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How to Get a Student Job in the UK

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Students making the leap from their native country to travel and study abroad are a daring, fantastic bunch of inquisitive people; letting their curiosities run wild and exploring the world. If their next stop is the UK to continue and flourish in their studies, then they may find securing a job overseas will also help.

Cost of living fluctuates across the UK cities and with many international students venturing to London, they’ll probably be annoyed to hear that it is currently the 8th most expensive city in the world (don’t shoot the messenger!). Regardless, it is important to know the tips when it comes to finding a job as an expat.

If you are from the EU, EEA or Switzerland

We have good news! There are no restrictions or extraordinary applying procedures when seeking work in the UK. Naturally, you will need to provide proof of your nationality, which your employer will ask for. The EEA (European Economic Area) also includes Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. Although, Romanian, Croation and Bulgarian students may need special permission.

If you are from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland

So international students may already know this, but they will have had to apply for a Tier 4 visa and in order to work in the UK, there are, unfortunately, some strict regulations. In order to find out if a student can work or not, they are able to check the visa sticker or the Biometric Residence Permit, which can be found in their passport.

No need to worry, we are almost over the boring part! Below is a quick and help list which outlines what Tier 4 visa students can and cannot do:

Tier 4 students can do:

  • During term time and studying full-time at degree level or higher can work 20 hours per week
  • During term time and studying full-time BELOW degree level can work 10 hours per week
  • During the holidays or after your programme ends, students are able to work full-time
  • Or a work placement which is part of your studies

Tier 4 students cannot do:

  • Self-employed work, freelancing or gig-economy, such as Deliveroo
  • A professional entertainer, sportsperson and coach
  • Work as a full-time employee in a permanent position
  • A work placement that is not assessed and part of your studies
  • Taking part in business activities

The best jobs for international students

Student Ambassador

This one is a favourite of ours. Not only is it an rewarding experience to work alongside your university peers, but it looks fantastic on a CV. Responsibilities include working on open days and freshers events and it is also a great chance to make friends with new people; making transition far more comforting.

Mystery Shopper

With many UK universities situated in the greatest cities, there are also a wide selection of shops and world-wide known department stores! Of course, we all like to spend, however, if a student works as a mystery shopper, they can also be paid for doing it!

Bar work

A popular option with UK students, it is also a growing trend with internationals too. With many offering flexible works and also during the evenings, it means students do not have to sacrifice precious lecture time to attend their job.

Warehouse work

With many warehouse and factory positions (Amazon, Post Office and DHL to same a few) are always widely available, especially during holiday season, it is widely accessible to international students. Be warned, it is physically demanding, so students should ensure they can healthily maintain their work/life balance lifestyle.

Retail work

If being a mystery shopper does not pay enough, or you need more hours then retail work will be more ideal. With plenty of opportunities available and typically experience is not required as training is given on the job.

Other little bits worth knowing

National Insurance Card

All EU and international students will need to apply for a national insurance card before applying for a job. It can take up to 12 weeks for it to arrive, so contact your closed Work and Pensions Department to find out more.

National Living Wage

  • Under 18s - £4.20
  • 18-20 - £5.90
  • 21-24 - 7.38
  • 25 and over - £7.83

To find out more about Tier 4 visas and working restrictions then the UK GOV website holds a plethora of information for international students coming over to the UK!

This article was written by Megan Bryant, an Online Marketer at StudentJob UK. Europe’s largest online jobs platform for part-time, internships and graduate positions!

Last update: 24 Oct 2018

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