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Working during and after studies

Many International Students are allowed to do some work whilst they study in the UK. On this page you can find information about working in the UK during your studies. This section does not apply to students from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

    Can you work?

    In most cases students who are in the UK on a Tier 4 visa can expect to receive a stamp on their visa which allows work with restrictions. Students in the UK with a Short Term Study Visa are prohibited from working.

    In some cases students are prohibited from working. To see if this is the case for you check your visa. Normally there are two types of stamps in your visa which prohibit any work. These may be:
    • 'No work or engaging in business' or
    • 'No work or recourse to public funds'

    If you are in the UK on a Tier 4 visa and you have a prohibition stamp on your visa, please contact ISA and we may be able to request an amendment to a restriction on work in place of prohibition on your behalf

    What kind of work can you do? 

    Work usually permitted for Tier 4 visa holders at UEL:

    1. Part time and vacation employment - up to 20 hours a week during term-time for students enrolled on a course at degree level or above, and full time during vacations. Students enrolled on a course below Bachelor’s degree level will be able to work up to 10 hours per week during term-time. A 'week' is defined as 'a period of 7 days beginning with a Monday'. Students must ensure that their working pattern and hours fits this definition.

    2. Work placements which are part of a 'sandwich course' - Sandwich courses are courses which include the work placement as an integral part of the course in which the work placement is clearly defined and approved by the University, and the work placement must not extend beyond the end of the course

    Work NOT permitted for Tier 4 visa holders at UEL:

    1. Students must not engage in business, be self-employed or work as a professional sportsperson or entertainer.

    2. Students must not pursue a career by filling a permanent full time vacancy. 

    You are only able to work up to 20 hours a week (or 10 hours in some cases) during official term time. The official UEL term times and vacation periods are as defined in the Academic Calendar on the UEL website.

    If you are a Research student (PhD/ Prof Doc), then the term dates will not apply to you.

    You can request a copy of the term dates in person from The Student Hub or by emailing the hub with your name, student number and address.

    Your employer may request evidence of your term dates and official vacation dates which may be the above mentioned letter.

    You are not allowed to work full time during the summer vacation period, until you have completed your exams/ resits.

    If you are currently part time because you are re-sitting a module, you are not allowed to work full time.

    When you have completed your course, you can work full time hours for the remainder of your Tier 4 leave.

    If you have completed your course and received your results you can request a letter from the Student Hub or by emailing the hub confirming that you have been awarded.

    Note: Completion of course means either the end date of your course as stated on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) or if you complete your course later, or earlier than that date, the date that the award board agrees your award.

     

    You are not allowed to work more than 20 hours a week in the summer vacation period if you are supposed to be working on your dissertation. A 'week' is defined as a 'period of 7 days beginning with a Monday'. Tier 4 (General) students must ensure that their working pattern and hours fits this definition.

    If you have submitted an in-time visa application under another qualifying Points Based System (PBS) visa category, the conditions of your previous leave will continue until you receive a decision on your visa application. This means that if you previously held a Tier 4 (General) student visa, you are entitled to work 20 hours per week during term time, full time in vacations (if you are not doing re-sits) - see full conditions above ('What kind of work can you do?').

    A copy of your visa and passport would normally be acceptable evidence, but if your visa has expired you will need to provide proof that you are awaiting the outcome of your visa application. You can provide your employer with a copy of your acknowledgement letter from the Home Office that confirms they have received your application or cover letter when you submitted your application online. In addition, the Home Office ask that your employer use the Employer Checking Service. You can find further details on the Government website

    Please note: this service is only to be used whilst you have an outstanding visa application.

    First of all your employer should check that you are on a Tier 4 visa and have a restriction rather than a prohibition.

    Both you and your employer have a legal responsibility to make sure that you are working within the immigration rules. Therefore your employer may want you to provide extra evidence to satisfy them as to whether you can work full time at certain periods.

