Whether you are an EU or International student, there are some rules and regulations that determine whether or not you are entitled to work in the UK. Before you begin to look for employment, you should check whether you are eligible.

Visa Restrictions on Working

The following information provides a brief summary of the rules in relation to working in the UK whilst studying:

expand  Students from EEA

Most EEA students can work without restriction in the UK. You are considered a European Economic Area (EEA) national if you are a citizen or national of one of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, 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 and the United Kingdom. (If you have a permanent residence in, but not citizenship of any of these countries, you are not an EEA national).

Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are EEA member states, but they are not members of the European Union (EU). Switzerland is not a member of the EU or the EEA. However since 1 June 2002, Swiss nationals have had rights which are similar to those of nationals of EEA countries.

If you are a national of Bulgaria or Romania, then from the 1st Jan 2014 you have no restrictions on working in the UK. However, if you are a Croatian national you might be subject to the Worker Authorisation Scheme. If you are in the UK as a student, this means you might have to apply for a registration certificate as a student before you can start work. Any employment is limited to 20 hours a week in term time, but you can work full time in your holidays and on work placements, and for up to four months after your studies end. This application costs £55. See http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/croatia/liveworkuk/ for more details.

expand  International Students from outside the EEA

If you are in the UK with student immigration permission, please check your passport as this should state the level of employment you are entitled to work in the UK. It is important that you check your eligibility to work, with an adviser who is authorised to give such help. If you are unsure please check with the Immigration and Welfare Officer in Student Services. They can help with: welfare, support and visa advice.

Helene Kelly
Student Centre, Chancellor's Mall
Tel: 01204 903437 or 903496
Email: studentimmigration@bolton.ac.uk

You can also contact the welfare adviser at the Students Union.

expand  Hours of Work

If you are studying at degree level and have student immigration permission that allows you to take employment, you can normally work up to 20 hours a week, and full time during vacations. Students studying at a lower level than a degree (a foundation degree or English language foundation course) may only be able to work 10 hours a week. The rules vary depending on when you applied for your immigration permission. Working more than these hours may effect your right to remain in the country for the rest of your course.

If you are a postgraduate student the vacation time is the Christmas and Easter break and any other time is agreed between you and your supervisor. Some courses do specifically designate a short summer vacation before you are required to start work on your projects, but otherwise there is no fixed summer vacation for postgraduates.

expand  What is term-time?

Term-time is any period in which you are meant to be doing academic work, for example, attending classes and workshops, revising, researching and/or writing coursework, a dissertation or thesis.

expand  Types of Work

You are not permitted to:

  • Engage in business
  • Be self-employed
  • Provide services as a professional sportsperson or entertainer
  • Pursue a career by filling a permanent full-time vacancy

If your immigration permission does not allow you to work you must NOT:

  • Take paid employment
  • Take unpaid employment
  • Do a work placement, even if it is part of your course


Useful Resources

For current information with regards to working whilst studying in the UK, please visit the relevant websites below:

UK Border Agency
UK Border Agency
foreign and commonwealth
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Dept for Education
Find your way to work