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Durham University

Human Resources & Organisational Development

Student Employment

Many students including UK/EEA and International students are permitted to work whilst studying and during vacation time. For full time students working during term-time, the University recommend no more than 12 hours per week for undergraduate and a maximum of 6 hours per week for postgraduate. As this is the point at which it is shown to impact on the study performance of full-time students.

Tier 4 Students and Employment

Students who are studying at Durham University under a Tier 4 visa are only eligible to work the maximum number of hours specified on their visa per week in total during term time. (This normally is a maximum of 20 hours per week but in some instances may be less, therefore their visa details should be checked when engaging with them).

Definition of Term-Time and Holiday for purposes of Tier 4 students

Students studying for a PhD

Postgraduate students (taught and research) don’t usually have a defined vacation period. Therefore are only allowed to work the maximum number of hours specified on their visa per week unless they have completed their studies or have an official vacation from their studies agreed by their supervisor.

PhD students and holiday entitlement

PhD students are entitled to 6 weeks holiday per year, as agreed with their supervisor. During these 6 weeks, they may undertake full-time work, however departments should seek approval from the student’s supervisor to ensure that a vacation has been agreed before they commence the full time work, otherwise the weekly limit indicated on their visa applies.

Doctorate Extension Scheme

A recent change in the Home Office regulations will allow completing PhD students to apply to extend their stay in the UK for one year beyond the end of their course to find skilled work or to set up as an entrepreneur. This change will be managed by SIFSO under Tier 4.

Undergraduate students

Undergraduate students follow the Universities term-times, during term-time tier 4 students can not work more than the maximum number of hours specified on their visa per week. During University holidays they can enage in full-time work. The Hours can not be averaged out, and all hours worked, regardless of employer, type of contract or paid/unpaid are combinded together for the weekly limit.

Departments must request a verification code from the Student Immigration Office who keep a central record of working hours across departments within the University, before offering work to the student. Departments are also required to ask for confirmation from the student about what other hours, paid or unpaid they are committed to working external to the university before offering further work. Other work carried out includes departments across the university, external places of work and entrepreneurial work such as online businesses. Non paid work is also counted within the maximum hours they are allowed to work.

The University has a duty to report any students found to be exceeding their weekly limit. The Home Office could then curtail the visa of the student which would have major impactions on the completion of their studies and also impact upon the University employing Non-EEA migrants and engaging students.