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Tier 4 students work during study

Are you allowed to work?

During term time you can work for a maximum of 20 hours per week if you are studying at degree level or above; and 10 hours per week if you are studying below degree level. If you are on a Short Term Study visa of 6 months or under, you are not permitted to work in the UK.

What is term time?

Please check the defined vacation periods for your particular course and make sure that you are clear when you have holidays and when term time is.

Term time is any period when you are required to do academic work such as attend classes, lectures and tutorials; prepare for exams; do coursework; write essays, a dissertation or thesis.

  • Undergraduate students have a vacation period at Christmas, Easter and in the summer.
  • Postgraduate students have a vacation period at Christmas and Easter, but not the summer, as this is when you will usually be writing your dissertation
  • PhD students will have a vacation period at Christmas and with the permission of their supervisor.

You can work full time during the vacation periods and during the additional periods before and after your course start and end dates. This is confirmed by the Home Office guidance for employers www.gov.uk/government/publications/preventing-illegal-working-frequently-asked-questions

What kind of work you can do?

You can do most kinds of work. However, there are some kinds of work you must not do:

• self-employment and engage in business activity*
• work as a professional sportsperson including as a sports coach
• entertainer
• a permanent full-time job
• doctor or dentist in training, unless you are on the foundation programme.

*Self-employment and engaging in business activity

You cannot be self-employed or engage in business activity. You will be considered in engaging in business activity, where you are working for a business in a capacity other than an employee, in which you have a financial or other significent beneficial interest.

This would include the following:

  • setting up a business as a sole trader or under a partnership arrangement and that business is either trading or establishing a trading presence; 
  • being employed by a company in which you hold shares of 10% or more (including where the shares are held in a trust for you); or 
  • working for a company where you also hold a statutory role, such as a director.
  • This is not an exhaustive list but provides examples of the types of circumstance in which you will be considered to be engaged in business activity.

Please contact the Visa Support Team if you need any further advice about hours and types of work allowed during your studies as a breach of these conditions can result in you being reported to the Home Office and your Tier 4 visa being curtailed.

Useful links

Tier 4 Migrant Guidance
University of Bradford Career and Employment Services
UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) guidance on working during your studies

We would strongly recommend that you do no more than 15 hours temporary work per week, as it is highly likely to interfere with your studies if you do more than that.