Abolish Working Hour Limits

Your International & Postgraduate Officer Vicky has been working with other Students’ Unions across the country on a campaign to abolish working hour limits for non-EEA/home students. If you are an international student affected by the working hours limit, read on and sign the petition to have your voice heard.

With the added weight of the ongoing cost of living crisis, students with Tier 4 visas are struggling to support themselves. Since they are only permitted to work for 20 hours a week, the maximum amount they are able to earn is £750 a month – assuming that they are able to find employment and earn a national wage of £9.50 an hour. However, a recent survey from Save The Students shows that the average cost for students living in the UK is about £950. This indicates that there are international students who can’t cover their living expenses right now.

Vicky has been leading this campaign to support international students at Leeds. She brought the issue directly to MP Hilary Benn, asking whether there were any plans to increase the 20-hour-a-week limit on work for Tier 4 students. In the response that followed, the Home Office stated that there are currently no plans to increase the number of hours international students can work because the Student route is designed as a means to study, not live and work in the UK.

This means that your voice matters now more than ever. Please sign the petition here, so, together, we can make lawmakers aware of the challenges that international students face in the present cost of living crisis.

We know that students here at Leeds are affected by the working hours limits. Vicky has been talking to our students, and they have shared their challenges, such as being declined from jobs because the employers favour someone who can work more hours. Furthermore, students can end up trapped in illegal and exploitative work conditions.

It should be a choice to make if they want to work beyond 20 hours. For some employers, international students get declined from jobs because of this limit which therefore limits opportunities.

Some people are forced to go to ‘under the table jobs’, not necessarily legal (e.g. cash pay). This could be exploitative and dangerous as worker rights are not valued.

Email Vicky – y.zhuo@leeds.ac.uk – if you’d like to discuss this issue further or to share your story. Get in touch with our Help & Support team if you’re seeking financial advice and support.