Volunteering as an international student is a great way to experience and see more of Glasgow, make new friends, develop your skills, and get to know your local community.
Whilst we will do our best to make volunteering as easy as possible for you, if you are an international student please be mindful that some volunteering activities are subject to visa restrictions, and it is your responsibility to ensure that you adhere to these. If you have the right to work with restrictions, for example on a Tier 4 or Student Visa, you need to be aware of the distinction between ‘Volunteering’ and ‘Voluntary Work’:
UK Visas and Immigration’s definition of Volunteers:
- Do not have a contract of employment.
- Must not take the place of an employee.
- Must not receive payment in kind, but reimbursement for reasonable travel and subsistence expenses (e.g., lunch) is allowed.
- Usually help a charity, voluntary, or public sector organisation.
UK Visas and Immigration’s definition of Voluntary Workers:
- Often have a contract with their employers. This means that the employer must provide the work and the voluntary worker must attend at certain times and carry out specific tasks).
- Are usually remunerated in kind (e.g., offered free gifts, accommodation, etc.). This can also apply to a promise of paid work in the future.
If you are studying on a Tier 4 or Student Visa:
- You can volunteer during term time for a maximum of 20 hours per week. This applies to both unpaid and paid work.
- You can do voluntary work/paid work full-time during university vacation periods.
- Volunteering should not be done as part of your degree course but at an ‘amateur’ level.
- Always check if what you want to do counts as voluntary work rather than volunteering, especially if you are on a work prohibition.
SRC Volunteering does not offer any volunteering opportunities which would be considered ‘voluntary work.’ Our volunteering partnerships are with local charities, community groups, and voluntary or public sector organisations. We will not ask you to sign a contract and offer both long- and short-term opportunities, depending on the free time you are willing and legally allowed to give. If you are in any doubt, you can book an appointment with the university’s International Student Support team by emailing email@example.com.