Subscribe to our daily news digest
The good news is that almost all European countries allow students to work during their studies. However, the main restriction that applies to non-EU students is the number of hours allowed to work.
According to the European Commission website, students are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week or four hours per day during the semester. In addition, during the semester breaks, less restrictive measures apply for non-EU students working in the zone, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Depending on the country of residence, rules can vary, with the Baltic countries being friendlier to working students, while Norway applies more stringent rules, as the country has language requirements.
A study by Erudera, the first AI-backed education search platform reveals what countries in the world allow students to work while studying and also explains what rules do apply to this category. As the same study shows, there are some six million students that went abroad to pursue their academic careers, with some of those also seeking a job to support themselves financially.
Students from third countries that have a valid study permit are allowed to work part-time in the country without having to apply for a work permit.
“As a student, you can receive an employment permit for employment of up to 20 hours a week without a labour market test. Companies have to apply for this employment permit at the Public Employment Service (Arbeitsmarktservice – AMS). Another provision for an employment permit is that the primary purpose of stay is not jeopardised,” the Federal Government ‘s official information website on migration to Austria explains.
Those wanting to work in the country should instead apply for a work permit, but this isn’t recommended. If the main purpose of one’s stay in Austria is the academic career, it should be pursued, which is the most important factor for the Immigration and Residence Authority.
Students in Belgium are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week, provided they are enrolled in a higher education institution in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. During school holidays, such as Christmas, spring break, and three summer months, there is no limitation on the number of working hours students can work.
However, during the academic year, students shouldn’t be working more than 20 hours as the Foreigners Office may consider that pursuing studies is no longer the student’s main goal. This could jeopardise students’ possibility of renewing their permits.
Non-EU students in Bulgaria can work up to 20 hours per week during both the academic year and school holidays, while after graduation, students that want to stay in Bulgaria have to apply for a work permit. After graduation, students have nine additional months to apply for such a permit and find a job in the country.
As long as students are enrolled in a full-time higher education programme in Croatia, they are able to work part-time while they are on a study permit. Just like Slovenia, Croatia uses a Student Service Centre designated for student employment in the country.
These service providers have branches in every university in the country and regulate as well as approve international students looking to work part-time while studying.
Cypriot authorities have recently regulated the legislation that allows international students in the country to work. More specifically, students from third countries are permitted to work in Cyprus for up to 20 hours per week if they are full-time students at accredited universities and colleges and have resided in the country by May 31.
In order to be eligible for work, students should obtain a student permit from the Immigration Authorities, as well as sign an employment contract with an employer by also submitting it to the District Employment Office for approval.
The country allows working during studies only if the student is up to the age of 26 and their performance of work isn’t more than seven consecutive calendar days or a total of 30 days within a calendar year.
In addition, the student must be enrolled in a degree programme accredited by the Ministry of Education to be eligible to work. Those that have graduated from a Czech higher education institution and wish to remain in the country for work purposes have to apply for a work permit. In this case, the employee card or work permit serves as a long-term residence permit where the stated purpose of the stay, which can be longer than three months, is employment.
Like the other Member States, students in Denmark can have a part-time job, indicating they can work 20 hours per week as well as full-time during three summer months. The residence permit issued for study purposes can be valid for another six months after the holder has completed their educational programme, which enables them to look for work.
International students that have graduated from Danish universities can either apply for a work permit or an establishment card, which is granted to those with a master’s or Ph.D. degree.
The Baltic country has some of the best conditions for international students that want to work, as it has no restrictive hours for students as long as they are attending academic careers and work doesn’t interfere with their studies.
Moreover, non-EU students can stay in Estonia for another nine months after graduating, which enables them to look for a job in the meanwhile and apply for a work permit.
The country has a maximum limit of 30 working hours per week for students that are willing to work while studying. This number can be surpassed in some weeks, as long as the average working hours are no more than 30 hours per week at the end of the year.
In addition, Finland has no restrictions for students that work during holidays or at times when classes are cancelled. Students working on jobs related to their degrees have no restrictions on their working hours.
“Students can no longer work without restrictions during holidays or at the times when the educational institution offers no instruction. The right to work changed when the amendments to legislation on students and researchers entered into force on April 15, 2022,” the website for information over migration explains.