    UK Visas and Immigration would expect your employer to keep a record of the evidence that you can work. The Student Hub can give you a letter confirming your term dates. However, UEL is not able to provide a letter stating that you can work as this is not a UEL decision. A letter from UEL relating to the work conditions of your visa would not be deemed sufficient evidence by UK Visas and Immigration.

    Usually you can show your employer your current passport and your current biometric residence permit. 

    Although you can travel using your old and new passports, employers cannot accept an entry clearance sticker in an expired passport, even if your period of leave has not yet expired. In this case you will need to apply to transfer your leave into your new passport by making a transfer of conditions application. For full details of the documents employers can accept, see the Home Office's guide to Acceptable right to work documents

    The university can confirm some information about you and your studies, which your employer can use to ascertain whether you can work (including periods when you can work full time):
    • your student status (letter from the Student Hub)
    • the standard university term dates (letter from the Student Hub)
    • if you have completed your course and been awarded (letter from the Student Hub)
    If your employer is unsure of anything he/she can check by contacting the UK Government employers' helpline.

    If you have submitted a visa application within the UK and are awaiting the outcome – see the section on students with a pending visa application.
    WARNING: Do not breach your prohibition or restrictions on working. UK Visas and Immigration are getting stricter in their application of the regulations with potentially very serious consequences for the employee and the employer. It is classified as a criminal offence to breach these regulations which can lead to a fine of £20,000 and/or up to 6 months in prison and the possibility of removal from the UK.

    National Insurance

    As an International student, you and any dependants must pay National Insurance (NI) contributions if you work in the same way as UK citizens. National Insurance contributions only commence when you start earning in excess of £157 per week. If you are working in the UK you will need to apply for your unique National Insurance (NI) number.

    National Insurance card

    You may apply for an NI number while you are looking for work. You may even begin work without an NI number, but once you have started then you should apply for an NI number if you haven't already got one. Your NI number will be issued to you in the form of a card (similar size to a credit card).

    Find out more information on National Insurance and how to apply for an NI number.

    Some people who are granted a visa for the UK as a dependant of a student are able to work, whilst others are not. It depends on when they applied for their visa, the level and length of the programme of study of the main applicant, and whether you are government sponsored. For detailed information about this see UKCISA information on dependant working conditions

    Dependants are permitted to work if you are studying a postgraduate level course for longer than 12 months, or are government sponsored and taking a course longer than 6 months. If your dependants are eligible to join you or remain with you in the UK but you do not meet these conditions, they will only be able to work if you are applying for further leave to remain if your course of study was 12 months or more and your course is at degree level.

    Examples of the type of stamp in your dependants visa, allowing work, could be:

    • "Limited Leave to Remain in the UK. No recourse to public funds" or
    • "Leave to enter for until (specified time). No recourse to public funds"

    Examples of the type of stamp in your dependants visa which prohibit work could be:

    • "Limited leave to remain in the UK. No recourse to public funds. No work or engaging in business" or
    • "Leave to enter for/ until (specified time). No recourse to public funds.

    Generally, dependants with the right to work may do any type of work but not as a professional sportsperson or as a doctor or dentist in training

    If you are in the UK on any other type of visa other than 'Tier 4' or 'Tier 4 dependant', you should check whether or not you are able to work. Broadly speaking, if you are in the UK on any type of visitor visa, you will be prohibited from working.

