Whether you can work during your studies depends on what type of immigration permission you have. Your immigration documents, entry clearance/BRP or digital status, will state what work conditions apply to you.
If you are a European national with settled or pre-settled status in the UK, you can work freely. Please read the UKCISA guidance for more information. If you have Student immigration permission the information below will apply to you.
After reading all the guidance from us and UKCISA, if you are unsure what conditions you have been given or do not understand the wording on your entry clearance sticker/BRP, please call UKCISA’s Student Advice line for advice.
Those with student immigration permission to study with us will usually be given a condition that allows you to work whilst you are in the UK studying. You can work in line with the work condition stated on your entry clearance vignette, Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) or digital status, provided you have not stopped studying before completing your course. If the passport your visa is in has expired and you do not have a BRP, you will have to apply to transfer your visa to a Biometric Residence Permit if you want to work.
The hours you can work and type of work you can do are restricted and breaching your conditions is a criminal offence. We highly recommend you read the UKCISA information including the UKCISA blog for more information about the types of work you can or can’t do before you seek employment.
You should not need to rely on income from working to pay your living expenses or tuition fees as the Student Immigration Rules require you to have adequate funds to live and study in the UK. If you withdraw, intermit or take a leave of absence from your course, you must stop working immediately as you will no longer have the right to work in the UK even if your Student immigration permission has not been curtailed (cut short).
The type of work you can do for the whole duration of your Student immigration permission is restricted, including as a work placement (unless it is specifically allowed for within the Student Immigration Rules and guidance).
The Home Office Student route guidance states “Where you are permitted to work, the intention is that this should be to supplement your income whilst studying (in most cases we expect this to be taking a part-time role for an established business/organisation (for example, a customer service role at a retailer) or as part of a work placement provided it is an integral and assessed part of your course)."
You must not do the following types of work:
Before you start work, please read the UKCISA information including their blog for more information on the types of work you can or can’t do and call their student advice line if you need to.
You might want to be a volunteer during your time in the UK. There is a difference between unpaid employment (voluntary work) and volunteering, and you should always check with the organisation that offers you a volunteering opportunity whether it can be regarded as unpaid employment. This is because time you spend doing unpaid employment counts towards your maximum number of hours of work a week.
The Government has produced information about the difference between voluntary work and volunteering with some useful examples. Read the UKCISA guidance for more information.
Essex students with Student Immigration permission should have a condition allowing the following hours of work per week in term time:
You must only work the hours stated on your immigration documents. You cannot exceed the hours in any individual week. A ‘week’ is defined in the Immigration Rules as 7 days starting on a Monday. In your vacations you can work longer hours but must check what term time means for you and when you have official vacations. If you work more hours than you should, you will be in breach of your immigration conditions which is a criminal offence.
If you are an elected SU Sabbatical Officer, you can work up to the restricted hours stated on your immigration permission in other employment. This is in addition to the full-time Sabbatical Officer post.
If you are on an integral and assessed work placement as part of your course you can work full time in the work placement. In addition, you can do other allowed part-time work within the weekly limit stated on your visa.
If your student immigration permission shows a different number of hours per week than stated above or states "no work" this could be an error. Please contact our International Services team and we will check it for you and advise you how to have it amended by the Home Office if it is incorrect.
Work is a valuable experience, but your studies come first so, even if you are allowed to work 20 hours a week the University recommends you do less than this.
The term times and vacations published on the university website apply to standard undergraduate courses only. If you want to work more hours in your vacations, you must check the exact term dates that apply to your course. Your employer will require written confirmation of your term and vacation dates, which you will need to request from us. As a guide only:
Your term and vacation dates will vary depending on the course you are studying.
After the course end date on your CAS, you can work full-time until your visa expires provided you have finished all elements of your course and have no further study. However, the type of work you can do is still restricted as per the Student Immigration Rules until your visa expiry date and you must make sure you do not take a job that means you would be in breach of your work conditions. For instance, you cannot work in a full-time permanent position.
