Supplementary employment and studying

Skilled Worker visa holders are sponsored to work in a specific role but can also undertake ‘supplementary employment’ with the same or a different employer alongside their main role, as long as they are still working in their main sponsored role and the supplementary work is:

  • the same type of work, and at the same professional level, as the main role and falls under the same job code, or in a shortage occupation
  • outside their normal working hours and does not interfere with their main role
  • no more than 20 hours per week

As part of a right to work check before any supplementary work starts, the visa holder will need to present a copy of their Skilled Worker CoS details, and confirmation from the Staff Immigration Team (SIT) of any additional duties reported, if applicable, to show the type(s) of work they are permitted to undertake.

Examples of activities which would not be seen as the same type of work


  • Research and university teaching. A researcher can only undertake teaching if this forms part of their role (see below)

  • University teaching and summer schools. As summer schools are normally for school leavers considering university, teaching in this context would be seen as Secondary (school), or Further (college), rather than Higher (university), education level teaching which each fall under different job codes.

Contact SIT to discuss any proposed supplementary employment where it is not clear if it is the same type of work as the visa holder’s main role.


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There are different job codes for research and university teaching. A Skilled Worker visa holder in a research role is only permitted to undertake teaching activities (giving lectures, tutorials, examining, or invigilating, for example) if their role involves teaching within the collegiate University.

A Skilled Worker visa holder in a research role can undertake research or teaching as supplementary employment if teaching has been mentioned as part of their duties on their Skilled Worker Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).

A Skilled Worker visa holder in a research only role who wishes to undertake teaching must ask their employing department/ faculty/ college to submit a Changes & Leavers form to SIT reporting the new teaching duties. SIT must then report the new duties to the Home Office before any teaching commences.

It is not possible to add teaching duties if no teaching will be undertaken within the collegiate University.

Skilled Worker visa holders are permitted to undertake voluntary activities (such as helping with a charity, or singing in a choir, for example) but this is not the same as unpaid work.

Activities would only be considered to be volunteering if:

  • The individual is not fulfilling a role normally undertaken by staff
  • There is no obligation on the individual to attend at particular times or have set hours, and
  • There is no payment, only reimbursement for reasonable travel and meals expenses actually incurred.

If there are defined hours, extensive training, required attendance, and someone else would have to be found to cover the activities if an individual did not turn up, this is unpaid work, not volunteering.


Activities, other than volunteering, which do not meet the supplementary employment requirements are not permitted, whether paid or unpaid.

In addition to considering the 'supplementary employment' requirements, Skilled Worker visa holders will also need to discuss with their employing department/ faculty/ college other issues around undertaking work outside their main role including:

Skilled Worker visa holders are permitted to undertake a course of study in the UK without prior approval from the Home Office; however, those undertaking studies in science, engineering, and technology subjects must check whether the course subject will mean they are required to first obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance certificate.

Further information can be found in relation to ATAS and applying for clearance in the University's student visa guidance.

Contact us

Medical Sciences / Humanities / GLAM / UAS / Continuing Education

Angelina Pelova, Email: 

Paul Deeble, Email:


MPLS / Social Sciences / Colleges

Lyn Davis, Email:

Richard Birt, Email:




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