Work restrictions

If you're planning to work during your studies, you'll need to be aware of any restrictions that might affect you.

Some of these rules apply if you do paid work or unpaid voluntary work during your time in Leeds.

Standard visit visa

As a visitor you are not permitted to work in the UK. You can volunteer for 30 days but only with a registered charity.

Short-term study visa (English Language courses)

If you're in the UK on a short-term study visa, you're not allowed to do any paid work or unpaid work.

Tier 4/Student visa

If you have a Tier 4/Student visa, your visa or passport stamp should state "work restricted" or "able to work as authorised by the Secretary of State". This means that you have permission to work or volunteer for a restricted number of hours. Certain types of work are still prohibited for students even if you have the right to work.

The number of hours per week that you are allowed to work depends on when you made your last immigration application and the type of course you are studying. There are different rules for working in term time and during vacations.

Check the UKCISA web page for more details of the number of hours you are permitted to work.

Please note that to enable you to work in the UK, your current immigration permission (visa) must be issued as a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) or as a vignette (sticker) in your current passport. If you current visa is a vignette in your previous passport then you must make an application for your visa to be now issued as BRP to enable you to work.

Please apply online to make this application and your visa will be re-issued as a BRP to enable you work in the UK.

Undergraduate Students

You can work 20 hours per week during term time and full time in your holiday periods and when you have fully completed your course (when the course end date has passed).

Masters students

If you're studying a 12 month Masters course, you should note that the summer period is set aside for full time study to focus on writing your dissertation. It isn't considered a holiday so you shouldn't work full time during this period until you have submitted your dissertation and the course end date has passed.

Research degree students

A Tier 4/Student visa permits you to work up to 20 hours per week. Full-time postgraduate research students are expected to work on their research project for periods of time that are comparable to a full-time academic post (the equivalent of an average of at least 37 hours a week). This does not include paid work. It is inevitable that your work load will be variable during the course of the year and it should be agreed with your supervisor(s).  When approaching a specific deadline such as the submission of a transfer report or thesis additional hours of work will be necessary.  Research students are encouraged to maintain a good work/life balance. Information about holiday entitlement is contained in the research student guidance.

Your holiday entitlement is five weeks per year in addition to bank holidays and the days when the University is closed. The vacation periods which apply to taught students don't apply to you. You may work full time during your holiday period if you wish.

You can also work full time after completing your course, which is after you have completed your viva; corrections (if required) and deposited your final e-thesis.

In all cases research students should discuss with their supervisor before taking up any work commitments. 

Prohibited work

If you've got a Tier 4/Student visa, you must not engage in business, self-employment or provide services as a professional sportsperson or entertainer. You must not pursue a career by taking a permanent full time vacancy.

If you break the working restrictions

The law on working is very strict and the authorities check local employers to identify students who break the rules. If you work or volunteer for more than 20 hours per week during term time or, if you engage in work which is prohibited, this is a criminal offence. The authorities may fine you, detain you and remove you from the UK without notice. This could affect any future visa applications you make to come back to the UK.


Employers in the UK have a duty to ensure that their employees are entitled to work here. The University is unable to produce documents for students confirming entitlement to work. If your employer needs confirmation that you are entitled to work they should call the Home Office Employer’s Helpline on 0300 123 4699.