    For more detailed information on working in the UK see the following websites 

    • UKCISA - United Kingdom Council for International Student Affairs for general information
    • GOV.UK - UK Visas & Immigration the government department responsible for visas
    • DWP - The department for Work and Pensions for information on work, taxes etc.
    • Centre for Student Success - The Centre for Student Success at UEL for help with employability issues

    Working during studies

    This scheme is aimed at those who want to invest in the UK by setting up or taking over and being actively involved in the running of one or more businesses in the UK.
    • Initially 3 year visa. Possibility of extension for a further 2 years
    • Possibility to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK after 5 years (or 3 years in some cases)
    • You can switch to Tier 1 Entrepreneurs in the UK from most Tier 1 , Tier 2, Tier 4 or student visas.
    • Points Based System - 95 points required
      • 25 points - Access to £200,000 (or £50,000 in specific cases)
        • If you have access to at least £200,000 in either your own name or from a third party
        • If you have access to at least £50,000 from venture capital firms, seed funding competitions and/or UK government departments
      • 25 points - The money is held in a regulated financial institution
      • 25 points - The money is disposable in the UK
      • 10 points - English Language (a degree studied at and awarded by UEL)
      • 10 points - maintenance (£945 for 90 days)

    More information available on UK Government website.

    The scheme is for recent graduates, who have ‘genuine and credible business ideas and Entrepreneurial skills’.
    Graduates are endorsed by either their Higher Education Institution (HEI), or another HEI in the UK which offer the scheme.
    Endorsed graduates are eligible to apply for a 12 month, Tier 1 GE visa. It is possible to extend the visa for a further 12 months, if the business is successful and the HEI continues to provide endorsement. Applicants are eligible to have dependents with them in the UK on the Tier GE visa.

    Applying for UEL Endorsement

    Prospective applicants need to attend the UEL Enterprise Start-Up workshop series. This prepares applicants with the skills required to draft a business plan.
    Information on the Start-Up workshops, application rounds and eligibility are on the UEL Enterprise website.

    Eligibility requirements

    Applicants must meet the following criteria:

    • have been awarded a recognised bachelor's degree, master's degree, or PhD
    • hold endorsement from an HEI issued in the past three months
    • have £945 in savings, which has been held for 90 consecutive days in a bank account in the applicants name (£1890, if applying outside the UK)
    • meet the English language requirement
    • have permission to remain in the UK, if applicants have been financially sponsored by a government or international scholarship agency in the previous 12 months

    The following qualifications do not meet the requirements:

    • foundation degrees
    • honorary degrees
    • qualifications awarded in the UK by overseas awarding bodies
    • qualifications undertaken at overseas campuses of UK institutions
    • professional and vocational qualifications
    • postgraduate certificates or diploma

    Applicants are not eligible if they have previously held a Tier 1 Post Study Work (PSW). Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme, International Graduate Scheme (IGS) or Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme (SEGS) visa.

    Documents required

    Applicants must provide the following when applying:

    • passport or other travel identification
    • a letter of endorsement from your HEI (UEL)
    • Financial evidence (have £945 in savings, which has been held for 90 consecutive days in a bank account in the applicants name (£1890, if applying outside the UK)
    • TB test (if required and if you have resided outside of the UK for six months prior to submitting the visa application)

    Immigration Health Surcharge, fees and application timescales

    You will need to pay the immigration health surcharge (IHS). To calculate how much this will be visit the Gov.UK website.

    Information on application costs and application timescales are on the Gov.UK website.

    Further links

    Gov.UK

    UKCISA

    UEL Enterprise

     

    Allow high net worth individuals to make substantial financial investment in the UK and to live in the UK.
    • Initially 3 year visa. Possibility of extension for a further 2 years
    • Possibility to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK after 5 years (or after 2 or 3 years in some cases)
    • You can switch to Tier 1 Investors in the UK from most Tier 1 , Tier 2, Tier 4 or student visas.
    • Points Based System - 95 points required
      • 75 points - Minimum amount to invest £2,000,000
      • 10 points - English language (requirement waived and points issued automatically if you obtain 75 points)
      • 10 points - Maintenance (requirement waived and points issued automatically if you obtain 75 points)

    More information available on the UK Government website.

    The scheme is designed to attract those who are internationally recognised as world leaders or potential world leaders in the fields of science, engineering, humanities, medicine, digital technology and the arts and who wish to work in the UK. Applicants must be internationally recognised as world leaders in their fields by a UK Visas and Immigration specified Competent Body (in the field in which you are recognised as a world leader).

