In addition to undertaking work placements which form part of their assessed programme of studies, many overseas students wish to engage in paid work to supplement their experience of life in the UK and income. Their rights to do so will depend on the terms of their permission to enter or remain in the UK, which will be derived to a large extent from the identity of their tier 4 sponsor institution.

The UKBA's tier 4 guidance distinguishes between students of bodies which receive public funding or are recognised bodies and those which do not fall in those categories; a position which caused some consternation in the for profit sector when those rules were introduced last year.

Broadly speaking :

  • Students registered on degree level programmes of publicly funded institutions / recognised bodies who used a CAS to apply for a visa after 4 July 2011 can work for 20 hours a week during term time and full time during vacations.
  • Those studying below degree level at publicly funded institutions / recognised bodies can work 10 hours a week during term time and full time during vacations.
  • Sponsored students may hold sabbatical posts with unions of their sponsoring institutions, provided certain conditions set down by the UKBA are met.
  • However, students are not permitted to be employed as doctors in training, professional sportspersons or entertainers. Self employed status is also prohibited.
  • Students of for profit institutions are not entitled to work.