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International Students

Working during your studies

If you are thinking of looking for part-time work while you are studying in the UK, you need to check your passport first to see what conditions the immigration authorities have imposed on you about employment. You will either have a restriction or a prohibition stamped in your passport.

Student work restriction

if you have a visa or residence permit in your passport, it should have a statement that says either:

Limited leave to remain in the UK. No recourse to public funds. Able to work as authorised by The Secretary of State


No recourse to public funds. Work (and any changes) must be authorised

Both are the standard student work restriction. 

Specimen Residence Permit - Able to work


If you have a biometrics ID card instead of a sticker, it should clarify that you can work 20 hours max in term time. 

With these endorsements, you can work up to 20 hours per week in term-time and full time in the holidays without having to seek any individual permission. There are restrictions on the type of work you can do:  you cannot be self-employed, work freelance or run a business; you cannot be a professional sports person or entertainer. 

National Insurance Number

International Students wishing to work must apply for a National Insurance number, which will enter you into the UK tax system. You can apply when you are looking for work or have found a job. To apply for a NI number, you should telephone 0845 600 0643 between 8 am -6pm Monday - Friday. You will have to go for an interview and must take certain documents with you (usually your passport, evidence of looking for work or your job offer letter). At the end of the appointment, you should ask for a letter confirming you have applied for a NI number, so that you can show it to your employer if requested. You can start work before the NI number card has been issued.

Income Tax

International students who work in the UK will automatically be subject to the same taxation rules that apply to UK citizens. You can earn up to £10,600 in the 2014/2015 tax year before having to pay tax. For more information on income tax, visit the Inland Revenue’s website on www.hmrc.gov.uk. Funds brought in to the UK for tuition fees and maintenance are non-taxable (talk to your Bank about this).


If the sticker in your passport contains the following wording then you have a prohibition on working in the UK:

“No work or recourse to public funds”

"No recourse to public funds No work or engaging in business"

Specimen Residence Permit - Not able to work


The equivalent prohibition on a biometrics ID card simply says NO WORK.

If you have a prohibition but would like to work, please come and see the Student Advisor (Immigration and Finance) for advice about whether you can apply to have your stamp changed.