Careers support for international students

Many international students plan to work in the UK either during their studies or following graduation. Contact our International Office for more information working in the UK, during and post graduation.

How many hours a week can I work during term time and the vacations?

  • If you hold a Tier 4 visa sponsored by Birkbeck you can work during term time, although there are restrictions (read our advice on working as an international student).
  • Non-EEA nationals who hold another type of visa should ensure that they abide by any restrictions indicated on their visa.

Do I need a National Insurance number? How can I get one?

  • You don’t need a National Insurance number to look for jobs, but once you are offered a post you must telephone the Contributions Agency on 0845 6000643 to apply for it.
  • It usually takes about 6 to 12 weeks for your application to be processed, but you can still work during this time. As soon as you have been notified of your permanent NI number, you should inform your employer.

What do I do if I'm asked about my UCAS tariff points in an application?

  • When dealing with an application form, you can contact the company requesting advice on how to fill this section, or use the spaces provided for additional information to explain the matter. A sensible option is to list your qualifications and grades providing a context and explanation for them.

How can I present an academic and professional non-UK background to UK employers?

  • Some large employers will provide information on this point on their recruitment pages – it is worth checking their website for any guidelines on this point. Other companies however might not be familiar with your qualifications or know their equivalents in the UK.