Non-EU students in France are permitted to work under the following requirements:
However, for employment in schools or other educational institutions, international students’ contracts have to be valid for a maximum of 12 months – from September 1 to August 21, and working hours during semester time (from September 1 to June 31) shouldn’t exceed 670 hours. In addition, working hours during the summer season, indicating July 1 to August 31, shouldn’t surpass the 300-hour-mark.
Except for Algerian students, international students don’t need any Temporary Work Permit (APT) to work in the country.
International students planning to work in Germany must either find a full-time job for 120 days or a part-time one for 240 days, as they are permitted to work only 120 full days of 240 half days in a year, excluding self-employment or working as freelancers.
Students don’t need any authorisation from the Employment Agency if they intend to respect the number of allowed work hours. On the other hand, EEA students can work in Germany without being subject to any restrictions or limitations.
The rules are no different for students willing to work in Greece. The country allows students to work for 20 hours per week during the semester and up to 40 hours, meaning a full-time schedule during vacations.
However, working while on an expired student visa and not applying for a work visa could cost the student to be deployed, as such a practice is considered illegal.
Students with a residence permit for study purposes are allowed to work 24 hours a week during their study period, or about 90 days or 66 working days during summer break or other vacations.
Non-EU students can work in Ireland while pursuing their academic careers but under certain conditions. European students can freely work in the country, while students from third countries are allowed to work only if their course is at least one academic year long. Those that are eligible can work up to 20 hours per week during the semester or full-time during vacations.
Once students finish their course, they are no longer permitted to work unless they have obtained an extension permit for third-level studies. Upon expiry of the student’s visa, students have to submit special applications for seeking employment after graduation.
The main conditions for students working in Italy are to be an employee only, which means they are not allowed to start their own business or become self-employed. In addition, they must not surpass the 1,040-hours-mark per year, potentially with 20 hours per week for 12 months.
Students that want to work more than the hours allowed can convert their residence permit for study purposes for subordinate work if they have a job offer or intend to be self-employed.
As for those who want to remain in the country, the law allows converting the residence permit for study reasons to one for work purposes, without waiting for an immigration quotes decree, which is valid for one year and renewable upon finding a job.
Latvia permits foreign students to work part-time without having to apply for a work permit on a student visa. However, international students are restricted from working more than 20 hours a week during their studies and 40 hours a week during semester breaks.
International students are eligible to work full-time in Lithuania, meaning up to 40 hours per week, after obtaining a temporary residence permit. This means that as long as the students are enrolled in a university, they are eligible to work full time – making Lithuania and Estonia only the fewest EU countries that offer such conditions for non-EU students.
The conditions to work as a student in Europe’s highest GDP per capita country include the following:
Students can be hired for a maximum of two months or 346 hours during the academic year, and the employer has to draw up a work contract for hiring the student during the school holidays.
Third-country nationals with a student visa in Malta are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week. Those that want to apply for work and study visas have to be in Malta at least three months before applying. Students can work only after the 90th day of their stay in the country.
“The student can only work up to 20 hours per week and must maintain a class attendance of at least 80 per cent for a valid visa to work and study English in Malta and Gozo. Attendance will be checked daily,” belsmalta, a website for study information in Malta, read.
Students have to find the job themselves, and there is a fee that applies if the student works with an agency. For accommodation, students must show proof of the agreement with the landlord and have to make sure that their housing option is licensed by the Malta Tourism Authority.
A work permit is required for non-EU students to be able to work while they are attending their studies in the Netherlands. The employer can apply for a work permit before hiring a non-EU student, a procedure which takes up to five weeks.
This permit allows students to work a maximum of 16 hours per week or full-time in June, July, and August when fewer academic activities occur.
However, non-EU students are free to work as entrepreneurs, indicating that self-employment or working as an influencer in the country is permitted, without any working hours restrictions. Either way, students have to be registered with the Chamber of Commerce and also maintain sufficient study progress in order to retain the student residence permit.
After graduation, students from Croatia and countries outside the EEA are allowed to stay in the Netherlands for another year in order to find jobs as highly skilled migrants.
