As an international student in the UK, it is possible to get a part-time job that doesn’t completely interfere with your studies. You can use the modest salary to go towards some of your living costs, and gain valuable work experience that would give you an edge in your CV. Working as an international Student in the UK , you’re allowed to work up to 20 hours at maximum per week during term-time and full-time during holiday breaks.
How much can you earn, and where to find them? And what kind of jobs ? Let’s explore in detail!
How many hours a student can work in the UK?
If you are an international student and your study program lasts about six months or more, you will require a Tier 4 General Student Visa to work in the UK. This visa can enable you to work up to 20 hours part-time during your term time.
During term break, you are allowed to work full-time.
As a student, you will typically be allowed to pick a job of your choice but you must comply with certain conditions. For instance, you cannot own or run your own business or be self-employed. Also, you may not work as a professional entertainer or sports person on a student visa while working as a student in the UK.
So, what jobs can I do as a student in the UK and how much money can I earn from this ?
For students currently in the UK, there are a number of options in retail and hospitality that you can choose that are flexible. You can also look for jobs that come under; a receptionist, babysitter, bookkeeper, bank teller, tax preparer, tutor, office clerk, etc.
The average part-time weekly wage across the entire country is £180 a week, but the top 15% of students take home more than £200 a week.
Check out here some of the popular jobs for international students in the UK:
Working as a Tutor
Some international students who are fluent in other languages go for the tutoring option as a side hustle. By giving in-college tuition to those who are in need of it, can make money while studying.
If you are one of those individuals with a specialist skill, you may pick different freelance projects to make some money. Not only will this allow you to gain relevant experience in your field, you will also be able to test your skills while working with a variety of people in the UK.
These positions can be found on online boards, such as studentgems.com, or they may be advertised within university portals by employers seeking interns or assistants. The best part about freelancing is that you can work whenever you want, and there are a bunch of different kinds of projects and start-ups you can choose from.
If we may reiterate for those who need it… manual labour is still very much a noble profession!
For instance, you could sign up locally as a painter, carpenter, cleaner, gardener, or a heavy goods mover. These jobs typically pay a bit better than the national minimum wage. One catch may be that these jobs are demanding and may not be as flexible.
Some students who aren’t as pressed for money in their living expenses can go for unpaid work such as work experience programmes and internships that are great for your CV. Some even dedicate their time to various philanthropic causes with volunteer work. These work hours may be counted as unpaid employment or they may be considered volunteer work based.
During the summer time off, many students take upon themselves internships that count towards their work experience. Depending on the conditions, the employment hours may or may not count towards your maximum weekly work allowance as sometimes these can be only food or travel allowances.
How to find work as a student in the UK?
Finding work may seem like a daunting process in the beginning, but it will be easy once you get the hang of it. There are a number of online resources available for international students, such as jobsite.co.uk and studentjob.com, even Linkedin can be a good way to find job prospects.
You can also check local recruitment agencies online, newspapers, social media, and private adverts to find something that may cater to you. If you’re really willing to be bold, you can even walk into organisations or offices with a copy of your CV and ask them if they have a position opening.
Make the Most of your Money
You want to enjoy a healthy and happy student life while you’re living in the UK. Knowing how much you need and calculating what you need for your living expenses is a great place to start…but keep in mind the cost of living may be higher or lower depending on where you currently live.
The UK Government suggests you will need around:
- £1,265 per month if you live in London for the majority of your studies
- £1,015 per month if you live outside London for the majority of your studies
These figures do not include any of your study or tuition fees.
There are some handy websites you can use to help budget your time and finances while you’re in the UK. One option is Expatistan, this calculates the cost of living in the UK using up-to-date and reliable crowd-sourced data.
Your Banking and Payments Options
In the UK, you pay and are paid in pounds and pence. You can make purchases at stores using coins and notes, or a debit or credit card registered through a bank as well as prepaid cards like Monzo are also handy.
Scotland and Northern Ireland have notes that look completely different, even though the currency is the same. Scottish and Northern Irish banks print their own notes.
These are typically accepted throughout the UK, but if you have any problems and need to change them to Bank of England notes, you can do so at any major bank like Lloyds, Halifax, Natwest, etc.
Most UK banks will be happy and willing to open an account for you while you’re living in the UK.
To open an account, you will generally need:
- Your passport
- A document confirming the institution you are/will be attending
- Proof of address at where you reside in the UK
- Reference and statements from your bank back home
To make the process easier, you might want to first check with the bank you currently bank with back home to see if they have a relationship with a UK-based bank and can help you set up an account much more easily.
To access money from your account, you can:
- Use your bank’s online or telephone banking service
- Visit your local bank branch
- Withdraw money from an ATM
- Ask to get ‘cash back’ when making an in-store purchase on your debit card
- Getting your phone and internet organised
You’ll probably want to get your phone and Internet sorted pretty quickly after arriving in the UK as it is an essential after all.
When it comes to phones, you have three main options:
Landline: You might be able to get a better deal with a provider by bundling your landline with Internet access, or you might choose not to have a landline at all and stick with your mobile (as what the majority of students do)
Mobile – prepaid: gives you control over how much you spend and you can stop using the service without any obligation. Prepaid SIM cards are widely available from UK shops and supermarkets, as well as from mobile phone providers in the UK
Mobile – contract: Depending on how much you use your mobile and what for, a contract with a UK-based mobile phone provider could be cheaper and provide more options like unlimited internet
Making International Calls
International calls can be expensive. You might want to buy an international calling card which gives you better rates than using your mobile. You can also use Skype or FaceTime instead which is free. You can buy international calling cards from most convenience stores in your area.