    • Initially apply for a visa up to 5 years
    • Possibility to apply for an extension after 5 years
    • You can switch to Tier 1 Entrepreneur in the UK from most Tier 1, Tier 2 and some Tier 5 visas (but not from Tier 4)
    • Points Based System - 85 points required:
      • 75 points - Endorsement by a 'Competent Body'
      • 10 points - English language (only for extension applications. Otherwise requirement waived)

    More information available on the UK Government website.

    Tier 2 (General) is a scheme designed for people coming to/or applying to remain in the UK with a skilled job offer. Tier 2 (General) is a visa linked to a specific job with a specific employer. The employer must be on the UK Visas and Immigration Sponsor Register for Employers and must be willing to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) if you meet one of the five routes to Tier 2 (General). You cannot switch job or employer with a Tier 2 (General) visa.

    Summary of Tier 2 (General):
    • Initially visa can be granted for up to 3 years or possibly longer in some cases
    • Possible to extend Tier 2 (General) visa up to 5 years in total
    • You can switch into Tier 2 (General) in the UK from Tier 4 among other visas. (Please see below for "Additional requirements for those switching from Tier 4 (General)"/student visa)
    • Requires a job offer - the visa is linked to the job, and is only valid for that specific job with that employer
    • Employer must be a licensed sponsor (on the UKVI sponsor register for employers)
    • Employer must issue a COS based on one of the five routes to Tier 2
    • Job must be at graduate level (see Code of Practice)
    • Salary must be at £20,800 or £30,000-depending on your circumstances, or the minimum industry equivalent (see Code of Practice)
    • If you discontinue your Tier 2 (General) job, your visa will be curtailed to 60 days
    • Time in this category will not count towards the qualifying period for settlement in the UK unless salary is at least £35,000

    There are currently six possible routes to apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa:

    • Switching from Tier 4 (General) (see additional requirements) OR
    • Switching from Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) if applying in the UK and continuing to work in the same occupation for the same sponsor OR
    • Shortage Occupations - As listed on UKVI list on website OR
    • Resident Labour Market Test - Employer has advertised in UK/EEA but no suitable UK/EEA worker can take job OR
    • Job offer with salary of £159,600 per year or more OR
    • Extension in same role, for the same employer (including switching from Post Study Work)

    Tier 2 (General) visa requires you to obtain 70 points. This is made up from: 50 points for attributes, 10 points for English and 10 points for Maintenance.

    • Attributes - 50 Points
      • 30 Points for one of six routes listed below (see more information above)
        • Switching from Tier 4 (General)
        • Switching from Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
        • Shortage occupation list
        • Resident Labour Market Test
        • Job offer with salary £159,600 or more
        • Extension (continuing in the same role for the same employer, including switching from PSW)
      • 20 points for prospective salary of a minimum of £20,800 per year, or £30,000 or the industry equivalent  (see Code of Practice)
    • English Language Skills - 10 points
      • If you have a UEL degree, you can claim points for English Language as you have completed a degree in the UK in English.
    • Maintenance - 10 points
      • £945 held for consecutive 90 day period or certified by A rated sponsor 

    Financial Evidence must meet the requirements in the Tier 2 Policy Guidance.

    Additional requirements for those switching from Tier 4 (General)

    If you have a job offer that meets the requirements outlined above (ie graduate level, salary of £20,800 or equivalent) then you are eligible for a COS if:

    • You have been completed a bachelor‘s or master’s degree; a PGCE or PGDE from a UK recognised body; or completed a minimum of 12 months of study in the UK towards a PhD from a UK recognised body; and
    • You had valid immigration permission that permitted study throughout the above course; and
    • You have current leave as Tier 4 (General) or Student; and
    • You are applying from inside the UK

    If you meet these requirements your employer does not have to consider the other five routes outlined above.

