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The University of Southampton
Student ServicesVisa and immigration

Working in the UK

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 UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) website

The information on this webpage is about working in the UK for students with a Tier 4 (general) visa to study at the University of Southampton.

If you have a short-term study visa, you can find information about the conditions of your visa on the University's short-term study visa webpage

Tier 4 (General) students can work within certain restrictions.
Tier 4 (General) 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:

Tier 4 (general) visa for full-time study

If you have a Tier 4 (general) visa to study a full-time programme at the University of Southampton, you can work in the UK. 

If you have a Tier 4 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 Tier 4 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. 

Tier 4 (general) visa for part-time study

If you have a Tier 4 (general) 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 the University's Tier 4 attendance and absence webpage. The working week is from Monday to Sunday. 

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 Tier 4 (general) 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 Tier 4 (general) 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 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 Tier 4 Policy Guidance, paragraph 324.

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 Tier 4 (general) visa

If you have successfully completed the full-time programme for which your Tier 4 (general) visa was issued, you can work full-time until the expiry date of your visa. You can find more information about working after study has ended whilst you have a Tier 4 (general) 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 Tier 4 (general) 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 the University's Tier 4 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 Tier 4 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 Tier 4 (general) 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 Tier 4 (general) 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 Tier 4 to Tier 2 in the UK

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. 

Students with a Tier 4 (general) visa 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 Tier 2 (general) visa webpage

When can undergraduate and postgraduate taught students switch to Tier 2?

You may be eligible to switch to a Tier 2 visa if your current Tier 4 (general) visa was issued for either a Bachelor's programme, a Master's programme or a Postgraduate Certificate in Education at the University of Southampton. 

You will only be eligible to apply to switch to a Tier 2 visa when you have successfully completed all of your study activities (sat all exams and presented all academic papers) for the programme for which your Tier 4 (general) visa was issued. You must also apply before your current Tier 4 (general) visa expires, if you will switch to a Tier 2 in the UK. 

When can postgraduate research students switch to Tier 2?

You will be eligible to switch to a Tier 2 visa when you have completed at least 12 month's study during your most recent stay in the UK. You must also apply before your current Tier 4 (general) visa expires, if you will switch to Tier 2 in the UK. 

What documents are required to switch to Tier 2?

You can find full information about what documents you must provide for a Tier 2 application on the UKVI Tier 2 (general) visa webpage

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

The academic reference must contain the following information:

When can I start my Tier 2 work?

If you were studying a part-time programme at degree level or above, you can start your Tier 2 work when your Tier 2 visa has been issued. 

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 Tier 2 visa 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, you can start your Tier 2 work when your Tier 2 visa has been issued. 

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 - Tier 4 policy guidance UKCISA - Can you work?UKCISA - Blog: A working definition

Useful Internal Links

Frequently asked questionsAttendance and absence from your studiesVisa drop-in and appointments
Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

If you are uncertain about anything or you have a query, then our comprehensive frequently asked questions (FAQs) page may have the answer.

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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