To call a UK number from overseas, you need to enter the country code (44) followed by the area code and then the telephone number.
To call another country from the UK, enter 00 followed by the relevant country code, followed by the area code then by the telephone number
Accessing the Internet
Most educational institutions provide free Wi-Fi which you can access with your student logon and password upon starting your course. If you happen to not have access to the Internet through your own laptop or computer, you can usually find one to use in the student library or loan a laptop, or at an off-campus public library or internet café.
Some places offer the choice of Wi-Fi, but some Internet cafes, for example, will charge by the hour. Don’t forget to check the security of the network you are connecting to and to not save any personal details on public computers.
Living Costs in the UK for International Students
So, you have made the decision to study in the UK as an international student… However, we are aware of the one crucial question that is on your mind during the application process…
How much money do you need to live in the UK?
We don’t want our international students to start their journey in the UK worried especially when it comes to living expenses.
So, we’ve prepared this guide to provide you with a clear picture of how much it actually costs to live in the UK. We’ve divided our guide into six categories that you should budget your monthly expenses while studying in the UK:
What are the accommodation costs in the UK for international students?
The cost of accommodation in the UK for international students depends entirely on the type of accommodation you are going to live in. The cost may also vary according to the city you are going to study in as well as the size whether it is a room or a flat. London is more expensive than its surrounding towns and cities.
Career advice for Graduates in the UK to Find a Job
Once you get through the door of starting your studies in the UK and completing them, you are finally prepared to join the practical world.
Leaving your student life behind is a hard transition for most of us, but one that we all have to face.
For international students, there are plenty of options to find work in the country and extend their stay through various visas. Let us help you explore your work options post-study in the UK by contacting us at Kampus Group.
A Glance at the Graduate Market
Since 2007, the job market has been constantly evolving and becoming stronger as the service sector creates openings fast. The UK simply has better job prospects than across Europe.
By the end of 2013, the prospects of medical students seemed it’s ultimate best with the employment rate at 93-95%. Media and Information Studies were at 93%, Agricultural Studies and Technology at 92%, Architecture and Business Finance at 90%. A recent BBC report claimed that students of social science are most likely to find relevant employment in senior or lateral managerial roles upon three months of graduation.
The growth in the employment sector keeps growing in these fields, and IT fields such as Software Engineering and Computer Science have been very profitable.
The creative industries are ever growing and make up to 5.6% of the total workforce within the UK. This includes subjects such as music, film, television, writing, sound engineering, etc. In short, if you graduate from the UK, your options are pretty much open with good employability options and opportunities even through your university.
Can an International Student Stay in the UK?
As long as the EU was in effect, students from the Union did not need a visa to achieve employment in the UK. They could also stay there as long as they wished.
However, things have changed ever since the Brexit ordeal. International students would need to extend their visa or apply for a work visa in the UK, with some new requirements, therefore it is good to keep up to date or contact us for further information on Post Study Work Visas.
There are two types of work visas: Tier 1 and Tier 2.
Both of these types have two subcategories depending on your particular situation. Most students who get offered a job before their visa expires will need to apply for the Tier 2 General visa. If you want to be eligible for Tier 1, you will have to show outstanding skills in your field of entrepreneurship or a substantial intention to make an investment in the UK. They may also be considered for a Tier 1 if they get endorsed by an accredited body for their remarkable ability in a particular area of research that they have produced.
Depending on what kind of study program you were originally enrolled in, you will get a specific time frame to apply for jobs in the UK before having to go back home.
For instance, students who study for one year get four months to find well-paying work after their graduation. It is always good to look further on the UK Immigration website for specific lists and conditions of visa requirements.
When should you start applying for graduate jobs?
The application process in the UK usually begins in September of your final year of study, start dates for the successful students begin in the following August/September. Be aware that graduate schemes have a lengthy application process with interviews and assessments being undertaken throughout the academic year.
Finding a Job
The UK is large with thousands, if not millions, of job openings across every sector and working as a first time graduate can be tough. For a foreign national, it can be troubling to look for work that is perfect for them but that also satisfies the requirements for a work visa as well as pay.
We do advise you to begin looking for jobs before your final year is over by looking into what the future of the country is looking like, as the pandemic has shown us to be extra prepared for the unexpected.
Have a thorough look at the sector you want to go into. This way, you will also get to know about the key players in the field and the potential space for you to shine in. You can have a look at the RBA site for industry reports and at the UK National Statistics site for an overview of what the market is looking like.
Most people search online for jobs, which is probably your best route to go down to. Usually, these job recruitment websites are free of charge and have options available. They usually don’t ask to pay unless you have very special requirements for the sector you’re going to. For instant connections and jobs, have a look at Job Monster, jobsite.co.uk, and TotalJobs as well as indeed or Linkedin. Linkedin is a great way to connect to your future contacts and area of specialisation.
Big companies sometimes advertise vacancies directly on their webpage, so have a look at the career tab on their website.
Options Offered by the University
In most cases, the host university has a career center and team that can help students get in touch with prospective employers as well as help with your CV. They may also hold job fairs at the end of the term for you to explore your options and find something as well as network.
Some universities have a dedicated student services office and team to take care of international students by offering them advice, support, and assistance in approaching certain companies, brands and employers.
Whenever you begin your job search and feel that things are a bit slow, it is a good idea to keep your university in the loop so they can have your back if things go awry.
You can also get information on current market trends and respectable salaries through the student services team. Sometimes universities also help you improve areas of your CV and provide you with interview tips that can get you closer to your dream job !