.

Income tax goes towards government spending on services such as transport, health, and education. If you are working and earning a certain amount of money, then you will have to pay income tax.  Your employer should take the amount of National Insurance and income tax out of your pay automatically. This will be shown on your payslip each time you get paid.

You can find out about National Insurance, as well as income tax, on UKCISA’s webpage.

If you are permitted to work on your Student visa, you will be able to work full-time after your course end date has passed and all outstanding work has been completed until your Student visa expires. This will be subject to some restrictions, including being unable to fill a permanent vacancy. You can read more about working on a Student visa here.

If you wish to work in the UK after this, you will need to apply for an appropriate visa. Student Life International cannot provide advice and guidance on work visas, but you can find more information on working after studies and the various visa types on the UKCISA website, as well as on our Graduate visa page.

If you have made a new, in-time application for permission to stay in the UK - either on the Student route or a different immigration route - your Student visa work conditions should continue to apply until UKVI make a decision on your new application. An 'in-time' application is one that is submitted before your current visa expires.