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Working in the UK as a Student

Working in the UK as a Student

Working in the UK as a Student
Find out more about your working rights

Find out more about your working rights so that you are clear about what you may and may not do as a student.

It is important that you comply with the conditions of your visa and any restrictions imposed by the University, which are explained in some detail on this page.

Non-UK / Irish Nationals

Tier 4 / Student Visa Holder

If you have been granted permission on your visa and you are enrolled on a full-time course of study, you are permitted to work in the UK. Depending on your course of study, you will be granted permission to work 10 or 20 hours per week during term-time and full-time during vacation periods. However you must check with your School, as there may be further restrictions by the University on your working hours. If you are unsure of whether you are allowed to work, or how many hours you are allowed to work, please contact us.

These are general guidelines for what vacation periods are, but you must always check with your School.

  • Undergraduate students: Vacation periods are generally in line with the University calendar however some courses operate extended teaching periods outside the published semester dates, e.g. medicine, dentistry
  • Postgraduate taught students: Vacation periods are in line with the University calendar except during summer vacation, as Masters students must study full-time to complete their dissertation
  • Postgraduate research students: Vacation periods do not fall in line with the University calendar and students must seek permission from their School at all times when they wish to take a vacation

If you want to undergo a work placement as part of your course, it is very important that you tell the International Student Support team by emailing We will be able to tell you if you are allowed to do the work placement, and if there are any immigration implications. Your work placement must not take up more than 50% of your course.

Short-term Study and Visitor visa holders

Students who have applied in advance for, or were granted immigration permission on arrival as short-term students or visitors are not permitted to do any paid or unpaid work, and are not permitted to do work placements as part of their course. 

Finding a Job

You will not be guaranteed to find a job when you are studying at Queen's and you must make sure that you will have enough money to support yourself without a job before you come to Queen's. However, finding a job can be a worthwhile experience and will help you to meet people, practice English and get to know more about the culture of Belfast.

If you would like to try to find a job you can register with QWork. They will keep you informed of jobs both on and off campus. You can also look for jobs in local newspapers or online.

National Insurance Number

You will need a National Insurance number in order to get a job. To apply for a National Insurance number you will need to telephone the National Insurance helpline on 0845 915 7006. They will also tell you what information and documentation you will need to support your application.

Click here for the details of National Insurance local processing centres.

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 short term student visa, you cannot partake involuntary work, as your visa prohibits all work, paid or unpaid. Contact International Student Support for further information

Visas & Immigration
V&I Webpage
International Student Support
ISS Webpage