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Tier 4 work

Last modified: 05 November 2019

Most Tier 4 students may work, even if you are limited to doing a course-related work placement. It is a great opportunity, not only to make some extra money, but also to experience working life in the UK, meet a wide range of people and enhance your career prospects. 

Work rights are a condition of your Tier 4 immigration permission (leave). This means it is very important that you are clear about what you may and may not do. You must always comply with any restrictions, which are explained in some detail on this page and in the Tier 4 policy guidance - see our information about Tier 4 conditions for help in doing this.

Our blog, A working definition, provides answers to a lot of your frequently asked questions about work.  

Tier 4 student leave can also be used to work as a Students' Union sabbatical officer during or after study, and as a doctor or dentist in training or under the doctorate extension scheme after study. For information about work and other immigration categories, see DependantsShort-term student visa and

Who can work and working hours

Last modified: 10 October 2019

Many, but not all, Tier 4 students can work. This depends on the type of Tier 4 sponsor you have - look at the Sponsor type and Status columns of the register of Tier 4 sponsors and select the relevant option below to find out more.

If you are allowed to work, you will be subject to maximum weekly hours in term time. 

"Week" means any 7-day period starting on a Monday, so if you work irregular hours and/or have more than one employer, you will need to keep detailed records of how many hours you work each day in order to ensure you do not exceed the limit.

"Term time" means the period when your Tier 4 sponsor expects you to be studying, and "vacation" means the period when your Tier 4 sponsor does not require you to be studying. These dates are usually set out on an education provider's website or in the course information it gives you, and employers are required to check them. The Tier 4 guidance for Home Office caseworkers (modernised guidance) confirms that you can work full time in the period before your course starts as well as in the period after you have finished your course.

Always check what your passport sticker (entry clearance) or biometric residence permit (BRP) says. You should also have received detailed information in a letter when you received your entry clearance or BRP. If you think there is an error, for example it says "No work" when you should be allowed to work, you must get it corrected before you take any employment - see how to do this in Errors on 30-day vignette and Errors on BRP.

You can find full details in the Tier 4 policy guidance and in the Home Office's publication for employers, An employer's guide to right to work checks.

Tier 4 sponsor with a track record

Overseas higher education institution

Independent school

Any other Tier 4 sponsor

Work placements and internships

Last modified: 06 August 2019

Placements are an excellent way of obtaining work experience, especially if you are not otherwise allowed to take employment in the UK. The experience you gain can help you make decisions about your later career and is helpful when applying for jobs after your study.

You can usually do a work placement as part of your course even if you are not permitted to take employment. However, you are not allowed to do work placements if you are a part-time postgraduate student or  if your Tier 4 sponsor has probationary sponsor status and your course is below degree level.

What is a work placement or internship?

Can you change your mind about doing or not doing a work placement?

Taking a work placement outside the UK

What kind of work can you do?

Last modified: 05 November 2019

If you are allowed to work during study, you can apply for and accept jobs in most types of paid role, at any level. Below, we have set out the types of work you must not do.

If you earn a relatively high amount, for example around £15,000 a year or more, the Home Office might question your working hours. There are no limits on what you may earn or on your hours of work in vacations and after study, but make sure you never exceed your maximum weekly working hours in term time, and do not let work interfere with making progress on your course.

Self-employment and business activities are not permitted. However, the guidance for Start-up and Innovator endorsing bodies states that Tier 4 students are allowed to carry out preliminary activities such as writing business plans or negotiating contracts and they may incur pre-trading costs with a view to deciding whether to start a business under an immigration route such as Start-up, Innovator or the doctorate extension scheme - see Working after studies.

Our blog "A working definition" looks at many specific types of work opportunity, and whether the Tier 4 work restriction allows you to do them.


Work you are not allowed to do


Work with Tier 4 leave when you are no longer studying

Last modified: 02 August 2019

This information is of relevance to you if you are allowed to work during term time and in vacations, not if your work permission is limited to work placements. 

Most Tier 4 students have immigration permission that extends beyond the end of their studies. You can work full time for this extra period once you have completed your course, but you may not be able to work at all if you have not finished your course. There are some exceptions from the usual restrictions if you make an immigration application to switch into a work route.

You have completed your course

Moving into a work route

Leaving your course before completion or taking a break