This article will explain the working restrictions of how many hours International/EU/EEA/Swiss Students can work per week and where to get further advice and guidance.
Tier 4 Student Visa
If you are on a Tier 4 student visa, you can work up to 20 hours a week during term-time and you must adhere to the University of Portsmouth term and non-term dates as stated here.
To find out more about Home Office regulations please refer to: UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) website In addition, the University's Tier 4 policy outlines how the University applies right to work requirements, in line with current Government legislation.
Your Tier 4 Student Visa states that employment includes ‘paid and unpaid employment’ and the 20 hour maximum weekly total includes all employment (whether at the University or elsewhere) and any voluntary work.
As a Tier 4 student, it is your responsibility to ensure that all your paid, unpaid or voluntary work does not exceed your visa working restrictions and that all hours worked in each week must be 20 hours or less. For more information on part-time and voluntary work visit the UKCISA website
Your working restrictions for vacations will depend on the level of the course that you are studying: Undergraduate, Postgraduate Taught or Research Postgraduate.
For Tier 4 PGR Students on a bursary, the 6 hours per week of assistance to teaching that you are expected to undertake would count towards the 20 hours per week working restrictions.
If you require any further information, advice and guidance on these working restrictions, please contact the University's International Student Advice Team, please contact the UoP Global Office.
UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA)
Are there any types of work that I can not undertake?
The UKCISA website also includes information on the types of work that you must not undertake on a Tier 4 visa: self-employment and business activity, work as a professional sportsperson including as a sports coach, entertainer, a permanent full-time job, doctor or dentist in training, unless you are on the foundation programme.
What does the 20 hours a week include?
The 20 hour a week includes all employment (whether at the University or elsewhere) and any voluntary work. For example, if you can work for 20 hours during term-time and have paid work for 15 hours a week you cannot do more than five hours voluntary work per week. The opportunities advertised through the Careers and Employability Service’s Volunteering Bank are classes as voluntary work and are included in the 20 hour weekly total. UKCISA have detailed the types of work that you can undertake and the differences between volunteering and voluntary work here in this UKCISA article: A working definition.
Can I work more than 20 hours a week during the term?
No, any work that is undertaken over 20 hours a week during term time will be classed as illegal working. Your term dates will depend on the level of the course that you are studying: Undergraduate, Postgraduate Taught or Research Postgraduate. Please see the tables above for more information on your working restrictions related to your course.
As a Tier 4 student, it is your responsibility to ensure that all paid and unpaid employment (whether at the University or elsewhere) and any voluntary work does not exceed the 20 hour maximum weekly total. If you are working in more than one paid, unpaid or voluntary work role, it is important that all hours worked in each week must be 20 hours or less.
Can this be an average of 20 hours per week?
No, according to the Immigration Rules, the working week is defined as Monday – Sunday and all hours worked in each week must be 20 hours or less. Your working restrictions are not an average per week, but a maximum per week. HM Revenue & Customs record your pay, tax and national insurance, and that data is sent to the Visas and Immigration (UKVI) department within the Home Office every month. It is possible for the Home Office to identify Tier 4 students who are working in excess of 20 hours per week, which is why you must make sure you do not work in breach of your visa restrictions.
What happens if I work more than 20 hours during my term time?
If you work more than the working restrictions of 20 hours during term time, this will be classed as illegal working.
When your employer has offered you a job, they are required to undertake a Right to Work check to see if you have the legal right to work in the UK and what work restrictions you may have. It is important to let your employer know if you are also working elsewhere, whether paid, unpaid or as voluntary work. To learn about Protecting your Tier 4 Student Status and for more information on what would happen if you work more than 20 hours a week, visit Protecting your Tier 4 Student Status on the UKCISA website.
If you are a student from a country in European Economic Area (EEA), you are able to work in the UK without restrictions. EEA countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
Short Term Study Visa
You cannot do any work if you are on a Short Term Study Visa or on a Standard Visitor Visa.
Further information and guidance
For more information on looking for part-time or voluntary work, please contact the Careers and Employability Service
If you require any further information, advice and guidance please contact the University's International Student Advice Team UoP Global Office.