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Latest information for students and staff

Last updated: 20 Jul 2021 3:23pm

Depending on your visa you will have specific permissions if and how you can work in the UK during or after your studies.

Working during your studies

Students on full time degree-level courses holding a Student (previously Tier 4) visa are permitted to work in the UK

Requirements and rules

  • Up to 20 hours per week during University term time. UKVI has defined a "week" as "a seven day period starting on a Monday and ending on a Sunday"
  • Full-time in vacation periods
  • Full-time during term time if on a work placement that is an integral and assessed part of the course - any work placement must not be longer than 50% of the total course length (unless there is a UK statutory requirement for the course to contain a specific period of work placement which exceeds this limit.)
  • As a student union sabbatical officer for up to two years.
  • If you hold a Tier 4/Student visa for a part time course you will not have the right to undertake any work, paid or unpaid, in the UK.

Tier 4/Student visa holders  can only work on a temporary basis - they cannot be employed on a permanent contract. They cannot be self-employed or set up a business, or be employed as a professional sportsperson or as an entertainer. If you have another type of visa, please check if you can work during your studies with the International Student Advice team. UKVI  provides some examples of what would be considered "engaging in business" (so you would not be allowed to do this) in the The Student Route Caseworker  guidance. This includes:

  • Setting up a business as a sole trader or under a partnership arrangement and that business is either trading or establishing a trading presence;
  • Being employed by a company in which you hold shares of 10% or more (including where the shares are held in a trust for you); or
  • Working for a company where you also hold a statutory role, such as a director.

Even if you are working for a company or client outside of the UK if you are physically in the UK while you are doing the work then this counts towards your 20 hour limit. It also means that if you are doing any freelance work for someone outside the UK (e.g. editing journal articles) while you are in the UK this would count as self-employment and so is not allowed.

Further information about working during your studies is provided by UKCISA. They have also produced a very useful blog covering some of the common issues around working during your studies and looking at different types of work that would not be permitted.

After your course has finished - your visa status

Once your course has officially finished, you will be classed as on 'vacation' and can work for up to 4 months or until your Tier 4/Student visa expires (whichever is sooner). If you wish to take a permanent full-time job in the UK after your course, you will need to change your visa status. You may be able to apply for permission as a Skilled Worker up to three months before the expected course completion date ( the official end date stated on the CAS.) If you are completing your Degree course in summer 2021 you may be eligible to apply for a two year post study work visa provided that- if you are studying remotely- you arrive in the UK with a Tier 4/Student visa before April 6th 2021.


Q: If I want to work 25 hours one week but only 10 the next is this OK? It averages out at less than 20 hours per week?
A: No. This is not an average figure. You can work only 20 hours per week MAXIMUM during term-time.

Q: I am a Masters student and I am doing my dissertation over the summer, but only during some evenings. Can I work full time as it is the summer holiday?A: If you are on a 12-month full-time Masters degree, you cannot work full-time during the summer as you are not considered to be on vacation during that period. This is the same for PhD students who are only on vacation during University closure periods or if formally agreed by your supervisor in writing.

Q: My employer needs a letter from the University confirming my term-dates. Where can I get this?
A: Letters confirming term dates are provided by the department. This should confirm when you are considered to be on vacation from the University and when you are not. The University cannot provide a letter confirming your working rights - these are detailed on your visa and it is your employer's responsibility to check if you can work or not. The Home Office has updated its guidance for employers on right to work checks for employers.

Q: The Christmas holiday ended on 5th January, but my department has an 'assessment period' until 23rd January. I don't have any exams. Can I therefore work full-time during the assessment period?
A: No, unless your department confirms in writing that you are considered to be on vacation from the University during that period.

Q: How do I know if the work I want to do during term-time is an assessed and integral part of my course?
A: Your department will know. If it is assessed and integral, the department should know where you are working and have some formal oversight / arrangement with the employer. There should be some formal procedure for assessing the work you are undertaking.

Q: I have handed in my dissertation early, but my formal course end date isn't until 30th September. Can I work full-time now?
A: No. You cannot work full-time until the formal end date of your course has passed, unless you agree a revised course end date with your course officer and the visa compliance team. However,  this can affect the duration of your visa and you should seek advice from the International Student Advice Team. Once the formal end date has passed you are considered to be 'on vacation' for a maximum period of four months or until the end of your current visa, whichever is sooner, so can work full-time on a temporary basis at that point.

