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The International Students’ Essential Guide to Getting Work in the UK

The International Students’ Essential Guide to Getting Work in the UK

Finding a part-time job alongside your studies in the UK is fantastic for your experience, personal development and for meeting other people outside of University.


Your English language speaking and writing skills will be vastly improved, and it will add valuable experience to your CV, whether you plan on staying in the UK or not. You’ll also get that much needed cash, so you can spend your time enjoying Leeds without the financial worry!


Unsure of the process of finding part-time work in the UK as an International student? Don’t worry - you are not alone, and it is easier than you think!


Here is the complete guide on getting a part-time job for International Students. You will learn about working regulations, how to tailor your CV to UK jobs, and more valuable information.


Can I actually work and study?


The simple answer for most students is YES!


We recommend that all students never exceed more than 20 hours a week during

term time.


Be realistic and don’t stretch yourself

You will also need to think about how much free time you will have whilst studying. 

Some courses will have busy timetables whereas other courses may only have a few hours of teaching a week and it’s important to do work that fits into your schedule.


If you are on campus most days for the full day, you might want to consider work that is only evening and weekends, including working in bars, restaurants, cinemas, general hospitality and shops.

If you have a lot of free time on your hands, you could consider office admin roles, cafe work or customer services roles.

If you have very little time, look into remote working roles or working from home.

Tier 4 Visa Student


If you hold a Tier 4 Student Visa, then congratulations, you are eligible to work! 


You will be restricted to how many hours you can work per week depending on what your visa says - this is usually a maximum of 20 hours per week in term-time


Out of term time (over Easter and Christmas) you will be able to work more hours. It is very important you do not exceed the limit or rules on your Visa.


I'm an EU student. Can I work in the UK?

Yes you can. 

As an EU student you can work as many hours as you’d like, but we’d suggest you don’t take on more than about 20 hours a week in order to balance work with your studies.


I’m an undergraduate student. Can I work alongside my studies?

If you have a Tier 4 Visa, it will usually state that you can work 20 hours per week

during term time


Out of term time during Christmas, Easter and summer breaks you can work more hours, up to full time.


I’m a Postgraduate Taught student. Can I work alongside my studies?

As there is limited funding for postgraduate courses, many postgraduate students find that working alongside their studies is their only option. However, postgraduate courses are more intensive and it is important to find a good work-life balance, leaving enough time for your work, study and personal and leisure time.

Students are usually recommended to limit their paid work to 20 hours a week to allow sufficient time to focus on academic work.

If you have a Tier 4 Visa, it will usually state that you can work 20 hours per week

during term time.


Out of term time during Christmas & Easter breaks you can work more hours, up to full time.


Summer: As summer is a key time for postgraduate taught students, summer is classed as term time and so you will be restricted to 20 hours until your course is completed


I’m a Postgraduate Research student. Can I work alongside my studies?

If you’re a research student, particularly if you’re sponsored, your school or sponsor might put limits on how much you’re allowed to work.

In most cases this is low - the standard is 5 hours a week, and sometimes is required to be in related activities such as teaching or continuing in professional practice. Some university scholarships might even be given on the basis that you do some work for your school. 

In a lot of instances you’ll be an employee of the University, meaning you’ll have all the rights that other employees have. 

Whether you can work part-time in unrelated fields will depend on your sponsor, your contract with the University and our sponsor, and recommendation by your personal tutors.

If you are in any doubt, please contact the Joblink team and will be happy to advise you.

Short Term Study Visa


If you currently hold a short term study visa, unfortunately you are unable to do any paid work in the UK. 


However you can still volunteer. Whilst you will not be paid for your services, volunteering is a great way to gain experience for your CV and improve your English language skills. It can also be very personally rewarding knowing that you are helping those in need!


To be a volunteer, you must abide by the following criteria:

  • You must not have a contract of employment
  • You must not take the place of an employee
  • You must not receive payment in kind - but reimbursement for reasonable travel and subsistence expenses is allowed
  • You will usually help a charity or public sector organisation


You are NOT permitted to do work that would be categorised as being self-employed, (e.g. freelancing) regardless of the visa you have.

What Documents Do I Need?


So by now we know you can work, but what else do you need to get started in your first UK job?


Document checklist


Your original BRP, National ID card or Passport.

  • Employers must be able to verify your right to work ID and will need to see your original documents (no photocopies!)

National Insurance Number 


UK Bank account

  • There are many to choose from with varying offers. Please speak to LUU Advice if you are unsure which one is best for you.


  • It's best to have your CV (resume) ready and prepared. The style of CVs in the UK may differ from your country, so it’s best to get your CV checked over.

You can book a CV workshop session with Joblink to ensure your CV’s at its best.



DBS Check

  • If you are planning to work with minors or vulnerable people, you will need a DBS Check. You can apply for a basic check here:
  • If an employer states they require a DBS check, they should reimburse you for the cost


How Do I Tailor My Applications To Jobs In The UK?


The etiquette when applying for jobs in the UK may be different from what you’re used to at home. Most jobs expect you to apply using a CV and a cover letter. Here are some useful hints and tips to help!


  • Do not put a photograph on your CV. Employers must assess your application based on your skills and experience, not your appearance.
  • Do not include details such as your age, marital status and gender identity on your application as it should not influence an employer’s decision.
  • Generally speaking, keep your CV plain and formal rather than creative, unless you are specifically applying for a job in a creative industry such as advertising.
  • In the UK, two sides of A4 is the preferred length for a CV.
  • Your key skills and relevant experience are the most important bit of a CV in the UK. You do not need to list your academic achievements if they are not related to the job you’re applying for.
  • Proof read your CV. Even though English may not be your first language, employers will still expect you to have impeccable spelling and grammar. 

OK, where do I start?

The best place to start looking for work is LUU’s own on-campus job centre and recruitment agency, Joblink. We are experts in Leeds’ student jobs market and will be happy to help you out. We have part-time jobs in LUU, across campus and with employers across the city.

Join our Facebook page to keep up to date with part-time jobs in Leeds. 

Check out our student Jobs site or come and see us in LUU’s building on campus.

You can also use Facebook to search for any local job groups, or use the internet to see if any local employers are promoting work. Some good job sites include CV Library, Indeed, E4S, StudentBeans and StudentJob

Another strategy is to walk around your local area or city with copies of your CV and drop it into places that interest you. This works especially well for bars, restaurants, cafes and smaller independent shops. 

Head to the University’s Careers Centre website to find course-related jobs, internships, work experience or training.


I’m ready - let’s go!


Now you are set! What are you waiting for? Go out and get an amazing part time job!