    Working Conditions if switching from Tier 4 (General)

    If you applied for your Tier 4 (General) visa before 6 April 2012:

    The working conditions associated with that visa continue whilst you are awaiting a decision on your Tier 2 (General) application, including the condition that you do not take up a  permanent full-time vacancy. This means that if you have been offered a job and have used a COS for that job to apply for Tier 2 (General), you cannot take up that position until your Tier 2 (General) leave has been granted.

    If you applied for your Tier 4 (General) visa on or after 6 April 2012:

    You are permitted to take a permanent full-time vacancy if: 

    • you have made a Tier 2 application supported by a Certificate of Sponsorship assigned by a licensed Tier 2 Sponsor before your Tier 4 leave has ended (and any appeal against that decision has been determined); and
    • you will be employed in the role for which that Certificate of Sponsorship was assigned; and
    • you have yet to receive a decision on your Tier 2 application, and
    • you successfully completed (you have been awarded) your degree level qualification

    More information on Tier 2 (General) can be found on the Home Office website.

    For students studying a PhD or other doctorate level qualification.  This is a 12 month work visa route and is called the Tier 4 Doctorate Extensions Scheme (Tier 4 DES) and is part of the Points Based System.

    Students working towards a lower level qualification are not eligible for this Scheme.

    The university or college where you are studying for your doctorate qualification must be your Tier 4 sponsor.  The University of East London will support students under this Scheme who meet the requirements of UEL and the Home Office as outlined below.

    In order to qualify for the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme, you must:

    • hold a valid Tier 4 (General) visa or a student visa
    • be coming to the end of your PhD or other doctorate level studies but have not yet completed
    • hold a CAS from your Tier 4 Sponsor (UEL)
    • apply for your visa within 60 days prior to completing your studies (UEL will determine the end date of your studies once you have had your viva)
    • you do not need to apply for a new Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate unless you require an additional 3 months or longer to complete your PhD before applying for Tier 4 DES
    • meet the maintenance (funds) requirements in line with the requirements of this Scheme.
    • apply for this visa in the UK

    Information about this Scheme is available in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance.

    Maintenance (funds)

    As well having a CAS, you must provide evidence that you meet the Tier 4 funds requirement of £2530.  The funds must be held for a period of 28 days before you apply.

    Dependants

    If you have dependants in the UK, they will be able to extend their stay as your dependants providing that they meet the rules.  If your dependants are currently overseas, they can apply for entry clearance under the established rules for Tier 4 dependants. 

    Work

    If your visa application is successful, you will be given 12 months from the expected end date on your CAS.  You can work without restrictions from the time that UEL confirms to the Home Office that you have successfully completed your PhD to the standard required for the award of a PhD.  The only exceptions are that you cannot work as a professional sportsperson, a sports coach, a doctor in training or a dentist in training.  You can take employment at any particular level. 

    Contact with your Tier 4 Sponsor (UEL)

    You do not have to stay and work in the area where your Tier 4 Sponsor (UEL) is based but you will be obliged to maintain contact with UEL as agreed in the terms and Conditions of this Scheme.   If you miss a scheduled contact without notifying UEL, we will be obliged to report this to the Home Office and this is could result in your visa being curtailed (cancelled).  You should also let the UEL International Compliance know if you leave the UK and do not intend to return before your visa expires or if you are granted a visa under a different immigration category.  You can apply only once under the doctorate extension scheme. If you want to stay in the UK for longer than this, you need to apply under a different route. You can apply in the UK for employment under Tier 2 or under any of the subcategories of Tier 1. If you are Turkish, you might qualify to stay for employment or self-employment under the European Community Association Agreement with Turkey. Check the details of the category that is relevant to you in order to ensure that you meet all necessary requirements for applying in the UK. If you do not, you can apply for entry clearance from the country in which you usually live.

