Log in



Overseas students

If you have a Student or Tier 4 (General) Student visa then you can usually work part-time during your studies. The wording on your visa, either on the Entry Clearance sticker in your passport or in the “Remarks” section on you Biometric Residence Permit will state your work conditions. You must check this carefully.

You can work if your visa states that you can. Your visa will usually outline one of the following statements:

  • Work (and any changes) must be authorised
  • Able to work as authorised by the Secretary of State
  • Work as in Tier 4 Rules
  • Restricted Work. P/T term time. F/T vacations
  • Restricted work term time
  • Work limited to max 20 hrs per week during term-time
  • Work limited to max 10 hrs per week during term-time

 You cannot work if your visa has one of these statements:

  • No work,
  • Work prohibited.

During term time you must not work for more than 10 or 20 hours a week, depending on the wording on your visa.


More information on this can be found here.

Tax and National Insurance

Everyone working in the UK whether it be home student or EEA students and International students is liable to pay National Insurance and Income Tax. The amount payable for these is dependent on the amount you earn. Please note that having a National Insurance number and a tax code does not mean you have permission to work.

Income Tax

Income tax is paid by everyone, including students, who earn over a certain amount. Everyone has a personal allowance which you don't pay tax on. Student income such as Maintenance Loans and Grants are tax free and do not form part of your Personal Allowance.

In 2016/17 tax year, you can earn £11,000 before you start paying tax on your income. Income above this is charged as follows:

Earnings between £11,000 - £43,000   -    20% deduction of your gross pay

Earnings between £43,001 - £150,000 -   40% deduction of your gross pay

Earnings £150,000+                                -   45% deduction of your gross pay

Emergency Tax is payable if your employer does not have your tax code and assumes basic rate allowance, all at 20%. This is payable on all income, but you can receive a refund if you have paid too much.

National Insurance

National Insurance (NI) contributions help you to build up entitlement for some state benefits including retirement pensions. It also helps pay for the National Health Service.

If you are working in the UK, you will pay National Insurance Contributions from the age of 16 until you reach retirement age. You start paying NI contributions once you start earning more than a certain amount.

Earning under £155 per week – You will not have to pay National Insurance contributions

Earning £155 - £827 per week – You will pay 12% of your gross pay

Earning over £827 per week – You will pay an additional 2% of your gross pay

Your employer will deduct your National Insurance contributions from your wages automatically and will pass this on to HMRC along with your tax.

Rights in Employment

Your Employment Contract

A contract of employment is formed once you agree to work for an employer in return for pay. A contract is an agreement between yourself and your employer, which defines the basic entitlements and obligations that you can expect from each other during your employment. By agreeing to accept the job you show that you are in accordance with the terms and conditions offered by the employer. Both you and your employer are then legally bound by the terms offered and accepted. However, your contractual terms and conditions cannot override the legal minimum set out in law.

We would urge you to read your contract before you sign it. It is also important that you ask for a copy of your employment contract for your own attention so that you may refer back to it in future.

What is minimum wage?

The rates from 1 October 2016 are:

  • £7.20 per hour - 25 yrs old and over
  • £6.95 per hour - 21-24 yrs old
  • £5.55 per hour -18-20 yrs old
  • £4 per hour       - 16-17 yrs old
  • £3.40 per hour for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over who are in the first year of apprenticeship.

Working Hours

As a student it is recommended that you do not work more than 16 hours per week in order to maintain a healthy work and study balance. Many students work, but make sure you do not let it affect your studies. Most academic schools will recommended a certain number of hours a week of self-learning in addition to your attendance at lectures and seminars. Be sure to account for this before you commit yourself to working any number of hours in employment.

It is illegal for your employer to force you to work more than 48 hours a week on average. This may particularly affect you if you decide to work full time over the long vacation or you are a part-time student.

Rest Breaks

If you work, you have the right to one uninterrupted 20 minute rest break during their working day, if they work more than 6 hours a day. This could be a tea or lunch break.

Workers have the right to 11 hours rest between working days, eg if they finish work at 8pm, they shouldn’t start work again until 7am the next day.

Need help looking for work?


The Jobshop is the student employment service owned and run by Cardiff University Students’ Union and Cardiff University. It was established in the early '90s and was one of the first student employment services to be set up in the UK. Over the past 20 years we have become a respected and trusted service used by students and employers alike. We are based on the 4th floor of the Students' Union building.

Jobshop at Park Place Opening Hours

Monday - Friday: 11:00 - 14:00
Saturday & Sunday: Closed

Tel: 029 2078 1535/6
Email: jobshop@cardiff.ac.uk

Skills and Development Service

The Students union is also proud to house a skills and development service.

The Skills Development Service (SDS) provides a range of courses aimed at building your confidence, improving your transferable skills and increasing your employability potential. Certificates are awarded for successful completion of courses and are highly regarded by employers.


Last edited by Sam Munday 18 January 2017