Can you work abroad as an international student?

  • 5 min read
Can you work abroad as an international student?

If you want to experience the huge benefits of studying abroad, but don’t have the funds or a scholarship to cover all your costs, you might consider searching for a part-time job.

As well as helping pay for your academic and living expenses, part-time employment lets you dive deeper into the local culture, build your professional skills, improve your language fluency, and make new friends.

Many countries allow you to earn while you learn, but the rules differ from nation to nation. It’s worth bearing this in mind when you’re choosing where to study abroad.

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Employment rules for international students

Here’s a breakdown of the current employment rules for international students in the most popular study abroad countries. Remember, laws are updated frequently, so it’s best to double-check the regulations before you travel.

Country Employment rules
USA As long as you have an F1 student visa, you can work on-campus during your first year. You can move into off-campus employment during your second year. There's no cap on the number of hours you can work.
UK EU/EEA students can work in the UK without restriction. Non-EU students with a tier 4 student visa can work up to 20 hours per week during term time, or full-time during university holidays.
China You must have a China student visa and gain permission from the Chinese immigration authorities if you want to work in the country.
Canada Full-time students enrolled at a designated learning institution are eligible to work off-campus for up to 20 hours a week. Your Canadian study permit will indicate your exact employment rights.
Australia Australian student visa holders can work without limitation during university vacations, or 40 hours per fortnight in term-time.
France Every international student with a French student visa is entitled to work 964 hours a year, which is roughly 18.5 hours per week.
Russia Russian student visa holders can work up to 20 hours per week, providing your employment contract ends at the same time of your studies.
Germany If you’re from outside the EU but have a valid German student visa, you can work 120 days or 240 half days annually. EU students are permitted to work 20 hours a week.
New Zealand If you’re on a valid New Zealand student visa, you’re allowed to work up to 20 hours a week. You can work as much as you like during the holidays.
Japan You’ll have to apply for a separate work permit if you want to work in Japan. The types of jobs you can get will be restricted too. For instance, it’s illegal for you to work in bars or arcades.
Spain Providing you have the correct student visa and work permit, non-EU citizens can work up to 20 hours a week in Spain. EU, EEA, and Swiss students face no employment limitations.

If you’re not drawn to any of the countries listed above, don’t worry. There are plenty of great alternative study abroad destinations that’ll let you work part-time while studying overseas:

Countries you're not allowed to work in

Unfortunately, international students aren't granted employment rights in the following countries, so it’s vital to make sure you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses.

  • Costa Rica: To protect the employment opportunities of Costa Rican citizens, foreign students aren’t allowed to work alongside their studies
  • Cyprus: EU students are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week, but non-EU citizens aren’t normally granted employment rights
  • Fiji: No international students are allowed to work in Fiji
  • Lebanon: Gaining the right to work in Lebanon is tricky because your employer would need to prove that your job couldn’t be done by a Lebanese citizen
  • India: Students are only allowed to take paid internships and work placements as part of their course

What part-time job can you get?

Studying in one of the world’s most popular student cities means you’ll have various part-time employment prospects at your fingertips. However, it’s possible to earn a decent wage in smaller towns too.

University campuses themselves are often full of student-job opportunities. From bar staff and security personnel to student ambassadors and facilities assistants, you’ll pocket some extra cash while improving the experience of your fellow students.

Off-campus pubs, bars, restaurants, and takeaways looking to keep up with local student demand regularly have job vacancies. These roles often involve evening work, so they’re easy to fit around your daytime studies.

Keep an eye out for part-time administration, office support, cleaning, or babysitting jobs in local newspapers, shop windows, and on job sites. If you’re studying in a country that doesn’t speak your native language, taking on some language tutoring or translation work can prove lucrative too.

Top tips for working abroad as an international student

  • Prioritize your studies: If you want to graduate with a top-class degree, don’t let a part-time job interfere with your studies.
  • Make sure you’re working legally: Working without a valid visa or permit could land you in serious trouble. Drop by your university’s career service if you have any questions about your employment rights.
  • Don’t spend all of your free time working: There’s more to university than just studying and working. Put some time aside to explore your new surroundings and have fun with friends.
  • Consider a job related to your degree: Putting what you’ve learned into practice will help boost your employability.
  • Find a job you enjoy: Don’t accept a job that makes you miserable and ruins your student experience. Keep handing out CVs and taking trial shifts until you find something that works for you.