When you have found a job, you will be able to request confirmation of your term and vacation dates, read the section below about requesting confirmation of dates.
You may be able to undertake a work placement that is an assessed and integral part of your course. The University must check the work placement meets the requirements of the Student Immigration Rules and report the work placement to the Home Office. For Essex degree level students, it must not form more than 50% of your course duration (as stated on your CAS), unless exceptions apply within the Student Immigration Rules and guidance. Work placements can be paid or unpaid.
In addition to an integral and assessed work placement you can also take other allowed types of employment up to the weekly hourly limit stated on your student immigration permission.
The working restrictions regarding the type of work you are allowed to do also apply to a work placement unless there is a specific exception in the Student Immigration Rules and guidance.
If you undertake a work placement alongside your study that is not integral, assessed and agreed by the University, you must count the hours within your weekly limit.
Read the UKCISA guidance for more information about work placements.
If you undertake any work that is not allowed or work more hours than you should, you will be considered to be in breach of your immigration conditions. This is a criminal offence and can have very serious consequences for you and for the University’s Student Sponsor licence.
If you are concerned that you may have broken your conditions please seek urgent advice from SU Advice, an independent, confidential Students' Union service.
If you have finished all elements of your course, you will be able to work full time hours after the course end date on your CAS, until your student immigration permission expires. However, the type of work you can do is still restricted under the Student Immigration Rules until the date your student immigration permission expires, you must make sure you do not take a job that means you would be in breach of your work conditions as this is a criminal offence. For instance, you cannot work in a full-time permanent position.
PhD students can work full-time, after you have been awarded your PhD and uploaded your final thesis to our Research Repository. If the duration of your course increases, you must continue to work part-time hours.
Your CAS will show your course end date, this is the date we are sponsoring you to study full-time until, we will not consider you to have finished your course before this date unless you have been awarded the qualification early and we are able to report this to the Home Office in line with the Student Sponsor guidance.
If you withdraw, intermit or take a leave of absence from your course you must stop working immediately as you will no longer have the right to work in the UK even if your student immigration permission has not been curtailed (cut short).
If you have applied for permission to stay in the UK under the Graduate route, your Student immigration work conditions apply until you have been granted Graduate route permission to stay. For more information about the Graduate and other work routes, read the UKCISA guidance on working after studies and contact their student advice line or your employer if you have any questions, our advisers are not able to offer advice about work immigration routes.
We highly recommend you read the UKCISA information including their blog for more information about the types of work you can or can’t do with a student immigration permission, before you take a job.
If you have student immigration permission your employer will require details of your term and vacation dates from the University. Dates that apply will depend on your course and the standard dates published on the University website may not apply to you. The request must come from you, not your employer.
To request confirmation of your term and vacation dates email our Student Information team at email@example.com, at least four weeks before you are due to start work. You must provide your PRID.
If you require confirmation of your term dates for your work placement as authorised by the University’s Work Based Learning Team, please provide your PRID and start and end dates of your placement.
When we receive your request, we will carry out various checks before we can confirm the term and vacation dates for your course in writing. You must be a fully registered Essex student who is studying inside the UK with valid student immigration permission and must have completed your in person right to study check on campus.
Once our checks are completed, we will send an email to your @essex.ac.uk address, confirming your term and vacation dates that you can forward to your employer. It usually takes up to 5 working days for this to be produced but can take longer at busy times of year. We will not confirm your term or vacation dates in any other format as this is not a Home Office requirement.
Your employer should refer to the Home Office's publication for employers, An employer's guide to right to work checks and Home Office caseworker guidance, Student and Child Student. If your employer has any questions about your work conditions, they will need to contact the Home Office, we will not be able to advise them.
If you will be working for the University and have any questions about the right to work documents, please email People and Culture at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about Income Tax and National Insurance is available from HM Revenue and Customs. We can’t answer questions about National Insurance and Income Tax, you’ll need to refer to the HMRC website to find out who you can contact.
Our Student Services Hub can help you find work and provide information about employment rights.