    How to apply

    If you wish to apply for this Scheme, you need to obtain a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the UEL International Compliance team.  In order to be eligible for a CAS, you must meet all of the requirements outlined above.  In addition, you must:

    • have made satisfactory progress during your studies and be completing your PhD within the earliest expected time-frame.  The UEL International Compliance team will liaise with the Research Degree Leader in your School and the Graduate School to assess overall progression during your studies, and in particular, consider information recorded in your annual reviews
    • register interest in the Scheme once you have received the date of your viva and prior to undertaking your viva by emailing casrequest@uel.ac.uk 
    • provide evidence of the maintenance documents required for this visa
    • complete the University’s Terms and Conditions confirming your agreement under this Scheme.

    Application form and cost

    You can apply by online with standard service (cost £475), priority service (cost £952) or in-person (cost £1,085) by making a premium appointment. For  information on how to complete your  application form please check here. You can find the Tier 4 Policy Guidance on the Home Office website.

    Visa advice

    Our International Student Advice (ISA) can provide advice and guidance with your Tier 4 DES visa application.  We can check your completed application and supporting documents to ensure that you meet all the requirements before you post your application. Email:  isa@uel.ac.uk

    UEL’s responsibilities under the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme

    The University sponsors an eligible student under the Doctorate Extension Scheme by issuing a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). In issuing a CAS, the University is confirming the following to the Home Office:

    • we are sponsoring a student under the Doctorate Extension Scheme
    • we expect the student to complete their course and gain a PhD on the  stated course end date on the CAS
    • we will continue to sponsor the student for 12 months after their course completion
    • the student is aware of their responsibility to abide by the conditions of their Tier 4 DES leave including that they will leave the UK when their visa expires unless they have switched to a different visa category.

    The University’s reporting responsibilities to the Home Office continue under the Tie 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme.  We are required to report the following by updating your CAS:

    • when a student completes their PhD and the date of the award;
    • if a student finishes their course without successfully completing their PhD, or is awarded a lower qualification;
    • if a student misses a scheduled contact without reasonable explanation and we are subsequently unable to make contact with them;
    • the student notifies the University that they are permanently leaving the UK;
    • the University is aware that the migrant is breaching conditions of their leave.

    Student’s responsibilities under the Doctorate Extension Scheme

    In participating under the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme, students will be required to:

    • agree to the University’s Terms and Conditions of being sponsored under this Scheme
    • maintain contact as determined and greed with the UEL International Compliance team and to keep us updated if you find and secure a employment
    • inform the UEL International Compliance team of any significant changes to your circumstances, including a change in immigration category or if you decide you no longer wish to participate in this Scheme and leave the UK.
    This visa is aimed at Commonwealth citizens, with UK ancestry, to come to the UK to work and look for work.
    • You must be a commonwealth citizen
    • You must be aged 17 or over
    • At least one of your grandparents must have been born in the UK
    • You can only apply from your home country
    • Visa valid for up to 5 years
    • After 5 years on this type of visa, you may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK

    More information on UK Ancestry visas can be found on the UKVI website.

    The European Union and Turkey have an agreement called the European Comunity Association Agreement (ECAA) which allows Turkish citizens to come to the UK to enter or stay in the UK to establish themselves in business. There are also concessions which allow Turkish workers to apply for restrictions on work to be removed after working legally in th UK for a period of years.

    More information on Turkish Business People/ Workers can be found on the UK Government website.

    Tier 5 is the temporary workers category, which includes the following:

    Tier 5 (Temporary worker - youth mobility)
    For young people from participating countries and territories who want to come and experience life in the UK. The countries and territories currently participating in the scheme are:
    Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Monaco, Republic of Korea, Taiwan. Find out more information.

    Tier 5 (Temporary worker - government authorised exchange)
    Approved schemes that aim to share knowledge, experience and best practice. Includes some work experience placements. To apply you must be sponsored by an overarching body. Find out more information.

