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The University of Southampton
Student ServicesVisa and immigration

Working in the UK

Note: The term 'Student Visa' refers to both the Tier 4 (general) visa and also the new Student visa, which has replaced the Tier 4 (general) visa on 5th October 2020. 

The information on this webpage is about working in the UK for students with a 'Student visa' to study at the University of Southampton.

Before you apply for work in the UK, you must ensure you understand the work conditions of your visa. You can find full information about the conditions of your visa or immigration permission on the UKCISA website

If you have a Short-term Study visa, you are not permitted to undertake any work. You can find information about the conditions of your visa on the University's Short-term Study visa webpage

Students can work within certain restrictions.
Students can work within certain restrictions.

Working during your studies

Amount of time you can work

The amount of hours you can work each week will depend on:

Student visa for full-time study

If you have a Student visa to study a full-time programme at the University of Southampton, you can work in the UK but you must ensure that you do not work over your permitted hours.

If you have a Student visa for full-time study and your programme is at degree level or above, you can work a maximum of 20 hours per week during term dates and full-time during vacation dates. 

If you have a Student visa for full-time study and your programme is below degree level, for example a Pre-Sessional English language programme, you can work a maximum of 10 hours per week during term dates and full-time during vacation dates. 

Check your BRP card to ensure that your maximum working hours during term-time are correct. If you think there is a mistake on your BRP card and your permitted hours are incorrect, then please contact us

Student visa for part-time study

If you have a Student visa to study a part-time programme at the University of Southampton, you cannot work in the UK or do a work placement as part of your studies, regardless of your programme level. 

Term dates and vacation dates

Check the term dates and vacation dates for your programme level on our attendance and absence webpage 

UK Visas & Immigration have defined a week as a seven-day period from Monday - Sunday. This means that you cannot work more than your permitted hours between Monday and Sunday in the same week. Your working allowance per week cannot be distributed over more than a week or spread out over a month. For example, if you choose not to work your maximum permitted hours in one week, the hours you have not worked cannot then be carried over to another week. Your permitted hours resets every Monday. If you have any queries about this please contact us

You must not work more than the number of hours permitted during term dates because you will be breaching the conditions of your visa. 

Type of work you can do

If you have a Student visa to study a part-time programme at the University of Southampton, you cannot do any type of work in the UK or do a work placement as part of your studies. 

If you have a Student visa to study a full-time programme at the University of Southampton, there are some restrictions on the type of work you can do. 

Paid work and unpaid (voluntary) work are counted towards the amount of work you are allowed to do each week during term dates.

'Volunteering' is not counted towards the amount of work you are allowed to do each week, as long as it meets the definition of volunteering in the UKVI Student Policy Guidance, pages 104-105.

The types of work you must not do are:

If your employer is outside the UK, your hours of work undertaken in the UK still count towards your working limit.  

Working after your studies

Using your current Student visa

If you have successfully completed the full-time programme for which your Student visa was issued, you can work full-time until the expiry date of your visa. You can find more information about working after studies whilst you have a Student visa for a full-time programme on the UKCISA website. The end date of your programme, after which you can work full-time, depends on the level of your programme. 

Undergraduate and postgraduate taught students

You can find the end date of your programme on the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) which you used to apply for your current Student visa. You cannot work full-time until after the end date of your CAS. You can find more information about the term dates and vacation dates for your programme level on our attendance and absence webpage 

Postgraduate research students

The end date of your course is your award date. Your Faculty Graduate School Office will confirm your award date after you have submitted your final corrected thesis and this has been approved by the examiners. 

If you need to extend your Student visa to complete your studies, you are still subject to the limit on the amount of hours you can work during term dates until you have successfully completed your programme.

Leaving or suspending your studies

If you leave the University without successfully completing the programme for which your Student visa was issued, the University must report this to UK Visas and Immigration and remove sponsorship of your visa. Leaving your studies may include:

If the University removes sponsorship of your Student visa for any reason apart from successfully completing your course earlier than expected, you cannot work after the date that sponsorship has been removed. 

Switching from a Student visa to a Long-term work visa (Tier 2) in the UK

Note: The General work visa (Tier 2) will be replaced by the new Skilled worker visa from 09:00am on 1 December 2020. This page will be updated once the new guidance has been published by UKVI.

