If you hold a Student visa, it may be possible to undertake a period of 'work placement', during which time you can work full-time.
This is only applicable if your academic department considers this to be an 'integral and assessed' part of your course (meaning you are enrolled on a module which is credit bearing and the work placement forms part of the assessment), and the total duration of the work placement is no more than 50% of the duration of your degree course. The modules need to be credit bearing.
The only exception is for courses where there is a statutory requirement for more than 50% of the work placement (this usually includes professional courses such as PGCE and MBChB).
There is no prohibition on receiving pay during the work placement.
If you are an undergraduate student, you can take an internship during the university vacations as this will fit in with the working conditions linked to your Student visa, which state that you can work up to 20 hours a week (Monday - Sunday) during term time and you can work full-time during vacations.
If you are a postgraduate student, you do not follow University term dates and can work/do an internship up to 20 hours per week (Monday - Sunday) during your course registration period. The only exception is after the official course end date on your CAS, when you can work full-time provided that it is on a temporary or rolling contract and not a permanent position.
Letter confirming you are able to work full time when on work placement during studies
As part of the 'right to work' checking requirement, if you will be working full time in the UK during your work placement period whilst registered as a student (for undergraduate students, this usually means you are registered or have been transferred to a 4-year course with an intercalated year), your employer will most likely ask for a letter which confirms that you are able to work full time during this period.
Your academic department should be able to provide you this letter.
The letter should include details of the work placement, for example,
- The start and end date of the work placement
- What has been agreed that you will do during the work placement
- A confirmation that the work placement is an integral and assessed part of your course and therefore, you are permitted to work full time within the duration of your work placement.
- The percentage of work placement (if it is 1 out of a 4-year undergraduate then it will be 25%)
- How the work placement will be assessed (you will usually be registered on a credit-bearing module on your work placement year and your department will be able to confirm the name of the module and how you will be assessed)
If you hold a Student visa, your academic department will also need to make a 'work placement' report to Student Records team so that the UKVI can be notified.
Once a report is made to the UKVI regarding your work placement, you will receive an automated email confirming this. You can use that email as additional evidence that the UKVI has been notified about the work placement during which you can work full time.
Work placement for Research students
Usually, PGR students need to adhere to the working conditions on their Student Visa which is to work no more than 20 hours per week term time. For Postgraduate Research students (PhD, MPhil, Master's by research etc.), term time is classed as the whole duration of their registration. In order for a research student to undertake a work placement it has to be classed as ‘integral and assessed’, and evidence that this is the case needs to be available to provide to the UKVI if requested. Failure to be able to confirm this means the student may be breaching the conditions of their visa which can have severe consequences.
Research student do not usually register on a credit-bearing module and so it would be rare for research students to be able to undertake a period of 'work placement'. However, there may be exceptions, for example, certain courses are structured with a period of assessed 'work placement' as detailed in the course approval documentation, or, if the research involves a compulsory data collection process which can only be undertaken when on a work placement.
If you are unsure, you should approach your academic department for further guidance in the first instance.