Some international students from outside the EEA are allowed to work in the UK, depending on the conditions of their visa.
Generally, students are allowed to work for up to 20 hours during term time and full time during vacation periods. Employers need to be aware of the additional right to work checks they need to carry out on these employees as failure to do so could lead to prosecution or civil penalties being issued against them.
There are many benefits to employers in hiring international students, for example multiple language skills and knowledge of business practices in other countries. The immigration rules are also slightly more relaxed if employers intend to hire an international graduate who has just completed their studies – there is no need to carry out the Resident Labour Market Test which means the lengthy and costly procedure of advertising vacancies can be avoided and the student can just “switch” from a Tier 4 visa to a Tier 2 visa without having to leave the country.
Statistics released by the Home Office in March this year, reveal that the number of students switching into the Tier 2 skilled work visa category has increased from 1,730 in 2011 to 6,004 in 2015. This shows that the “switching” route is popular among businesses and employers.
How to check...
To check if a migrant student is allowed to work in the UK employers should look at the student’s passport for a visa endorsement, or check their Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) – there will be a clear endorsement which confirms whether a student can work and how many hours they can work. If this information is not set out in these documents, the student will not have the right to work in the UK.
Our business immigration team have extensive experience in advising both employers and students who wish to switch visas post-graduation. We also regularly provide training to HR teams ensuring they are able to carry out right to work checks correctly.