Being an international student in the UK is a once in a lifetime experience that opens you up to new horizons and adventures. Many students search for ways to make their study abroad experience richer, by taking on a part-time job alongside their studies. Not only is it a great way to meet new people, but it gives you a head start on entering the workforce, setting you up for success for when you graduate and start your career. Here’s everything you need to know about part-time jobs for international students in the UK.
Before you start applying for part-time jobs in the UK, you should first see if you’re eligible to work as an international student. Two aspects determine your eligibility to work in the UK.
You need to ensure your university or academic institution has no restrictions for international students working. Some universities allow international students to work only on-campus, so ask about that.
Which International Students are Not Eligible for Part-Time Jobs in the UK?
Rules and Regulations for Part-Time Jobs For International Students in the UK
Now that you’re sure that you’re eligible to work part-time as an international student, you need to know the rules and regulations you should follow.
Your working hours are mainly dependent on the course or programme you’re studying as well as your university’s rules. Those with a student visa issued for full-time degree-level studies are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week, the same rules apply for students on a short term program at a foreign higher education institution in the UK.
This applies to both paid and unpaid work and cannot be averaged over a longer period. The same visa allows students to work full-time during vacations or after receiving a work permit (Tier 2).
There are further restrictions for international students regarding the type of work they can partake in. The main condition is not taking on a full-time position. You also can’t be self-employed, a freelancer, or in any kind of consulting. You must be given a formal written statement by the employer, such as an employment contract or a 'worker's agreement'. You also can’t initiate or engage in business activity. Engaging in business is defined as working for a business in a capacity other than an employee, like setting up a trading business or holding shares in a company where you have a statutory role. You cannot be employed as an entertainer, whether it’s paid or not, or a professional sportsperson, including a sports coach. Moreover, unless you’re part of a foundation program, you can’t work as a doctor or dentist under training.
Once you’ve finished your studies but still have a valid visa, you are allowed to take on a full-time position with the same applicable rules and regulations. As per the latest post-study work visa rules, any student enrolled in a UK university can stay in the country after graduation for up to 2 years which gives students a chance to find work related to their degree. During that time, you can apply for a post-study work visa. This applies to undergraduate (Bachelor), post-graduate (Master), and even PhD graduates.
Many universities offer part-time job opportunities for international students to help them reap all the benefits of working while studying. It’s the ideal option for students since they can earn money working right on campus in their free time. The positions could be during term-time and/or during summer vacation when some professors seek research assistants and some university facilities like the library are still operating. Other possibilities include working in laboratories, computer labs, the gym, reception, cafeteria, or as a campus guide.
Off-campus part-time jobs are also a great way to get out of your comfort zone and experience the world outside the university. There are many options for you to consider, you just need to decide what kind of experience you want to gain and the pay range you’re willing to work for. Popular part-time jobs for international students include working as a cashier with a pay ranging between £8-9 per hour, a delivery driver (£4-6 per delivery), assistant in retail stores (£8-9 per hour), Delivery driver, library assistant (£10-12 per hour), or waitressing (£10-18).
Under the student visa rules, you can only undertake an internship during your university’s official vacation periods. Your employer should ask for an official academic calendar from the university’s website.
As for medical students, the International Student Office provides details of their work placements which are part of their course at the beginning of the academic year. This is also applicable to Masters students unless they have a short internship as part of the course. In that case, the International Student Office will need to provide the Home Office with the internship’s details in advance. Moreover, postgraduate research students are only allowed to undertake internships if it contributes to their PhD research.
Volunteering in the UK is permitted for international students, with a charity organisation or a voluntary sector organisation. You can participate in activities like volunteering for a beach clean-up or helping in events or festivals. However, you must be aware of the distinction between volunteering and voluntary work as voluntary work is not allowed for students. To differentiate between them, volunteering will not have a written or verbal contract of employment, and you don’t have to attend or leave at particular hours. Volunteering would also not entail getting any financial payment except for compensation for travel and subsistence expenses.
Now that you’re aware of what makes you eligible to work in the U.K, as well as the regulations you should follow, it’s time to start job hunting! When it comes to finding part-time jobs for international students in the UK, the process could take time, so you need to start as early as possible. Once you’ve prepared your paperwork and written a compelling CV, you should head over to your university’s career team, who can help you find a suitable local job or internal on-campus jobs. Social media is also a great source of finding part-time opportunities, especially LinkedIn, so make sure you take time to polish your profiles for potential employers.
Many students worry about taking a part-time job while studying because they think it might affect their academic performance. However, having a part-time job has many benefits that you can discover once you find a balance between study and work. Not only is there the obvious perk of having extra money, but you also gain financial skills regarding managing this money.
It doesn’t stop there; having a part-time job as an international student can help you gain interpersonal skills in the workplace that will greatly benefit your future. Entering the workforce will help you learn how to work both individually and as part of a team. It will also teach you how to interact and communicate with all kinds of people successfully. You’ll come out of the experience with a lot of lessons learned as well as some valuable connections.
Now that you know all that there is to know about part-time jobs for international students in the UK, you are ready to start looking for the perfect job. Just make sure you choose your part-time wisely since it will start your professional career and shape your perception of it. Once you create a balance between your part-time job and academics, you’ll have a one-of-a-kind, rich university experience.
Now you know all there is to know about part-time student jobs in the UK, take a look at Jooble and search and apply for thousands of part-time student jobs.