Q: What does being ‘self-employed’ mean? How do I know if I am self-employed?
A: There is a useful definition of ‘self-employment’ on the UK Government website. If you are not sure whether the work that you want to do will involve you being ‘self-employed’ then you should check this with the International Student Advice Team before you start. You need to be aware you would be  in breach of your Student Immigration conditions if you work on a  self-employed basis whilet in the UK on a Tier 4/Student visa.

Q: Where can I get advice on working in the UK during or after my studies?
A: The International Advice Team in the Student Centre can advise on your rights to work in the UK and your immigration options in relation to working after you complete your course. The Careers Service and Student  Development Office can help with job applications, preparing for interviews, job searching, careers advice and CV preparation.

Visa opportunities after your studies

  • Start-up scheme
    City, University of London is an endorsing body under the Start-Up Scheme. The Scheme is open to final year City students and recent City Graduates who have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea and have not previously set up a first business in the UK to apply for selection through a selection process over the summer ply for endorsement.
  • Skilled Worker Category for international graduates
    if you’ve been offered a skilled job in the UK by a licenced employer including if r you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland and have not already applied under the EU settlement Scheme or are eligible to do so before 30th June 2021 .
  • Doctorate Extension Scheme
    PhD students are currently able to apply for further permission  of 12 months under the Doctorate Extension Scheme. This will be replaced with the  Graduate Immigration Route visa in summer 2021 allowing PhD student to work for three years
  • Youth Mobility Scheme (T5)
    Nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Taiwan and Hong Kong (SAR), British Overseas Citizens, British Overseas Territories Citizens and British Nationals (Overseas) can apply to work in the UK for 2 years.[check
  • Temporary Worker - Government Authorised Exchange(T5)
    The scheme allows you to undertake specific types of work in the UK for a period of one year or for two years, depending on the scheme. You must have a Tier 5 sponsor.

Post-study work visas ‘Graduate Immigration Scheme’

In an exciting development for international students, the Home Office has announced that it is creating a new immigration route in 2021(Graduate Immigration Scheme) which will enable international students with a current Tier 4/Student visa to apply for a two year post-study work visa after they have completed their course. Full details are expected early in 2021 and have not yet been confirmed and therefore the information contained on this page may be subject to change.

All of City University of London’s Degree Programmes that international students are studying for  on a Tier4/Student visa  should be eligible.


Q: Who can apply for the Graduate Route post-study work visa?
A: The Graduate Route is open to international students who have spent a minimum of 12 months in the UK and completed an undergraduate or postgraduate degree or eligible Postgraduate Professional Diploma at City and who have valid Tier 4/Student immigration permission or have applied for and have received an ‘exceptional assurance’ from the Home Office at the time of application.

Q: What if my course is 12 months or less and I started my course by distance learning in 2020 or 2021?
A: Masters students who started their courses in September 2020 or January 2021 remotely and have not yet arrived in the UK as a result of coronavirus will need to arrive in the UK on or before 27th September 2021 in order to qualify. They will  automatically meet the requirement to have studied in the UK for 12 months if they have been distance learning between 20 March 2020 and 27 September 2021.

Q: What does the Graduate Route mean for you?
A: The visa will allow you to take any work without needing any additional permission or to look for work for up two years after graduating from university. For PhD students, the visa will be valid for 3 years. You will be eligible to switch into other work related visas eg Skilled Worker before your visa expires.

Q: When does the Graduate Scheme launch?
A: Applications for the Graduate Immigration Route opened on 1 July 2021. However, please do not apply BEFORE you receive a confirmatory email from the visa compliance team that a report has been made confirming successful completion of your course to the Home Office. You will be notified by email when this has been done.

Q: When do you apply for the visa?
A: You can apply under the Scheme once you are awarded your Degree and you have been notified that successful completion has been reported by the university to the Home Office. You must have both completed your course and have valid immigration permission (or an exceptional assurance*) to be eligible.

Q: How do you apply for the visa?
A: The route will require an immigration application to be made from within the UK ONLY. You can apply on the website using the ‘UK Immigration ID Check’ app to verify your identity. You will need a copy of your current Biometric Residence Card (BRP), passport copy and the CAS number that you used when you applied for your current visa.

Those who are not eligible to use the app will have to complete the online application form and then book an appointment to give their biometrics.

An immigration application fee (£700) is payable together with the Immigration Health Surcharge( £624 per year). PhD applicants will need to pay the IHS for three years.

*in accordance with the UKVI Guidance on Coronavirus Concessions for Students

Q: Where can I find more information?
A: Please go to UKCISA for more information about the Graduate Scheme