Working in the UK

Working in the UK

 Image of the University main buildingBelow is some information on employment regulations for international students including links to the current UKVI guidance on each category.  As immigration rules change regularly please ensure you check the current UKVI guidance before submitting an application.

Please also remember to check your individual permissions before undertaking any employment.

Further help:

Working in the UK during study

Non EEA Nationals 

If you are from a non-EEA country, you will probably find one of the following restrictions stamped or noted in your passport or ID card:

  • "Work (and any changes) must be authorised", or
  • "Able to work as authorised by the Secretary of State", or
  • "Student Leave to Remain. Restricted Work" - P/T Term Time, F/T Vacations or work 20 hours max in term time.

If you have one of these conditions on your visa, you can work in the UK up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during vacation periods. The 20 hour per week maximum during term time is not flexible and cannot be exceeded in any given week.

If you are studying a course below degree level, you will only be allowed to work 10 hours per week during term time.

Postgraduate Masters students are considered to be studying full-time during the months spent in the summer completing a dissertation and, as such, are not permitted to work more than 20 hours per week during this time.

If you have the following prohibition endorsed in your passport, "No work or recourse to public funds", then you cannot work in the UK.  If you are coming to the UK as a Student Visitor, you will have this stamp which means that you cannot work.  Please remember that working whilst you have a prohibition stamped in your passport is illegal.

Other EEA nationals and Swiss nationals

EEA or Swiss nationals (excluding Croatian nationals) are allowed to take employment without requiring a work permit.


For information on jobs, check out:


During your studies you may wish to spend time volunteering. The Student Representative Council provides a Student Volunteer Support Service which you can contact to find out about opportunities. There is a difference between unpaid employment (voluntary work) and volunteering, and you should always check with the organisation which offers you a volunteering opportunity whether it can be regarded as unpaid employment. This is because time you spend doing unpaid employment counts towards your maximum number of hours of work a week. Please check the conditions of your visa carefully (see above) before undertaking a voluntary position.

Working in the UK after study

Tier 2 (General)

The Tier 2 (General) visa category is for those who have been offered a graduate level job with an employer who is registered with UKVI as a Tier 2 sponsor.

The UKVI Register of Sponsors contains details on which employers are registered under Tier 2. There are salary requirements (please see the UKVI website for more information) and you must have received a Certificate of Sponsorship from a registered employer in order to apply. There are further requirements to be met, including English language and maintenance requirements.

If you have a Student or Tier 4 visa and intend to apply to switch to the Tier 2 (General) category from within the UK, you must have:

  • Completed a course leading to a UK recognised Bachelors or Masters degree, Postgraduate Certificate in Education or Professional Graduate Diploma of Education or
  • Have completed a minimum of 12 months study in the UK towards a UK PhD during your current period of leave.

Find out more:

Doctorate Extension Scheme

The Doctorate Extension Scheme, under the Tier 4 immigration category, allows for students who are completing their PhD course to apply to stay in the UK for a further 12 months beyond the end of their course to find skilled work or to gain further experience in their chosen field.


You are only eligible to apply under this Scheme if you meet the requirements below:

  • You must, on the date of application, have a valid Tier 4 (General) student visa which allows you to study on your PhD course (the course must be a PhD qualification or one of the doctorate qualifications listed in annex 4 of the current Tier 4 Policy Guidance); and
  • You must be studying at University of Glasgow (as University of Glasgow is a Tier 4 sponsor that is a UK HEI); and
  • You must not, on the date of application, have completed your course yet (you must not have received your letter of award); and
  • You must be applying from within the UK; and
  • You must have a Doctorate Extension Scheme CAS from University of Glasgow confirming that they expect you to complete your course on the stated expected course end date and that they will sponsor you during the 12 months you are on the scheme; and
  • You must be applying no more than 60 days before the expected course end date specified on your new Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme CAS from University of Glasgow; AND
  • You must apply for the Doctorate Extension Scheme visa before the course end date on your Doctorate Extension Scheme CAS and before your Tier 4 visa expiry date (whichever falls soonest).

ATAS clearance:

The Tier 4 Policy Guidance (version 07/18, paragraph 129) explains:

You do not need to hold or apply for an Academic Technology Approval Certificate (ATAS) to cover your time spent on the Doctorate Extension Scheme. If, however, you are currently studying a course (or period of research) that requires an ATAS Clearance Certificate, and your course end date given on the CAS is postponed for a period of more than 3 calendar months, you must apply within 28 days of being notified of the change in course for a new ATAS Clearance Certificate to cover the rest of your time on that course.

How to apply for the Doctorate Extension Scheme under Tier 4:

If you meet all of the eligibility requirements above and have all of the supporting documents required under the Scheme, you must apply using the Tier 4 (General) Student visa application.

Find out more:

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa 

The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category is to be closed and replaced by a new working category called the ‘Start-up’ category. This change will take effect from 6 July 2019. Any student wishing to switch to the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category in the UK or make a new application from overseas, must submit their application by 5 July 2019.

Please see our Latest News pages for information on the new Start-Up visa that will replace the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa in April 2019.  As soon as UKVI release further information on the Start-Up visa we will update this webpage.  Existing 1st year Tier 1 GE visa holders will see very little change.  You will be able to switch into the new Start-up route if you have not yet extended your Tier 1 GE visa (i.e. for the 2nd year).  Your existing Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa will still be valid until it expires and you do not need to take any action.  You would only plan to switch into the Start Up visa route at the same time that you would have applied for the 2nd year of the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa (before your current visa expires). 

Existing Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa:

UKVI describe this category as being aimed at those graduates who have been endorsed by UKVI-approved Higher Education Institutions as having a genuine and credible business idea. This visa category allows non-EEA graduates to stay in the UK for at least 1 year (it can be extended for 1 more year).

In the 2018-19 session, University of Glasgow has been allocated 20 general endorsements to allow students to apply for the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa.

Students should work closely with Student Enterprise to develop the proposal and formulate a business plan. This will then be assessed and considered by an experienced panel before the student can apply for the visa. Once the visa has been approved by UKVI, the student must agree to a monitoring programme which is designed to help them develop and grow the business.

It is important to contact the Enterprise Manager to indicate your interest in the Tier 1 Graduate Entrpreneur Scheme in good time before your visa is due to expire.  If you wish to be considered for the July or September panel meetings, you must apply to Marion Anderson (Enterprise Manager) before the end of May.  Likewise, students wishing to be considered for the panel meeting in November must apply to the Enterprise Manager before the end of September.

Find out more:

Other categories

For information on other immigration categories that may be of interest to students at the end of their studies, you may wish to refer to the UKCISA website.


National Insurance numbers

National Insurance (NI) Numbers

A National Insurance (NI) number is a personal number which is used to record your National Insurance contributions and tax that you pay. You should apply for a National Insurance number when you have started work or if you have the offer of a job.

To apply, you should contact the National Insurance number application line. You may then be sent a postal application or be required to attend an 'evidence of identity' interview. There is no charge to apply for/obtain a National Insurance number.