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Is the average hourly wage in the UK higher than in Hong Kong? What is the range of wages and maximum working hours for part-time work in the UK?

Translated by ChatGPT

Studying abroad can be expensive and put a financial strain on parents, so many UK students take on part-time work to help ease the burden. Part-time wages in the UK are quite high, which allows international students to not only earn a decent income, but also experience the local culture and enrich their study abroad experience. However, it's important to note that part-time job requirements in the UK are quite different from those in Hong Kong and may limit the working hours for international students. In addition, students must have successfully applied for insurance before they can apply for part-time work in the UK.

girl making coffee in a cafe

Source: Unsplash

UK international students need to meet the following conditions when looking for part-time work.  


To be eligible for part-time work in the UK, international students must have a valid student visa and have studied for at least 6 months. National Insurance is required before being employed, and this provides basic protection and benefits to employees. Employees earning over £242 per week must pay taxes, while those earning between £123 and £242 per week are exempt from taxes but still qualify for National Insurance benefits. Applying for National Insurance can be done by phone or online and requires a passport, Biometric Residence Permits, and a mailing address. Additionally, applicants may be asked to provide other valid documents to prove their identity.  


There are 2 ways to apply for National Insurance, applicants must prepare the following below apply:  


  • Passport  
  • BRP(Biometric Residence Permits)  
  • Address  


In addition, in order to prove the credibility of the information, the General Administration of Taxation and Customs will require the applicants to upload a photo of themselves holding the passport in hand and submit other valid certification documents to prove the identity of the applicant.  


The National Insurance can be applied through the link below. However, due to regional restrictions, applicants must be in the UK to apply.   


insurance policy with toy car, money and magnifier

Source: Unsplash

What kind of part-time jobs can UK international students get?  


As international students have limited work experience, their job options are somewhat limited. Part-time work for UK international students is typically found in the food and service industries, such as delivery drivers, baristas, restaurant servers, and customer service representatives. Reputable job search websites are a good place to look for these types of jobs.  


Additionally, universities often post job ads for positions like cafeteria servers, library assistants, and gym cleaners. These jobs not only provide students with a means to earn a living, but also give them valuable experience in different roles. Universities also provide basic employee benefits and protection to international students. On-campus part-time wages may be higher than those off-campus.  



How much is the average hourly wage for part-time work in the UK?  


Is part-time pay for UK international students comparable to that in Hong Kong? While Hong Kong sets a minimum hourly wage for part-time work, the UK government also guarantees a minimum wage for employees. The UK minimum hourly wage varies based on the employee's age. Employees under 18 have a minimum hourly wage of £5.28 (approx. HKD51.5); employees aged 18-20 have a minimum hourly wage of £7.49 (approx. HKD73); employees aged 21-22 have a minimum hourly wage of £10.18 (approx. HKD99.3); and employees aged 23 and above have a minimum hourly wage of £10.42 (approx. HKD101.6). Students can use their age to estimate a fair and reasonable minimum hourly wage.

a corner of a five pounds note

Source: Unsplash

Are there limits on how many hours international students can work part-time in the UK?  


While the hourly wage for part-time work in the UK is relatively high, there are restrictions on the number of hours that international students can work. During term time, international students are limited to working no more than 20 hours per week, but there are no restrictions during semester breaks. It's important to remember that studying and experiencing life in the UK should be the main focus of international students, and they should be careful not to let part-time work interfere with their studies.  



Is national insurance necessary for international students when applying for jobs? Beware of illegal Labour.  


Some international students may find the process of applying for national insurance to be cumbersome or may want to work longer hours to support themselves, so they may choose to apply for jobs that don't require national insurance. However, we strongly advise against becoming illegal labours. These are jobs that don't require national insurance and have no limit on working hours. Generally, people who work as illegal labours do not have work permits, such as those who overstay their visas, do not have insurance, or evade taxes.  


While the wages of illegal labours may be higher due to longer working hours, employees lack basic labour protections, such as wages lower than the UK minimum hourly wage and insufficient legal protection provided by employers. Furthermore, if the UK government discovers illegal workers, the risks to employees far outweigh any rewards. Employees may face unlimited fines, imprisonment for up to six months, and the most severe consequence could be deportation by the UK government.  


In summary, we've covered the UK's average hourly wage for part-time work, restrictions on working hours, and basic requirements for applying for jobs. We strongly advise international students not to engage illegal labours as the wages are low, and the risks are high. It's crucial to prioritise academic studies and not jeopardise future prospects by engaging in illegal work.

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