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Working as you study in the UK can be a perfect way to gain work experience, develop your skills and add value to your CV whilst earning some money along the way.

Costs of living in the UK

The expenses of living in the UK vary greatly among each person. However, a website that you can use to give you an overall view of the costs of living in the UK and what to expect is https://www.studying-in-uk.org/costs-of-living-in-uk/

How many hours can I work per week in the UK?

The number of hours per week that you will be able to work will be determined by factors such as your nationality.

Minimum Wage

25 and over£7.83
21 to 24£7.38
18 to 20£5.90
Under 18£4.20
Apprentice£3.70

National Insurance Number

If you are allowed to work in the UK, you will need a National Insurance Number to do so.

You can get advice on how to apply for a National Insurance number through the application lines:
Telephone: 0800 141 2075 
Textphone: 0800 141 2438
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

You don’t need to apply for permission to work in the UK during your studies, however, your employer will probably ask you for proof of where you’re from. Your passport will normally be sufficient.

Tier 4 students

Tier 4 visas impose strict restrictions on working in the UK. If you hold a Tier 4 visa, you must adhere to these restrictions.

Your entry clearance vignette (visa sticker in your passport) or your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) will tell you if you are allowed to work.

 

What work am I allowed to do?

If you are studying a full time programme at the University of Edinburgh, your Tier 4 visa should allow you to work in the UK. You will be permitted to work:

  • 20 hours in any given week during term time if you are studying a full time programme at degree level and above; OR
  • 10 hours in any given week during term time if you are studying a full time below degree level
  • Full time during vacation periods and after you have finished studies (until your visa expires) 
  • On an integral and assessed work placement as part of your studies
  • As a sabbatical officer in a Students’ Union for up to 2 years

If you are studying a part time programme all work is strictly prohibited, including a work placement as part of your programme.

A ‘week’ is defined as 7 days, from Monday to Sunday.

Tier 4 students cannot:

  • Work as a self-employed person (includes freelancing)
  • Work as an entertainer or professional sportsperson or coach
  • Take a full time, permanent position
  • Take a full-time internship or work placement during term time that is not an assessed and integral part of your studies
  • Undertake work of any kind if you are studying a part time programme

Are there any other restrictions?

University guidelines recommend the following limit on working hours:

  • Undergraduates should work no more than 15 hours per week
  • Postgraduate taught students should work no more than 6 hours per week 
  • Postgraduate research students should work no more than 9 hours per week

The University will enforce these rules for postgraduate research students who are working at the University.  

What are my vacation periods?

This will depend on the type of programme you are studying.

Undergraduate students have three vacation periods each year. These are in line with the University calendar:

  • Winter vacation 
  • Spring vacation 
  • Summer vacation

Postgraduate taught students have two holiday periods per year:

  • Winter vacation
  • Spring vacation

The summer vacation period does not count for you as you are expected to study full time towards your dissertation.  You must not work full time during this period.

Postgraduate research students do not have vacations in line with the University calendar.  You are permitted up to six weeks of vacation per year, which you must agree with your supervisor or School.

Short term student visa

Short term students are not permitted to work, paid or unpaid, or undertake internships or work placements as part of your studies.

You may volunteer (normally for a charity).

Volunteering

You can volunteer while you are studying.  Volunteers must not:

  • Have a contract
  • Do ‘unpaid work’ (i.e. receive payment in kind)

Volunteers will normally help a charity or voluntary or public-sector organization.