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Part-time work: A guide for international students studying a business master’s

  • Monday, February 17, 2020
  • Masters

“One of the reasons I chose to come to the UK for my MSc studies was because your student visa allows part-time work. With a Tier 4 student visa, you can work up to 20 hours a week during term time and up to 40 while on holidays.”

What part-time jobs are available?

Many of my friends started working at Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium as hospitality staff (waiters, cashiers) and events staff (tickets, greeters, etc). I would say that if you are looking for maximum flexibility this is a good job.

Part-time job in cafe

Similar flexible employment opportunities are available with the different agency apps that outsource temporary staff for events. Some examples include SyftMint and Rota. The advantages of these agencies are that they provide basic training and are always looking for people. The downside is that they are very competitive and you need to respond quickly.

Another good source of employment is the University! They have lots of opportunities and are very good employers because they are very considerate of the students. Some friends also found jobs working at the cafés across the campus. The Student Communications team will hire bloggers to create written and video content for the University - this is a fun opportunity to learn and create something new. 

Finally, there are some more serious office jobs available. These are great to gain formal job experience and get to know the British working environment. However they will be more structured and demand more of your time. Sometime around January, our Programme Administrator emailed us to share a job opportunity in a company that had contacted the Business School. I applied and got the job and I think it has really enriched my experience as a student because I have learned to cooperate with other people and solve real-world problems. The pay rate is a little bit higher than other part-time jobs I have had.

Practical tips

  • Check out the part-time job fairs happening on campus
  • You will need to apply for your National Insurance Number before you can get paid. Since it takes around 3 weeks to get processed, my advice would be to sort this out early in the first semester. You can use this same number if you have different jobs
  • Ask your friends if they have already found a job. Most of the time they will be able to direct you to the same place or similar places
  • Always choose to get paid to your bank account - it is easier and more convenient for you. Also, keep a copy of your payslips, just in case you need to check anything in future.
  • As a student on a Tier 4 Visa, you should have a tax code where no deductions are taken from your pay. If your employer is taking a deduction, make sure to ask why. You can get your tax code reclassified by calling HM Revenue & Customs.

And finally...

Always remember that your study comes first! If you are having trouble keeping up with your studies, you should choose a more flexible job or consider taking a break during the most intense exam season. 

Read more about study visas >>