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

Graduate Route

This immigration route has not yet been launched.  Therefore, details are subject to change.  Once full information on the scheme is released, this webpage will be updated.

The government announced that a new immigration route will be introduced to provide international students with the opportunity to apply to stay in the UK to work or look for work after they graduate.  

Undergraduate and Masters degree students who meet the eligibility criteria will be able to apply to stay for two years. PhD students who meet the eligibility criteria will be able to apply to stay for three years. The below information outlines the key points of the route, based on the details released so far.

Eligibility criteria

Please note details released so far about eligibility criteria:

  • you will be required to pay a visa application fee and the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge as part of the Graduate Route application
  • you must have a valid Tier 4 or Student Route visa (sponsored by a UK Higher Education Provider (HEP) with a track record of compliance) at the time of application
  • you must have successfully completed a degree at Undergraduate level or above in or after the summer of 2021
  • the route will not have a maintenance requirement
  • you will not be required to demonstrate English language ability as part of the application
  • you must obtain permission to remain in the UK under the Graduate Route if you have received official financial sponsorship from a government for your studies
  • you must have undertaken all study in the UK (however those who complete part of their course overseas as part of a study abroad programme or have studied part of the course outside the UK due to Covid-19 will also be permitted to apply). Please ensure you read paragraphs 3.20-3.25 of the Home Office ‘Covid-19: Guidance for Student sponsors, migrants and Short-term students: Temporary concessions in response to Covid19’ Guidance document for details of dates of entry to the UK in relation to Graduate Route eligibility, depending on your course of study
  • you will be required to meet requirements including passing security, identity and criminality checks.

When can I apply for the Graduate Route visa?

The start date of the Graduate Route has yet to be released.  Information released so far states that the route will launch in summer 2021.

Can I have dependants under the Graduate Route?

The Further Details Statement indicates that dependants who are already in the UK as a Tier 4 Dependant or Student Dependant, can make another Dependant application to be a Graduate Route Dependant.  Dependants must apply at the same time that the student applies under the Graduate Route.

Find out more

Doctorate Extension Scheme

UKVI have announced in the UK Points Based Immigration System Further Details Statement that DES is expected to close once the new Graduate Route opens as part of the new UK immigration system introduced in 2021.

The Doctorate Extension Scheme allows for students who are completing their PhD 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 will also find a list of other Doctorate Qualifications on page 69 of the Student and Child Student Guidance [published 5 October 2020].  If you are interested in applying for DES and are studying one of the Doctorate Qualifications listed in the Student and Child Student Guidance, please contact International Student Support for advice.

Eligibility criteria

Please note the below eligibility criteria.  Please refer to Appendix ST of the Immigration Rules for the full details:

  • you must not have had previous permission on the Doctorate Extension Scheme
  • you must, on the date of application, have valid permission as a Student or as a Tier 4 (General) student
  • you must be following a course leading to the award of a PhD
  • you must be sponsored by a higher education provider with a track record of compliance and that student sponsor must be the body awarding the PhD
  • the date of application must not be more than 60 days before the expected end date
  • you must have a DES CAS (which must have been issued no more than 60 days before the expected course end date)
  • you must be applying in the UK

When can I apply for the Doctorate Extension Scheme visa?

  • On or before your current visa expiry date and
  • Within 60 days of the expected course end date on your DES CAS and
  • Before you receive your PhD/eligible Doctorate Qualification award 

How do I request a Doctorate Extension Scheme CAS?

You can request a DES CAS from your Graduate School Office once you have completed your Viva and know the length of your corrections.  Once approved by your Graduate School, the CAS would be created and e-mailed to you by the PGR Admissions Team.  The DES CAS can only be issued within 60 days of your new expected course end date. 

Please contact International Student Support if your Graduate School Office advise that they cannot offer you a DES CAS at this time due to the length of your corrections.  You may need to apply to extend your student visa first in some cases.

Do I need ATAS clearance?

The current Student and Child Student Guidance (published 5 October 2020) states:

Students do not need to hold or apply for an ATAS clearance certificate when applying for permission on the DES unless they are currently studying a course (or undertaking a period of research that requires an ATAS clearance certificate), and the expected course end date given on the CAS represents the original course end date having been postponed for a period of more than 3 calendar months. The caseworker must check that they have obtained a new ATAS clearance certificate to cover the remainder of that course. 

Find out more

Start-Up visa

It is important to contact the Enterprise Manager to indicate your interest in the Start-Up Visa in good time before your visa is due to expire.  If you wish to be considered for the next panel meetings in 2021, you must contact and discuss your business idea with Marion Anderson (Enterprise Manager) who can advise specifically when the next panel meetings will be held.

University of Glasgow offer business development support and endorsements for the Start-Up visa route to our current students and graduates. The Start-Up visa route is for prospective business founders who wish to start up a business in the UK for the first time. Your business plan must meet the following criteria:




A genuine business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.


Applicant has the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business.

Evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets.

What do I need to do first?

You will need to discuss your business proposal and make an initial appointment with the University’s Enterprise Manager Marion Anderson (co-winner with Dickon Copsey of the enactus University Adviser Award for 2019) - to arrange an appointment please email 

You will 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 to determine whether a Start-Up endorsement will be offered by University of Glasgow. You would use the endorsement to apply for a Start-Up visa. 

Once the Start-Up visa has been granted, you must agree to a monitoring programme which is designed to help you develop and grow the business. 

You can contact International Student Support for information and advice on preparing the make the Start-Up visa application by e-mailing us.

You can also request an appointment with an International Student Support Adviser to have your application form and documents checked before you submit your online Start-Up visa application form.   

How long will the Start-Up visa be for?

You can expect to be granted the following length of time on your Start-Up visa depending on whether you are changing into the Start-Up visa category from a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa:

Type of applicant:

Length of Start Up visa:

Future potential visa options:

Application to switch into Start-Up visa or apply from outside the UK (current visa is not Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur)



2 years



Start Up visa holders will be expected to switch into the main Innovator route after 2 years if you wish to continue developing your businesses in the UK.

Application to switch into Start-Up visa from a 1st year Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa*

 *If your Tier 1 GE visa is endorsed by UoG and the Start-Up visa is also endorsed by UoG your business ideas will not need to meet new Start-up criteria for “innovation” and “scalability”. 



1 year

When should I apply for the Start-Up visa?  

  •       After current course has ended
  •       Within 3 months of the date on the endorsement letter
  •       On or before current visa expiry date (if applying inside UK)
  •       Within the 3 months before the date you will travel (if applying outside the UK)

If you are changing into the Start-Up visa category towards the end of your 1st year on a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa you must obtain a Start-Up endorsement letter and apply:

  • Before your Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa expiry date (if applying inside the UK)
  • Within 3 months of the date on the endorsement letter
  • Within the 3 months before the date you will travel (if applying outside the UK)

  Find out more

Skilled Worker visa

The Skilled Worker visa replaced the Tier 2 General immigration route.  It was introduced on 1 December 2020 for those who wish to apply to stay in the UK and have sponsorship from a licensed employer to do a job meeting minimum skill and salary levels.

Please see the UKCISA webpages for more information on the eligbility requirements and how to apply for a Skilled Worker visa.

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.