Employing overseas students
Overseas students who are studying in the UK and subject to immigration control may be employed part-time during term time or full-time during vacations without special permission (subject of course to usual University procedures) but must not:
- be employed for more than 20 hours a week during term time (unless on a work placement as part of their studies with the agreement of their education institution); or
- be employed full-time in a permanent job (as UKBA guidelines state that student visa holders must not pursue a career by filling a permanent, full-time vacancy)
Overseas students can be employed full-time for up to four months after completion of their studies, pending course results (providing their student visa is still valid). If a student submits a work visa application within this four month period, they may continue to work until a decision is reached on their work visa application.
A Tier 4 student visa holder awaiting the outcome of an application to switch into Tier 2 (General) which was submitted before their Tier 4 visa expired can fill a full-time permanent vacancy as long as they have successfully completed a course at degree level or above and they are employed in the role for which they are applying under Tier 2, otherwise a temporary contract of employment should be issued to the student worker until their work visa has been granted.
Student visa holders who intend to switch into Tier 2 (General) are required to provide documentary evidence that they have completed a course of study of at least one academic year in duration. Applicants do not need to have received their results, but must have handed in any final pieces of work and sat the final examination. Applicants who have only completed part of a course (for example, two years of a three year course) will not be eligible to switch into Tier 2. The only exception is for DPhil/PhD students who may switch into Tier 2 before they have completed their course, but they must have completed at least one academic year of their course before switching into Tier 2.
All student visa holders switching into Tier 2 must provide either an original certificate of award which clearly shows:
- Their full name;
- The title of the qualification/award;
- The name of the awarding body.
[Please note that provisional certificates are not accepted]
or an original academic reference, on headed paper, from their academic institution which contains the following information:
- Their full name;
- The course title/award;
- The course duration;
- The date of completion of the course (unless the applicant is a DPhil/PhD student, in which case the letter must confirm that the applicant has been studying for more than one academic year);
- The name of the awarding body;
- The reason why an original cetificate of award cannot be provided (where studies have been completed);
- That the certificate will be issued (where studies have been completed).
In addition, any student visa holders switching into Tier 2 who currently receive/ have received in the past twelve months, sponsorship for their studies in the UK from the British Government, any other Government or an international scholarship agency, must provide original written confirmation from the funding body giving consent to the Tier 2 application.
The UK Border Agency has recently introduced the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme for students who are close to finishing their DPhil/PhD. Visas issued under this scheme will be issued for 12 months, starting from the student's expected completion date, in order to enable them to look for and undertake work, or set up a business. Full-time permanent work is permitted under this Tier 4 visa category. More information about the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme can be found on the Student Information and Advisory Service website.
If you wish to offer an overseas student a position for which they would require permission to work, please be aware of the Home Office rules on switching immigration status.