Everything to Know About International Students Rights in UK

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International Students Rights in UK – It is naturally easy to know your ground rules, rights and responsibilities as a student on both legal and social fronts in the university and your home country. But that might be different when you move to a foreign country. 

International Students Rights in UK

Knowing the dos and don’ts in the host country and at the university is crucial to avoid any problems you might encounter. You also need to know your rights and responsibilities to avoid exploitation.

Moving abroad is a thrilling experience. Enjoy the ride, but know the rules for staying safe. Here are a few responsibilities and rights you have as an international student in the UK.  You must know your International Students Rights in UK

International Students Rights in UK for Student Housing

For International Students Rights in UK, your first responsibility is to know your student housing rights. As international students, you have two options to choose your accommodation from:

On-campus accommodation and off-campus accommodation

As first-year students, the on-campus accommodation, also called university-managed halls of residence, is the popular option, as it is less expensive and is an opportunity to network and connect with fellow batch mates.

The off-campus accommodation could be an apartment or dorm, which is slightly more expensive than the university accommodations. 

In either case, the relationship between the landlord and tenant is legally bound as you agree. Remember that you must be above 18 to enter into a legal contract; hence, you can only rent a house in your name once you turn 18. 

You will have to pay a deposit to the landlord that is refundable when you vacate. As a tenant, you can say no to an unreasonable deposit amount. The usual deposit amounts to 4-5 months of rent. 

The landlord has the right to deduct a sum from the deposit while refunding in case you have caused any damage to the property, any unpaid rent due, cleaning charges, etc. 

The rents vary based on the city and area you live in. The landlord can increase the rent once a year, but anything more than that might require your agreement. Know that once you pay an increased rent, that becomes the new rent, and you cannot argue that you are unhappy with the raise once you pay a higher rent. 

International Students Right in UK for Staying After Studies

Your right to stay after completing your studies depends on the type of visa you hold. 

Usually, the students who come to pursue their degrees in the UK hold a TIER 4 student visa. This visa can be extended towards the end of the course for a few years based on the length of your course so that you can pursue higher studies in the country. 

If you wish to remain in the UK after your studies, In that case, you will be required to convert your student visa to a graduate visa, using which you can stay for two years if you have a bachelor’s degree or three years if you have a PhD or other doctoral qualification.

This visa is officially called the post-study work visa in the UK. You can avail of this visa only once, either after completing your undergraduate studies or after completing your postgraduate studies.

You cannot extend this visa beyond the specified duration, but you can switch your PSW visa to a skilled worker visa or other types of visa based on your eligibility.

As you extend or switch your visa, you can bring your family to stay with you in the UK based on other eligibility. Recently, the UK government announced that student visa holders can only bring their dependent partner to the UK if enrolled in a PhD or postgraduate research programme.

International Students Rights in UK for National Insurance Number

As an international student, you will require a National Insurance Number. You must provide this number to your employer when you take up employment. 

Once you earn in the UK, you will contribute a share of your income towards the national insurance contribution. With a National Insurance number, you can access a few state-provided benefits, like pensions and maternity benefits. 

You can avail yourself of this by applying to Jobcentre Plus. You will be sent an application form, which you will fill out and appear for a face-to-face interview. 

You will be required to provide the following information in order to obtain the national insurance number.

  1. Your residence in the UK – your exact address with Postal code
  2. Your contact details – your phone number
  3. Your visa expiry date
  4. The country where the visa was issued 
  5. Reasons why you need a National Insurance Number
  6. List of your disabilities if there- if any

International Students Rights in UK for Minimum Wage and Taxation

The UK government fixes a minimum wage per hour for employees of different age groups to ensure that both parties in employment rightly benefit without exploitation.

As an international student in the UK, you can work up to 20 hours per week, or if your course requires, you can work 40 hours per week. Check out your eligible work hours based on the visa type and the academic grading system you have. 

The minimum wage per hour in the UK, effective from April 2023 are as follows:

NMW rate Annual 

increase (£)

Annual increase (%)
National Living Wage (23+) £10.42 0.92 9.7
21-22 Year Old Rate £10.18 1 10.9
18-20 Year Old Rate £7.49 0.66 9.7
16-17 Year Old Rate £5.28 0.47 9.7
Apprentice Rate £5.28 0.47 9.7
Accommodation Offset £9.10 0.4 4.6

International Students Rights in UK for Student Bank Account

You can open a student bank account as an international student if you stay in the country for over a few months.

This is more than just a right; it makes transactions easier and cheaper for you to transact from that country’s currency. When you start working in the country, you will require a bank account to pay your rent and bills or receive money. 

Holding a student bank account is easier to maintain than holding any other type of bank account as it allows you to have no or minimum bank balance and lesser service charges, etc.; it might even fetch you great deals and discounts on your purchases. 

International Students Rights in UK for Health Care

The UK has a great healthcare system for its residents. It provides health insurance coverage to all its ordinary residents

The country provides free healthcare for all ordinary residents (not just citizens) during medical service. However, it is paid through the national insurance contributions paid by the tax payers (National Insurance number holders).

Studying abroad is an enriching experience. There will always be a difference in the rights that home country students and international students enjoy.

The host country is obliged to protect the interests of international students; however, it is up to the students to stay informed about the rights and obligations they have and not exploit any resources or be exploited due to a lack of awareness. 

International Students Rights in UK for Protest

A common characteristic of students is their propensity for organizing sizable, occasionally dramatic protests.

Students in the UK have recently taken to the (sometimes virtual) streets to protest their treatment amid the coronavirus outbreak. You must be aware of your rights to protest for any reason.

In the UK, the law protects the right to free expression and nonviolent protest. This implies that as long as you are not endangering or damaging property or persons, you can always protest. However, because of the coronavirus, this is a little more difficult. Large-scale protests are a little challenging since, while it is lawful to protest, gathering in groups of more than two people in England is currently illegal. Therefore, even while protesting in and of itself is allowed, participating in a march or rally may violate the law. 

If you would like to protest, there are still ways to do so that can have a significant influence! Instead, you might perform the following:

  • Creating banners and posters to display in your window.
  • Drafting and endorsing appeals.
  • Complaining in writing to your MP, the university, or any other desired recipient.
  • Composing blog entries.
  • Participating in meetings and marches virtually.

In this manner, you can both protect others and yourself while exercising your right to protest. 

Never stop exploring and learning new things. Stay informed because you never know what can get risky or what can come in handy during crisis times! 

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Jaipreet Kaur

I've had the opportunity to learn more about the educational systems of many various countries thanks to my 13 years of experience in this subject. This involves coordinating applicants, keeping in touch with students, answering their inquiries, and counselling them about studying abroad.

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