The University of Southampton Visa and Immigration Student Advice Service (VISAS) cannot offer advice about applying for work visas, however, this information may help to make you aware of options available to you after you have completed your studies. 

If you have a Student visa, you may be eligible to switch to a Tier 2 visa inside the UK, if you meet the requirements of the Tier 2 category. You can find further information about the Tier 2 visa category to see if you are eligible to switch to this visa on the UKCISA working after studies webpage and on the UKVI work in the UK webpage

The current eligibility requirements for the General work visa (Tier 2) are:

When can undergraduate and postgraduate taught students switch to the General work visa (Tier 2)?

You may be eligible to switch to the General work visa (Tier 2) if your current Student visa was issued for either a Bachelor's programme, a Master's programme, a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, or a Professional Graduate Diploma of Education at the University of Southampton. 

You will only be eligible to apply to switch to a General work visa (Tier 2) when you have successfully completed all of your study activities (sat all exams and presented all academic papers) for the programme for which your Student visa was issued. You must also apply before your current Student visa expires, if you will switch to a General work visa (Tier 2) in the UK. 

When can postgraduate research students switch to the General work visa (Tier 2)?

You will be eligible to switch to a General work visa (Tier 2) when you have completed at least 12 months' of your PhD during your most recent stay in the UK. You must also apply before your current Student visa expires. 

What documents are required to switch to the General work visa (Tier 2)?

You can find full information about the documents you must provide within the UKVI guidance Tier 2 of the points based system: policy guidance 

One of the documents you must submit for your General work visa (Tier 2) application is either:

The academic reference must contain the following information:

When can I start Tier 2 work?

If you were studying a part-time programme at degree level or above, you can start Tier 2 work once you have received your General work visa (Tier 2). You cannot start your Tier 2 work before you have received the new visa.

If you were studying a full-time programme at degree level or above and you provided your original degree certificate or transcript, produced after you have been awarded your qualification, you can start your Tier 2 work as soon as you have submitted your General work visa (Tier 2) application, as long as you have permission of your Tier 2 employer. 

If you were studying a full-time programme at degree level or above and you provided an academic reference, produced before you received your results and were awarded, and your Student visa was issued before 1 October 2019, you can only start Tier 2 work once you have received your General work visa (Tier 2). However, if your Student visa was issued on or after 1 October 2019 you can start Tier 2 work as soon as you have applied for the General work visa (Tier 2).

It will be the decision of your Tier 2 employer as to when you can start work.

Doctorate Extension Scheme

Note: The Doctorate Extension Scheme visa will be replaced by the new Graduate Route visa in Summer 2021. Please see the section on the Graduate Route below for further information.

If you are a Postgraduate Research student and are coming to the end of your PhD, you may be eligible to apply for the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) visa.

Please see our Doctorate Extension Scheme webpage for further information.

Graduate Route visa

UK Visas & Immigration will be launching the new Graduate Route visa in Summer 2021. 

Students who successfully complete the programme for which their CAS was issued will be able to apply for the Graduate Route visa. 

Please see the main points below:

At present there is only limited information available regarding this new visa. Please see the UKCISA working after studies webpage

Other visa and immigration options for working in the UK after studies

The University of Southampton Visa and Immigration Student Advice Service (VISAS) cannot offer advice about applying for work visas. 

You can find more information specifically for international students about working after studies on the UKCISA website

We recommend you attend the Prepare for the Fair events organised by the University Careers and Employability Service, which usually include information for international students looking to work in the UK after their studies. 

Useful External links

Please note: The University of Southampton cannot accept responsibility for the content of external websites.

UKVI - Student policy guidance UKCISA - Can you work?UKCISA - Blog: A working definition

Useful Internal Links

Attendance and absence from your studiesVisa drop-in and appointments
Visa drop-in and appointments

Visa drop-in and appointments

You can talk to one of our visa advisors by either coming along to one of our visa drop-in sessions, or you can book an appointment for an in depth discussion.

Enquiry form

Enquiry form

You can contact us through our online enquiry form. We strongly encourage people to contact us through the online enquiry form rather than to directly email us.

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