International students in the Nordic country can work up to 20 hours per week in their first year of studies, provided they have a student visa. However, renewing a study permit doesn’t mean that the part-time work permit is automatically renewed.
Non-EU students willing to work in Norway are encouraged to maintain satisfactory progress in their studies as well as learn Norwegian. Speaking the language is very important for employment.
As long as non-EU students are enrolled in an educational institution in Poland, they are permitted to work 20 hours per week during studies, as well as three months of full-time jobs during holidays, indicating 40 hours per week.
Those who want to work after graduation, they can do so if they hold a valid residency permit. Students can come back for another two to three years, as long as they can prove they have financial support without seeking any government benefits.
Students from third countries enrolled in higher education institutions in Portugal, except for those enrolled in a short course of up to three months, are allowed to work 20 hours per week during the semester and full-time during the vacations provided the person has a residence permit issued for study purposes.
Non-EU students that want to remain in Portugal after their student visa has expired must have a job offer by an employee, so they can change their study visa for a new residence permit.
International students in Romania can work up to four hours per day, indicating 20 hours per week. Students with a work permit are allowed to work more hours. Non-EU citizens are able to stay in Romania for nine months after graduation in order to find work and potentially apply for a work permit.
Students in higher education institutions in Slovakia are allowed to work 20 hours per week, while those in secondary schools can work half of that time – ten hours per week.
The number of foreign workers increased significantly in Slovakia in 2015; there were 84,787 foreigners (42 per cent of them coming from third countries); in 2016, this number grew to 87,966 (42.3 per cent of them were from third countries).
Students in Slovakia can either take low-qualified jobs such as cashier, which get paid around €200 per month, or highly qualified jobs such as IT or internships, with two of the latter being more suitable for students that wish to remain in Slovakia, as employers can offer the job position in full time.
According to the official website for studying in Slovenia, students can work through ‘Student Work’, which is an instrument that enables students to find work in the country. They can work via a contract called referral forms, which can be found in employment agencies throughout the country, also known as Student Services (SS).
“When you have all the above, go to the chosen agency and enrol in their system. The agencies have lists of available jobs, but you can also find a job on your own and inform the agency about the company. The agency will provide you with a referral form, which you give to the employer. These are the conditions for working in Slovenia as a student,” the website explains.
As of February 2015, employment companies have to deduct an amount of 15.5 per cent for pension and disability insurance, which can leave students with a possible payment of €4.50 with €3.80 in their account.
Non-EU students in Spain are allowed to work only part-time jobs under their study visa permit. More specifically, international students are permitted to work 20 hours per week, which would be four hours per day, and income from this job should be complementary, indicating that the student must have other means of financial support and cannot rely only on their part-time job.
In addition, during the semester breaks, students are allowed to work full-time for up to three months, but if that isn’t sufficient, students have to apply for a work permit.
In the meanwhile, the Spanish government encourages non-EU students to find a balance between studies and work, which means that exam results and their overall educational progress have an impact if they intend to apply for a work permit after graduation.
Earlier this year, the Spanish government announced that international students are able to remain in the country for up to two years in order to find work or apply for a work permit if that is one of their aspirations.
Students are allowed to work in Sweden for as many hours as they want, as long as they have a valid student visa. However, it is expected that working students spend at least 40 hours per week on their studies.
In addition, part-time jobs aren’t sufficient to serve as the main source of income. Moreover, income from such jobs has a tax deduction share of 20 to 30 per cent monthly. This indicates that up to €180 goes for taxes, as the average payment in Sweden for part-time jobs stands between €730 and €913.
“After graduating, you can apply to extend your residence permit for an extra 12 months. During this time, you can search for jobs or start a company. And when you have found employment, you can apply for a work permit,” the official website of the University of Gothenburg reads.
Students outside the EU/EFTA region can start working six months after they begin their studies. The maximum hours allowed to work is 15 per week during their studies.
During semester breaks, international students are permitted to work full-time, provided they report their hours to responsible immigration authorities.
After graduation, non-EU students can stay in Switzerland for six months to look for a job or apply for a work permit, but the current permit issued for study purposes should not be exceeded.