Moving to Edinburgh – Working

With a Tier 4 Visa, students can work up to 20 hours per week (or as stated on their visa). Student dependents can work full time (unless otherwise stated on their visas).

While it is stressful, I’m so thankful to be in the hospitality industry and to actually enjoy it. There seems to be a lot of jobs available in the hotel and restaurant industry here in Edinburgh. I see “Help Wanted” signs at lots of restaurants and cafes and there seems to be a lot of positions available at hotels.

Anyways, to work and get paid in the UK, you need to have a National Insurance Number. It’s like your Social Security Number. You can apply for your NI number before you get a job or after. If you get your NI number after, your taxes the government takes out may be different.

Like with many of the processes here, it takes a while and people tell me different things, delaying the process.

I checked the UK government website and got to “Apply for National Insurance Number.”

You need to apply by phone for a National Insurance number. I called the National Insurance Number Application Line (0345 600 0643), got put on hold for a while and eventually spoke to someone and told him that I wanted to apply for a National Insurance Number.

Things you need before you can apply. (an address and a valid visa)

If you’re moving to the UK you can only apply once you’re here.

The man I spoke to said I needed to come in for an interview at the local JobCentre in Edinburgh and proceeded to make an appointment for me in two weeks. He also said I needed to wait for a letter in the mail confirming my appointment and my reference number. When I realized I couldn’t make it to the scheduled interview, I called them back to reschedule and the lady on the other line told me that I didn’t need to go for an interview and that she’ll just send me the application that I need to fill out and send back.

10 days after speaking to the lady, I finally received my Application for a National Insurance Number in the mail. I filled it out and mailed it back out.

3 weeks later, I received my National Insurance Number in the mail. Thankfully, you can still work and get paid without your number so that was not a problem.


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