We understand that London life can be expensive and you might be looking at getting some part-time work to see you through. We’ve put together this guide on what kind of work you might think of doing here, how to find it, and some information on the VISA restrictions you might have.
Why get a part-time job in London?
Part-time jobs for students in London are a great idea. By getting a few hours of work each week, you’ll earn yourself a bit of spending money so you can enjoy a bit more of what London has to offer while you’re here.
Plus, it can be hard to meet people in a new city and we understand it can sometimes become a bit lonely, especially if you’ve come from further afield. Getting a part-time job is a wonderful way of meeting new people without spending money. You might make some great friends there or useful connections for when you’re starting out in the world of work after graduating.
Popular part-time jobs
Famous for its shopping, events, bars, restaurants and of course the corporate world, in London, you won’t have to look too far to find some work that’s suitable for you
Hospitality: Probably the largest sector to get yourself into, there are more bars, cafes and restaurants per square metre in London than in any other European city. Also, try hotels and events agencies for this kind of work – which might suit you well if you want to pick up a few ad-hoc hours here and there.
Retail: If you’re interested in fashion, you might be well suited to a job in retail. And, there’s no shortage of retail outlets in the city to apply to. You might find that you need to have some retail experience to get your foot in. But, having some customer or front-of-house experience might be enough to land you an interview. A more accessible option is finding work in grocery stores, corner shops or supermarkets
Tutoring: If you’re an international student with a first language other than English, why not make use of your language skills and tutor those who want to learn your language. To find potential pupils, use local Facebook groups, noticeboards and word-of-mouth. You’ll find useful resources online on how to get started with lesson plans etc.
Deliveries: Not many students will have a vehicle to offer a delivery service – but If you have a bike, you can join a restaurant and takeaway delivery provider like Uber Eats, Just Eat or Deliveroo. It’s a flexible option as you can pick up as many hours you want and when it suits you. It’s also a great way to get regular and free exercise into your weekly routine.
How to find a part-time job
Online: Like anything else, you’ll probably find the best selection of part-time work online. You could look on social media (mainly Facebook) for local job pages. Or, recruitment websites like Indeed, Total Jobs, Reed, Monster, and Target Jobs. They all offer a filter for part-time work. There’s also studentjobs.co.uk which might be the best place to start.
Keep a lookout for ‘We’re hiring’ notices: With only working a few hours of the week, it might make sense to find work fairly close to your accommodation or where you spend your time studying. The best way to find something local is by having a walk around the local area. Bars, restaurants and shops that are looking for staff will often have a sign up in the window saying so. Or, just pop in to ask in places you think you’d be well suited for.
Word of mouth: A lot of people find part-time work through word-of-mouth. You might have fellow students in your class with part-time jobs who will be able to pass on your details to their employer, along with a good reference from your friend.
Through university: Find out if your university has a careers service that also connects students to part-time work. They might also have a physical or digital jobs noticeboard. Most universities will hire students for jobs on campus like library assistants, shop cashiers, student support workers and even research assistants.
Recruitment agencies: There are always recruitment agencies if you’re struggling to find something, but just remember that they’ll take a cut from the employer – so best to leave this option as a last resort.
What hours can you work with your VISA?
Whether you’re allowed to work in the UK while you’re studying here depends on two things. Firstly, any rules your university might have set on working while you’re enrolled there, and secondly, the rules set by the UK government. You’ll need a Tier 4 VISA (and to be over the age of 16) to work in the UK.
It’s important to know that under the rules of this VISA, you can only work part-time (rather than full-time). This is a maximum of 20 hours per week during term and includes paid or unpaid work and for one of more employers. You’re not allowed to be self-employed or initiate your own commercial activity. You also aren’t allowed to work as an entertainer of any kind or be paid for any sports or sports coaching.
When it comes to paying tax and NI (National Insurance), students are responsible for paying these in the same way full-time employees are. These are your contributions towards state benefits and are payable on all income over approximately £166 per week.
What do I need before I can start work in the UK?
Once you’re sure that you’re allowed to work in the UK alongside your studies, you’ll need to apply for a NINo (National Insurance Number). You don’t necessarily need to have this number when you start work, but you’ll need to have proof that you have applied for it already.
You can apply for a NINo over the phone, then you’ll most likely be asked to attend a brief interview at your local Jobcentre Plus. This is a simple formality with the purpose of confirming your identity and why it is you want a National Insurance number. There are lots more information on applying for a NINo as an international student here.
And, after completing university, the post-study work VISA rules mean that you’re allowed to work within the UK after graduating for up to two years. This means you can find full-time work that’s relevant to your course in a city where you’ve made great connections and may have had work experience as part of your studies.