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Advice for International Students

As an international student, working part-time can be a great way to gain work experience and understand British working culture, and there are many part-time jobs advertised on Handshake that particularly suit international students.

There are a few conditions you will need to meet to work in the UK depending on where you are from, but all students who are not from the UK will usually need to get a National Insurance Number when accepting paid employment in the UK. See below for further information on National Insurance Numbers.

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: Please visit Working in the UK for further details and a summary of the difference between unpaid employment (voluntary work) and volunteering as explained in the Tier 4 policy guidance.

There is lots of information and support about finding work in the UK on the Career Zone web pages.

To view part-time roles on campus and in the local area, the best place to look is on Handshake. You can contact us at if you would like to book a 1:1 appointment for help using Handshake to find part-time work opportunities. This service is for students studying at the University of Exeter only.

We also offer webinars on finding part-time employment as an international student, you can search for these in Handshake under 'events'.

If you are considering taking up volunteering or unpaid work please refer to the International Student Support pages to check what is considered as volunteering or voluntary work. If you have any visa-related questions please email

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 and it is not related to health insurance.

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 if you can prove you have the right to work in the UK, but you will need to get one when you get a job.  

If you have a BRP, a National Insurance Number may be printed on this.

If you don't have a BRP, or you have a BRP without a National Insurance Number and you have the right to work in the UK and you have found a job, you will need to apply for a National Insurance Number.

Application is easy and more information can be found on the Gov.UK website, including the online application.

It can take up to 16 weeks to receive a National Insurance Number, from the date of application.