Immigration Specialists London

Student Visa with Work Permit in UK: This guide provides an essential overview of the employment regulations for international students holding a UK Student Visa with Work Permit. It explains permissible work hours, allowed types of employment, and key work-related conditions that students must adhere to during their studies. From understanding the restrictions on self-employment and business activities to transitioning to a Skilled Worker Visa, this guide covers all aspects. It also addresses work rights for spouses on a UK Student Dependent Visa, ensuring students are fully informed about balancing academic and work opportunities in the UK.


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Student Visa with Work Permit in UK

1. International Student UK Working Hours


The United Kingdom is a hub for international students, offering a combination of prestigious educational institutions and diverse work experiences. Students with the appropriate visa can work while studying, subject to specific conditions related to working hours, the nature of employment, and the terms of their visa. This guide explores these conditions, focusing on the limitations for different study levels, rules on self-employment, and restrictions on professional sports.

Working on a Student Visa in the UK: Guidelines and Limitations

  1. Full-time course at degree level or above (sponsored by a compliant higher education provider or an overseas institution for a study abroad program):
    • Work up to 20 hours per week during term-time.
    • Full-time work allowed outside term-time.
  2. Full-time course below degree level (sponsored by a compliant higher education provider):
    • Work up to 10 hours per week during term-time.
    • Full-time work allowed outside term-time.
  3. All other study types, including part-time courses:
    • No employment permitted.
  4. Child students aged 16 or over:
    • Work part-time up to 10 hours per week during term.
    • Full-time work allowed during vacations.

Consequences of Exceeding Work Limits

Understanding Work Limitations for Full-Time and Part-Time Courses

  • Full-Time Courses:
    • Degree-level students can work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during holidays. Below degree-level students are limited to 10 hours per week during term time.
  • Part-Time Courses:
    • Students in part-time courses are generally not allowed to work.
  • Child Students:
    • Those aged 16 or over can work part-time during the term and full-time during vacations.
Student Visa with Work Permit in UK
Get To Grips With The Uk Student Visa Work Rules! Check Out Our Guide To Study And Work In The Uk.

2. Restrictions on Self-Employment and Business Activities


Can International Students be Self-Employed in the UK?

Generally, students on a UK student visa are not allowed to engage in self-employment or business activities. This includes:

  • Starting a business as a sole trader or in a partnership.
  • Being employed by a company where you hold 10% or more shares.
  • Working in a statutory role like a company director.

Exceptions – Start-up Route

There is an exception for students applying for permission on the Start-up route:

  • If endorsed by a compliant higher education provider.
  • Allows working as self-employed while awaiting a decision on the application.

Restricted Work: No Professional Sports or Coaching

Students on a UK visa are generally prohibited from engaging in professional sports or coaching. This is to ensure that their primary focus remains on their studies.

Definition of a Professional Sportsperson

A professional sportsperson is someone who:

  • Provides sports services at a professional or semi-professional level.
  • Receives payment for sports activities covering living costs in the UK.
  • Is registered with a professional or semi-professional sports team.
  • Has represented a national or regional team in the last two years.
  • Has established an international reputation in the sport.
  • Engages an agent for career development as a sportsperson.

Impact on Visa Status

Being classified as a professional sportsperson could affect your student visa status. It’s important to understand and adhere to these regulations.

3. Transitioning from UK Student Visa to Skilled Worker Visa


If you’re an international student aspiring to work in the UK after your studies, understanding the transition process to a Skilled Worker visa is crucial. Here’s a breakdown of the key eligibility criteria and the process involved:

Eligibility for Switching to Skilled Worker Visa

  1. Education Level:
    • You must be studying a full-time course at degree level or above at a compliant higher education provider.
  2. Timing of Application:
    • Apply for the Skilled Worker visa while still having permission as a Student.
  3. Employment Before Decision:
    • If your Skilled Worker visa decision is pending, you can start working for up to 3 months before your course completion date.

Can I Switch without Completing a Degree Course?

  • Job Offer Requirement:
    • To switch, you must secure a job offer from a UK employer with a sponsor license.
  • Skill Level and Salary:
    • The job must meet the required skill level and salary thresholds of the UK’s points-based system.
  • Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS):
    • Obtain a CoS from your prospective employer.
  • Eligible Occupations:
    • Ensure your job role is on the list of eligible occupations.
  • Impact of Incomplete Degree:
    • Not completing your degree may affect your points, making it harder to qualify.

Transition Process

  1. Prepare in Advance:
  2. Understand the Points System:
    • Familiarize yourself with the points-based immigration system to evaluate your chances.
  3. Documentation and Application:
    • Gather necessary documents, including your CoS, and submit your Skilled Worker visa application.

Conclusion: Switching to Skilled Worker Visa

Switching from a student visa to a Skilled Worker visa is a viable path for international students in the UK looking to enter the professional workforce. Ensure you meet all the requirements and understand the implications of each step in the process. Seeking professional advice can also be beneficial in navigating this transition smoothly.

