Student Advice Service – Money Matters

News from the Student Advice Service at the University of Brighton


How to apply for student finance as a Migrant Worker

We encourage any student assessed as a migrant worker to talk to us within Student Advice Service if you are thinking about changing jobs or taking a break and to look at our Student Wellbeing services for further support. 

You may have heard the term ‘migrant worker’, but what does it actually mean?

Generally speaking if you are an EU national you can only be assessed for a Maintenance Loan and all supplementary grants as well as a Tuition Fee Loan (in the same way as UK students) if you have lived in the UK for the whole of the 5 years prior to the start of your course – so for example if your course started in September 2019 you need to have lived in the UK for the whole of the period from 1 September 2014 until 1 September 2019.

However, there is a way you can qualify for help towards your living costs even if you have not lived in the UK for 5 years before your course – this is by applying for student funding as an EEA migrant worker (or as a relevant family member – e.g. child – of an EEA migrant worker).

What are the rules?

The rules are complex, but you may be able to apply for maximum loans from Student Finance England/Wales/Northern Ireland or Scotland if:

  • You are a non-UK EEA national, or a Swiss national, and resident in the UK as a worker; or the relevant family member of such a worker; and
  • You are ordinarily resident in the UK on the first day of the first academic year of the course (unless you are an EEA/Swiss frontier worker or relevant family member of a frontier worker); and
  • You have been ordinarily resident in the UK or elsewhere in the EEA and/or Switzerland for three years before the first day of the first academic year of the course.

Is there a legal definition?

The definition of ‘worker’ is not clearly explained in legal terms, but generally speaking to be classed as a ‘worker’ you need to be working at least 10 hours a week in a job which isn’t connected to your university or being a student (so not the SU shop or Student Ambassador) and you must continue to work during term time and vacations.

What if I stop working?

It is possible to lose your migrant worker status part-way through your course – for example if you stop working or you take a significant break in working (perhaps if you go back to your home country for an extended period over the summer vacation)

We encourage any student assessed as migrant worker to come and talk to to Student Advice if they are thinking about changing jobs or taking a break.

I wasn’t working locally when I started the course, but I am now – does this change anything?

Yes! It is possible to gain migrant worker status part-way through the course. If you gain EEA migrant worker status during the year, you will get the Maintenance Loan for living costs from the term after you started employment, not from the date employment began.

How do I apply for this extra funding?

To apply for funding as a migrant worker you need to complete the same funding forms as UK students. We strongly suggest you come and talk to Student Advice as we can make sure you fill out the right forms and include the correct evidence.

As well as the form(s) you will need to send in evidence of your employment – for example:

  • Your contract of employment
  • A letter from your employer confirming your working hours
  • The last 3 months’ payslips
  • A P60 if available

If you are sending any evidence to Student Finance, please make a note of your Customer Reference Number on every document you are sending and try to post the items Recorded Delivery with a receipt. The postal address is:

EEA Migrant Worker Team

Do I need to do anything else?

Student Finance will ask you to send proof of your wages each term so be prepared. We advise you to keep all of your payslips and regularly check your online account and emails to see if you are being asked to provide evidence.

You have to apply for funding every year and you will need to prove that you are still a worker, so make sure you always keep you documents safe.

If your course has the option of a placement year and this is something you are interested in, please come and talk to us about how this affects your funding.

Will Student Finance ask about my parents’ income even if they live in another country?

If you are under 25 and you have not financially supported yourself for 3 years before your course started, you will need to send proof of your parents’ income. This is the same for UK students. Please come and talk to Student Advice about the information you need to send.

Does this affect my Tuition Fee Loan or University of Brighton Bursary?

You will still be entitled to the funding you have already received, but your records will be transferred from one place to another so you will have to fill out new forms.

What about Brexit? Does this change anything?