    Tier 5 (Temporary worker - creative and sporting)
    For people coming to the UK to work or perform as sportspeople, entertainers or creative artists. Find out more information.

    Tier 5 (Temporary worker - charity workers)
    For those coming to the UK to do voluntary (unpaid) work for a charity, that is directly related to that charity’s work. Find out more information.

    Tier 5 (Temporary worker - religious workers)
    For people coming to the United Kingdom to temporarily fill a religious role. Find out more information.

    Please see the UK Government website for more information.

    For more detailed information on working in the UK see the following websites:

    • CSS - The Centre for Student Success at UEL for help with employability issues
    • UKCISA - United Kingdom Council for International Student Affairs for information about working
    • UK Government - UK Visas and Immigration -forms, guidance & rules.
    • DWP - The department for Work and Pensions for information on work, taxes etc.

    Working after studies

    If you have a student visa with a work restriction instead of a prohibition, you can normally work full time in the following circumstances:

    • In official vacation times as per the University Academic Calendar (if you are not required to work on your dissertation on re sits)
    • When you have completed your course and have been awarded
    For more detailed information, or if your employer wants to make sure that you can work full time, please read the "Working during studies' section at the top of this page.

    Why Volunteer?

    In a time of huge demand for internships and work experience a key way for you to gain new skills and gain experience within your chosen sector is to volunteer.

    Volunteering can be based within a range of sectors and settings enabling you to boost your CV whilst developing you personal and professional networks.

    Did you know?

    • When recruiting 80% of employers value volunteering on a CV
    • 94% of employers believe that volunteering can add to skills
    • 73% of employers would employ a candidate with volunteering experience over one without
    • New research shows that volunteering work could be the added extra to make CV stand out from the crowd.

    If you would like to have a look at the current volunteering offers that are available please check on the Volunteering website.

    If you cannot find a suitable opportunity or have a question for the team please email volunteering@uel.ac.uk.

    International Students and Volunteering

    The UK Home Office guidelines for work classed as Volunteering are: 

    • there should be no payment, other than reasonable travel and meals expenditure actually incurred (not an allowance for the same);
    • there should be no contractual obligations on the volunteer;
    • the volunteer is providing a service for a registered voluntary or charitable organisation (or organisation that raises funds for either);
    • the service is not a substitute for employment (i.e. fulfilling a role that a salaried worker would normally fulfil).

    Volunteering is distinct from work paid or unpaid.

    There is a difference between unpaid employment and voluntary work, and you should always check with the organisation which offers you voluntary work whether it might constitute ‘unpaid employment’. This is because most students in the UK have immigration permission which allows them to work during their studies but under strict restrictions, and any time you spend doing ‘unpaid employment’ counts towards the maximum number of hours of work you can do in a week.

    If you or your employer are unsure as to whether the volunteering constitutes unpaid work the UK Home Office has guidance and code of practice for employers which deals with this question.

    You must make sure that you comply with any work restrictions which apply to you. This is because the UK Home Office (the UK Government department which is responsible for immigration) treats working in breach of your conditions very seriously. It can refuse your immigration application or remove you from the UK if you work too many hours or if you do work which you are not allowed to do.

    If you have any queries please email the International Students Advice Team at isa@uel.ac.uk or see our web pages at www.uel.ac.uk/isa

    If you have finished your course and you wish to apply for a work visa, you should check the "Working after studies" section of this page,  and also attend one of our regular workshops for students interested in working in the UK after studies.

    UK Visas and Immigration define a working 'week' as 'a period of 7 days beginning with a Monday'. Tier 4 (General) students must ensure that their working pattern and hours fits this definition.

    It is important that you ensure that you do not exceed your permitted hours of work. 

    If you work irregular hours and/or have more than one employer, you should keep detailed records of the work that you do every day so be sure that you are not in danger of breaching your work condition. 

    Frequently Asked Questions