Can I hire a student on a study visa?

 
 

University and college exams are ending, and London employers are thinking about recruitment in either seasonal tourist industries or to help cover for staff holidays over the summer season when Londoners are trying to escape to the sun.

 
With all the worries about how Brexit will affect London employers it is a good time to look at the current Immigration Rules on hiring international students studying in London or the UK under Tier 4 Student Visas
 

How can OTS Solicitors help? 

 
London based OTS Solicitors business immigration team specialises in business immigration law and can answer all an employer’s questions on hiring international students in the UK on a Tier 4 visa or queries relating to sponsoring a Tier 4 student to switch to Tier 2 Visa.
 
For students, the graduate services team can advise you on questions relating to work and study on a Tier 4 Visa.
 
For more information and advice about how OTS Solicitors can help you and your business please call us on 0203 959 9123 to speak to an experienced Immigration solicitor.
 

Can international students work in the UK?

 
The best London immigration solicitors say that the answer to the question “Can international students work in the UK?” currently depends on where the international student is from. 
 
After Brexit and the end of free movement there will potentially be less need to check up on where a student is from as the government is committed to treating all migrants the same, whether they are from an EU country or are a non-EEA national. The inclusion of EU citizens on Tier 4 Student Visas is likely to add to problems filling vacancies.
 
At present, if you are an international student from an EU country then you have the right to work and live in the UK and employers do not currently need to worry about the visa status and right to work entitlement of EU students.
 
For non-EEA citizens, who are sixteen or over, their route to study in the UK and the rules surrounding working in the UK whilst on a student visa are governed by the Immigration Rules surrounding Tier 4 Visas.
 
Although non-EEA national students have to prove that they have sufficient funds to support themselves before being granted a Tier 4 student visa, the Home Office Immigration Rules still say that most international students on Tier 4 visas can do some work while they study in the UK. That is good news for London and UK employers in an age of low unEmployment and difficulty in filling many vacancies.
 

What work can an international student do in the UK?

 
The best London immigration solicitors say that London employers will not be surprised to learn that there are complicated rules surrounding what work a student on a Tier 4 Visa can undertake and their working hours.
 
Even if an international student on a Tier 4 student visa is allowed to work in the UK, the Home Office Immigration Rules state that there are some jobs that a student cannot be employed to do, such as:
 
• A doctor in training, unless the student is on a recognised training programme;
• Entertainer;
• Sports coach;
• Professional sportsperson;
• To fill a permanent full-time Employment vacancy unless very limited circumstances apply;
• Self-employed work although the Immigration Rules do allow work to be undertaken whist a Start-up Visa application is pending approval with the Home Office.
 
The Top London immigration solicitors recognise that employers are not looking to recruit international students to work as qualified medics (however bad the National Health Service staff shortages are) but the Immigration Rules relating to employing students on Tier 4 Visas can still be tricky. This is especially the case where an employer is struggling to fill a vacancy for a full-time permanent role with a UK candidate.   
 

How many hours work can an international student do in the UK?

 

The best London immigration solicitors say that it is not just the job role but the hours a Tier 4 student can work that are subject to strict Home Office rules.
 
The Tier 4 student visa permitted work hours are complex and depend on:
• The type of course the student is enrolled on; and 
• The sponsor the student is studying through.
 

Top London immigration solicitors say that:

 
• Undergraduate Tier 4 students can work up to twenty hours a week during term time provided that they are studying at a university or college on the UK Visas and Immigration sponsor list;
• Below degree level Tier 4 students studying at a higher education institution can work up to ten hours per work during term time;
• During holidays, undergraduate Tier 4 students can work full time, for up to 36.5 hours per week.
 
The major issue for UK employers is that a Tier 4 visa student cannot fill a permanent full-time job vacancy, even if the employer knows that the student will leave the role when the new academic year starts. The only way around the student visa Immigration Rules is for the Tier 4 student to apply to switch visa at the end of their studies to a Tier 2 Visa or for Top London immigration solicitors to see if the student has any alternate visa options. 
 

Right to work checks and employing international students in the UK 

 
London employers will not be surprised to learn that students are not treated any differently to any other worker when it comes to the employer being obligated to carry out right to work checks.
 
All employers have a legal responsibility to prevent international students and foreign migrants from working illegally in the UK. The right to work checks for students on Tier 4 visas are slightly more complicated when compared to migrant workers on Tier 2 visas, because of the work hours and job role restrictions imposed on international students.
 
If a non-EEA national student on a Tier 4 student visa is seeking part time work, then their passport or biometric residence permit will say if they are permitted to work and the number of hours of work that are permitted during term time. When employing Tier 4 students it is also important to check any additional visa restrictions and to make sure that the job does not go beyond the student’s permitted period of residence and study in the UK. 
 
The penalties for getting the right to work checks wrong can be severe for both employer and student. An employer could face financial and criminal penalties. The maximum fine is £20,000 so the fine acts as a deterrent. The Tier 4 student could face deportation and a ban on re-entry into the UK. 
 

Looking forward 

 
The best London immigration solicitors say it is vital that employers understand the Home Office Immigration Rules relating to the Employment of Tier 4 students and the restrictions that both employer and student are under. 
 
Some employers may take the view that they do not need to worry about Home Office Immigration Rules as they restrict their recruitment of students to those from EU countries who are not subject to Immigration control. However, with Brexit and the planned end of free movement, the availability of a visa free student work force is likely to dry up creating a crisis in recruitment for those employers who have not looked forward and made post Brexit recruiting plans and put procedures into place.
 

How can OTS Solicitors help?

 
Central London based OTS Solicitors specialise in business immigration law and in helping employers recruit from an international workforce to meet their business needs and goals. 
 
The business immigration team at OTS Solicitors have substantial expertise in advising on employing migrant workers, including Tier 4 students. The graduate services team at OTS Solicitors help students understand work rules and visa restrictions and advise when things go wrong, and students are said to be in breach of their visa conditions.
 
The legal directory of leading UK lawyers, The Legal 500, recognises OTS Solicitors expert advice on business immigration. In addition, OTS Solicitors have Law Society accredited solicitors’ status as trusted specialists in Immigration law. 
 
For more information on recruiting Tier 4 students or any other aspect of business immigration law or student Immigration law please call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced London immigration solicitors who will be happy to help.
 

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