Unfortunately, whilst the government has confirmed that funding arrangements for existing EU students and those starting their courses in September 2020 will continue to remain as they currently exist, we don’t know if the rules about migrant workers will stay the same. If you do think you might qualify as a migrant worker then please do contact us, and we can let you know what you need to do to and update you on any legal changes as soon as we know.

Best wishes

Student Advice Service

BrexitEEAEUmigrant worker

Helen Abrahams • February 4, 2020

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  1. Henry September 24, 2020 - 1:42 pm Reply

    I been accepted for architectural engineering at salford university, but I called SLC to get financial help for tuition but they told me that since I only been working since January of 2019 I’m not elegible for financial help even though I’m been accepted for our settle, so I need to wait until 2022 to be able if nothing extra change, I think this doesn’t help people to succeed and keeping them low.

    • Helen Abrahams September 24, 2020 - 1:52 pm Reply

      Hi Henry

      Thank you for your comment.

      I think the best thing for you to do would be to contact the student money advice team at Salford University who should be able to help you with this.
      I have googled their details and here is the web link for that information:

      Good luck
      Helen Abrahams

      Student Advice Service Manager
      University of Brighton

  2. Daniela Somesan November 23, 2020 - 7:50 pm Reply

    Hello, I’m Daniela. I studied at The City of Liverpool College, in Level 2 Hairdressing class and in September I started Level 3 Hairdressing class, but the problem is that I’m not eligible for the Student loan because I don’t have 3 years in UK.I would love to be able to continue the Level 3 class, so I don’t have to turn back next year. So, can I apply for student finance as a Migrant worker? I’m working in a hotel for more than two years now.

    Thank you very much!

    • Helen Abrahams November 24, 2020 - 10:02 am Reply

      Dear Daniela

      Thank you for your comment.
      Please contact the student advice/money advice team at the City of Liverpool College or your current college if you have moved.
      This is a public blog, but we only offer casework advice to University of Brighton students.
      Alternatively, you can seek excellent independent advice from the organisation UKCISA

      Good luck
      Helen Abrahams

      Student Advice Service Manager
      University of Brighton

  3. Anchu Abraham January 13, 2021 - 11:00 pm Reply

    Hi, just an enquiry as I am leaving in uk since 4 years and started my biomedical eng insep 2020, worked for 18 months till March 19, then started in august for 1 mth and restarted again since December, I got my tuition fee, will I be eligible for maintenance loan as I am living in uni campus and I have face to face sessions, please advice me

    • Helen Abrahams January 14, 2021 - 9:34 am Reply

      Dear Anchu

      Thank you for your comment.
      Please can I ask you to post this question to from your University of Brighton student email address and include your student number as the Student Advisers will be able to help you.

      Best wishes

  4. Manesia March 12, 2021 - 9:00 pm Reply

    Hello.I wanted to ask I got approved for maintenance loan as a migrant worker but what if I stop working and I loose my maintainable will I loose the tuition fee loan too?

    • Helen Abrahams March 15, 2021 - 4:19 pm Reply

      Thank you for your comment, Manesia, I have asked the Student Advisers to contact you privately about this

      Best wishes

  5. Teejay May 26, 2021 - 3:20 pm Reply

    Hello there, can I still be qualified for student loan as I plan to apply as a migrant worker but for a full time 3 yrs course which means I will have to quit my job?


    • Helen Abrahams May 28, 2021 - 12:23 pm Reply

      Hi Teejay
      Thank you for your question. I will arrange for one of the Student Advisers to contact you direct
      Best wishes

  6. Alizée October 10, 2022 - 10:00 am Reply

    Good morning,
    I applied for student finance as a migrant worker and have been recently approved by them.
    However, I can only see future payment schedule for tuition loan even though I applied for both.
    Does it means that i am not eligible for maintenance loan or that they are still processing my application?
    Kind regards.

  7. Helen Abrahams October 11, 2022 - 3:05 pm Reply

    Hi Alizee, I will reply to your comment off list as I need to ask some questions
    Best wishes

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