Working in the UK

University Careers Advisory Service

We strongly encourage students who are considering working to refer to the University Careers Advisory Service for information and guidance on:

  • Employment during studies
  • Employment after studies
  • Job vacancies
  • Writing CVs and covering letters
  • Interview preparation
  • Careers events and workshops

Additional information on employment after your studies is available from UKCISA. For information on the Skilled Migrant visa, please visit the Home Office website.

EEA and Swiss Nationals

EEA and Swiss national students can work in the UK if they have pre-settled or settled status.

Further information about working during studies for EEA/Swiss nationals and their dependents who do not have pre-settled or settled status is available on the UKCISA webpage or in the section below for non EEA nationals.

Non EEA Nationals

Working after your studies

The Graduate or PSW visa as many students refer to it, was launched in July 2021:

Any international student who will successfully complete their studies, this means being eligible for the qualification for which your CAS was issued, will be eligible to apply for the two or three year Graduate route.

Further guidance on the route can be found in this useful UKVI document. A link to the online application form can be found on the UKVI pages.

  • The route is open to international students who have successfully completed a course of study at undergraduate (SCQF level 9/10) level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance, and who have a valid and extant Tier 4 or student visa at the time of application;
  • You should only submit a Graduate route visa application after you have received notification from the University of your final results and we have confirmed that a report that contains your name has been sent to the UK Home Office, do not apply before you have received an email from the Visa and Compliance team.

Concessions due to Covid-19

Information on concessions due to Covid-19 related to the date you need to be in the UK to be eligible for this route can be viewed on the UKCISA website.


If you wish to have your Dependants in the UK with you during the period of your Graduate route visa, they need to have a valid Dependant visa and be in the UK when you apply.  Dependants cannot apply from overseas after you have been granted the Graduate route visa.

Working during your studies

If you enter the UK on a visitor or short-term study visa then you are not permitted to take employment in the UK. This includes unpaid employment or work placements even if they are part of your course.

If you enter the UK with a Tier 4 (general) or student visa then this will feature either a prohibition or restriction condition relating to employment. If you are prohibited from taking employment your visa will clearly state that you are not allowed to work, or engage in any business or profession.

In practice, most Tier 4 or student visa holders are given a restriction work permission, which is usually worded 'able to work as authorised by the Secretary of State' or 'work (and any changes) must be authorised'.

Despite the wording used, holders of visas with either of these conditions can work within these conditions without needing further permission, but they must not work more than the maximum hours they have been granted.

This restriction employment condition allows Tier 4 and student visa holders to work up to 20 hours a week during term time, and full-time during vacations if they are studying at degree level or above.

Students studying any other course will only be able to work up to 10 hours a week during term time, and full-time during vacations. The maximum number of hours you can work in a week (either 20 or 10) will be clearly shown on your visa.

The UKVI definition of 'week' is 'a period of 7 days beginning with a Monday'.

Please note that term-time covers all periods of your course when you are doing academic work and includes, for example, preparing for examinations, time spent producing MSc projects, dissertations and writing up research thesis until final submission.  You cannot work full-time while waiting for results. 

For more information about working during your studies please visit the UKCISA website.


Your family members will be able to come to the UK as a Tier 4 or Student Visa Dependant, and therefore work, if you are either:

  • a government-sponsored student taking a course that is over six months long, or
  • taking a postgraduate course that is at least 12 months long and you are studying at an institution that meets the UKVI's definition of a higher education institution.

For more information about dependants, please visit the UKCISA website.