International Student Support

Working in the UK

Can I work in the UK?

If you have been granted permission on your visa immigration status and you are enrolled on a full-time course of study you are permitted to work in accordance with your visa conditions. However, the University recommends that if you are studying full time, you work no more than 15 hours per week. If you bring your passport and visa (or Biometric Residence Permit) to International Student Support we can confirm whether or not you can work.
If you have a student visitor visa or did not apply for entry clearance prior to travelling to the UK, then you cannot work in the UK. Please check with your School before you start to work as although the legal limit to work is 20 hours per week there might be restrictions set by your Schools which mean that you cannot work as many hours as your visa permits.

I have found a job but have been asked for a National Insurance Number – what is this?

If you are going to take paid employment in the UK, you will need a National Insurance (NI) number. Every NI number is unique and made up of letters and numbers like this example: AB 12 34 56 C (example only). You can start work while you are waiting for your National Insurance number. For further information on applying for a National Insurance Number, please see here.

Voluntary Work

Voluntary work Voluntary work is unpaid work which gives you the chance to meet local people of all ages and backgrounds and to learn more about Belfast and your local community. Voluntary work helps you develop employability skills such as leadership, communication and team-working while taking part in fun activities. It also enables you to provide a valuable service to the local community. You can volunteer for just a few hours, or make a more long- term commitment. Voluntary work and your visa If you are in the UK on a student visa, voluntary work counts towards your 20 hours per week term-time working limit. If you have a student visitor visa, you cannot do voluntary work, as your visa prohibits all work, paid or unpaid. Contact International Student Support for further information.