If you have a Tier 4 visa you can undertake courses which include a work placement if:
- the course of study is at degree level or above; or
- the course meets UKBA’s definition of a "foundation degree"; or
- the course is below degree level (and is not a "foundation degree") and is being undertaken at a Highly Trusted Sponsor institution.
The following criteria apply to course-related work placements:
- The period spent on a work placement must not exceed half the total length of the course being undertaken in the UK. The only exception is in the case of courses which have a statutory requirement that the placement makes up more than half of the course - eg teacher training courses
- If you are only studying part of your course in the UK and studying the remainder at your home university, the work placement must form part of the overseas qualification. You must also study at least half of your time in the UK.
Those work placements which are course-related and are part of the assessment process can be more than the 10 or 20 hours work per week that you are entitled to work under Tier 4.
You can decide to undertake a work placement after your course has started. Permission is not required from the UK Border Agency before starting a work placement. However, it is likely that you will need to make an immigration application at some point to allow time to complete your studies.
Work placements can take part at any time during your studies and can be ongoing throughout the course.
Sandwich courses (courses which include a work placement)
There are no restrictions to the number of hours per week you can work on a placement as part of a "sandwich course".
To be a sandwich course:
- the work placement must be included as part of the course; and
- the work placement must be clearly defined; and
- the work placement must be approved by the University; and
- the course must lead to a degree awarded by the University; and
- the work placement must not extend beyond the end of the course.
Internships are more restrictive than work placements and sandwich courses. If you want to undertake an internship, please read the definition below and then check with the International Student Office before accepting an offer.
- you must be studying an undergraduate or postgraduate degree course in the UK; and
- the internship must be offered by an employer to a potential employee, whether the future employment is in or outside the UK; and
- the internship must be an established part of the employer’s recruitment procedure; and
- you must not have previously undertaken an internship with the employer; and
- the internship must last no longer than three months: and
- it must be paid; and
- pay and conditions must be comparable to those for a resident worker doing the same job; and
- it must be completed within the time you have on your current student visa.