4. Work Rights for Spouses


Understanding the work rights for spouses or partners accompanying international students in the UK is essential. Here’s a detailed look at what dependents can and cannot do in terms of employment:

Student Visa with Work Permit for Dependents

  • Unrestricted Work Hours
    • Typically Unrestricted: Dependents of students can work without any limits on their weekly hours. This applies to spouses of students engaged in postgraduate courses for more than 9 months or those funded by postgraduate scholarships.
  • Exceptions for Below Degree Level Courses
    • Restrictions: Dependents of students enrolled in below degree level courses are generally not allowed to work in the UK, as per Paragraph ST 39.3 (b)(ii) of Appendix Student.
  • Degree Level Courses
    • Work Permitted: If the student is pursuing a degree level course, their spouse or partner is permitted to work, including self-employment and voluntary roles.
  • Prohibited Employment as a Professional Sportsperson
    • Restriction on Sports Activities: Spouses and partners on a dependent visa are barred from taking employment as a professional sportsperson or sports coach. This is to ensure they adhere to the terms of their dependent visa and avoid roles that could be filled by a UK resident or citizen.
  • Dependent’s Work Rights Summary
    • Postgraduate (9+ months)/Funded by Scholarship: Unrestricted work hours.
    • Below Degree Level: Work not permitted.
    • Degree Level: Permitted to work (excluding professional sports).
  • Considerations for Student Dependents
    • Adhere to Restrictions: Always adhere to the restrictions outlined in your visa to avoid legal complications.
    • Permissible Work: Ensure you understand the nature of permissible and non-permissible work to maintain compliance with UK visa regulations.
    • Consult Authorities: If in doubt about your work rights as a dependent, consult with UK Visas and Immigration or a legal expert.

5. Conclusion: Student Visa with Work Permit Rules


This comprehensive guide has delved into the various aspects of work permissions and restrictions for international students in the UK. Let’s summarize the key points and consider the broader implications.

Work Permissions and Restrictions: A Recap

  1. Work During Studies:
    • Permitted Work Hours:
      • 20 hours/week for degree level courses during term-time.
      • 10 hours/week for below degree level courses during term-time.
    • Vacation Periods:
      • Full-time work permitted for all students.
  2. Self-Employment and Business Activities:
  3. Professional Sports:
    • Restrictions on Professional Sports: Students are prohibited from engaging in professional sports or coaching roles.
  4. Transition to Skilled Worker Visa:
  5. Spouse Work Rights:

Summary of Work Conditions

  • Term-Time Work:
    • 20 hours/week for degree level courses.
    • 10 hours/week for below degree level courses.
  • Vacation Work:
    • Full-time work permitted for all students.
  • Self-Employment:
  • Professional Sports:
    • No engagement as a professional sportsperson.
  • Switching to Skilled Worker Visa:
    • Possible under specific conditions.
  • Spouse Work Rights:
    • Generally unrestricted, except in professional sports.

Important Considerations

  1. Adherence to Rules:
    • It’s crucial to adhere to these guidelines to avoid legal complications.
  2. Staying Updated:
    • Immigration rules can change; always refer to the latest UKVI guidelines.
  3. Individual Circumstances:
    • Each case may have unique considerations; seek personalized advice if necessary.

Final Thoughts

While this guide offers a thorough overview of the work conditions under a UK student visa, it’s important to remember that immigration rules are subject to change. Always consult with up-to-date official sources or immigration professionals for the latest information and tailored advice.

Understanding these rules is pivotal for international students planning to work during their studies or transition into the UK workforce post-graduation. By staying informed and compliant, you can navigate the UK’s immigration policies effectively, ensuring a successful and enriching experience as a student and potential employee in the UK.

6. FAQs: UK Student Visa Work Permit Rules


  1. Can I work full-time on a UK Student Visa?

    Yes, during vacations and the period before your course starts, you’re allowed to work full-time. However, during term time, work hours are limited.

  2. What are the work restrictions on a UK Student Visa?

    If studying at degree level or above, you can work up to 20 hours per week during term time. Below degree level, the limit is 10 hours per week. You can’t be self-employed or engage in business activities, nor can you work as a professional sportsperson.

  3. Can I be self-employed while on a UK Student Visa?

    Generally, no. However, if you’ve applied for permission on the Start-up route and are awaiting a decision, you may work as self-employed.

  4. How many hours can my spouse work if I am on a UK Student Visa?

    Spouses of students studying at postgraduate level or sponsored by a government body can usually work without hour restrictions. However, they cannot work as professional sportspersons.

  5. Can I switch from a Student Visa to a Skilled Worker Visa in the UK?

    Yes, provided you meet certain conditions like securing a job offer from a UK employer with a sponsor license and meeting the job’s skill and salary requirements.

  6. Are there any limitations on the type of work I can do as an international student?

    Yes, you cannot work as a professional sportsperson or coach and there are restrictions on self-employment and business activities.

  7. What are the consequences of working more than allowed on a UK Student Visa?

    Exceeding your work limit can lead to visa cancellation, deportation, re-entry bans, and legal penalties for your employer.

  8. What proof of funds is required for a UK Student Visa?

    You must demonstrate sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses. The amount varies depending on your study location and course duration.

  9. What is the process for extending a UK Student Visa?

    To extend your student visa, you must continue meeting the eligibility requirements, including being enrolled in a course and maintaining sufficient funds.

  10. Can I work in the UK after completing my studies on a student visa?

    Yes, you can switch to a post-study work visa or a Skilled Worker Visa if you secure a job that meets the visa requirements.


For further information and details, please refer to Immigration Rules: Appendix Student.