Part-time and casual work

Information for international students

International students find working part time a great way to increase their work experiences and understand British culture. There are a few conditions depending on where you are from regarding UK employment; but all students who are not from the UK will need to get a National Insurance Number when you start working in the UK. See below for further information on National Insurance Numbers. If you require any support when looking for employment please ask for a job advice appointment. These are offered daily in the career zone and give you ten minutes, one to one support. You can book as many of these as you need.

EU Students: Most European Economic Area/Swiss nationals do not need to ask for permission from UK Visas and Immigration to work in the UK but will need to apply for a National Insurance Number.

Croatian students: If you are a Croatian national studying in the UK, you will need to obtain authorisation to work in the UK.  Further advice can be found on the UKVI web pages.

International students: Your visa will tell you the number of hours you are allowed to work per week during term time. You can not run your own business (self-employment) or work as a professional sports person or entertainer. Further information on your right to work is available from the International Student Support office and UKCISA


National Insurance Numbers

What is a National Insurance Number (NINO)?

A National Insurance Number (NINO) is a number unique to you to help your employer pay your National Insurance contributions; no one else can use this number. National Insurance Numbers are free, please do not pay an online service to generate a number for you.

You do not need a National Insurance number to start work but you will need to get one when you get a job. 

Download our guide: How to get a National Insurance Number 

Some employers think they cannot employ you if you don’t have your National Insurance Number. This is not true. If you have any difficulties, please email us at


How do I get my National Insurance Number?

When you get your job you need to call the National Insurance Number Allocation Line on 0845 600 0643 to enquire about getting your permanent National Insurance Number

When you call for your National insurance Number you need to know your 

  • Full Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Address
  • Postcode
  • Date you arrived in the UK
  • Confirm whether you are currently employed or not

Also it is important that you have your passport and visa information to hand you will not be able to proceed without them. Depending on your nationality and where your visa was issued you may be asked to attend an interview.


If your country of origin is outside the EU and your visa was issued there

In some cases you may be asked to attend an interview, but it is more usual to be asked to complete a postal application instead. This will ask about your right to work in the UK and will require photocopies of certain documents such as your passport and visa. If you need help completing this form you can ask us for help, come to the Career Zone.
If your country of origin is in the EU OR If your country of origin is outside the EU and your visa was issued or has been renewed in the UK, you will be asked to attend an interview to show you have the right to work in the UK.
This appointment will be in Plymouth or Taunton, Plymouth is easier to get to - we recommend you book an appointment in the afternoon as trains cost more in the morning. 

It might take 16 weeks to get your permanent National Insurance Number but you can work and be paid while you are waiting.