SOAS University of London

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 Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) or visa vignette (in your passport) first to see what conditions UK Visas and Immigration have imposed on you about employment. You will either have a restriction or a prohibition.

Student work restriction

Specimen Residence Permit - Not able to work
Specimen Residence Permit - Able to work


If you have a Tier 4 or Student visa your BRP should state '20 hours max in term time' or similar

With this endorsement, 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 businessand 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 take a look at the GOV.UK National Insurance number website

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 £12,500 in the tax year before having to pay tax. For more information on income tax, visit the Inland Revenue’s website.


If the vignette 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'

The equivalent prohibition on a BRP simply says 'NO WORK'.

If you have Tier 4 or Student visa but have a prohibition and would like to work, please contact the Student Advisors (Immigration and Finance) for advice about whether you can apply to have your endorsement changed by emailing