Can I work while studying in the UK?
The UK left the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020 and entered a transition period, currently due to end on 31 December 2020, during which EU law continues to apply in the UK. The UK’s relationship with the EU beyond the end of the transition period has not yet been finalised. Please note that the guidance below reflects the law as it applied before the UK’s departure from the EU, and as it will continue to apply throughout the transition period.
Whether you can work in the UK while you are studying depends on what country you are from and your immigration status. It can be a complex area and so you should seek advice for your specific circumstances. The following applies as a general rule.
- If you are from a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, during the Brexit transition period (which is scheduled to end on 31 December 2020) you can work in the UK while studying and do not normally need permission to work in the UK. You need your passport or identity card, and may need to show this to your employer as proof of identity. The position from 1 January 2021 has not yet been finalised.
- If you are from outside of the EEA – the position varies from country to country. We recommend consulting the website of the UK Council for International Student Affairs to check the position for the country you have come to the UK from.
The UK earnings of international students will, except in rare circumstances, be taxable in the UK, whether they are from part-time jobs in the UK during term time or a full-time job during the vacation.
Whether or not you actually pay tax, and at what rate, will depend on how much income you have and whether or not you are eligible for the personal allowance.
The tax rules applicable to the earnings of students are set out in the working section of this website.
Some double taxation agreements may provide that small amounts of UK income are exempt from tax for certain students. The only way to check is to examine the particular agreement for the country concerned. The current double taxation agreements are listed on GOV.UK.