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Postgrad Life: Working in the UK

Your Student Visa while offering you the opportunity to study in the country also allows you to work in the country if you adhere to the regulations set forth by the UK government. Here we have articulated some tips for you to work while studying at a UK-based university.


Working as an International student

The rules on international students working in the UK tend to vary on a case-by-case basis, so the best thing to do is to ask the relevant authorities and check the terms of your student visa. As a rule of thumb, however, most postgraduate students studying for longer than six months in the UK have permission to work on a part-time basis. This usually means you cannot work for more than 20 hours a week during term time. While in most cases the dissertation time is not considered to be a part of term time allowing most students to work full time. But it does not allow you to sign any contract to work full time and can be subject to other conditions. We recommend consulting your university for figuring out the latest details in terms of your visa guidelines outlining your work permits. There are also caveats: you cannot be self-employed and cannot work as a sportsperson, sports coach, or entertainer.

Furthermore, your part-time jobs are subject to British laws on working and taxes. While some employers accept applications based on your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) that states your right to work in the country, others require you to submit a National Insurance Number. We suggest applying for your National Insurance Number along with your NHS number (a reference to another blog on NHS) as soon as you receive your BRP. The National Insurance Number can take up to six weeks to be authorised and delivered to you by Royal Post services.

Working as an EU student

Students from the EU applying to start a course in the UK after 1 January 2021 are advised to check their visa requirements. You may be eligible for a Student Visa, Child Student Visa, or a Short-term study Visa based on your course length and enrolled institution. Although the ERASMUS placements in the UK between the 2021 to 2023 academic years are expected to continue as normal, the UK government suggests contacting your universities to obtain the most recent and relevant information. However, some of it can vary based on your settled or pre-settled status, more details about which can be found here.

Tax on Student Jobs

Despite the popular misbelief of students don’t need to pay any tax, there are certain criteria that determine the same. The UK tax system has a personal allowance band that amounts up to £12,570 which is non-taxable income. However, this personal allowance is allocated to those who earn more than £1,042 every month on average, while the National Insurance is mandatory for those earning more than £190 a week. This means that if your annual income is less that the prescribed amount you will not be taxed and as many students work part-time for less than 20 hours per week, this amount is rarely exceeded. Hence, the chances of being taxed by the UK government are zero to none.

Your Income tax or National Insurance deduction is calculated by your employer through Pay As You Earn (PAYE). Based on these PAYE calculations, if you earn a lot of money in a small amount of time (for example if you worked full-time during the holidays) then your employer may tax your earnings. This may be a little annoying, but you can claim the money back later. If you have earned less than £12,570 by the end of the tax year, then you simply need to fill in the relevant HMRC forms and you will be refunded (link:


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