Support for international students and graduates from The Cube

Learn about the support available

An EU student can work self-employed if they have pre-settled or settled status in the UK.

Any student holding a Tier 4/Student visa will not be able to work as self-employed or engage in business Activity. 


A student visa does not allow self-employment. Self-employment normally includes activities such as freelance writing or publishing, private tutoring or selling goods or services directly to an end customer, for example as a consultant. If you are not on the employer or agency's employee payroll, it is likely the work being offered is on a self-employed basis. If you are unsure, it is important you check your employment status prior to starting work.
Postgraduate students undertaking undergraduate supervisions, or students undertaking other work in the university, must contact their programme lead to arrange a formal worker's agreement before starting the activity if they hold a student visa. 

Engaging in business activity

A student visa does not permit you to engage in business activity. The Home Office defines this as working for a business in which you have a financial or other significant beneficial interest in a capacity other than as an employee. The Home Office provides some examples of the types of circumstances in which you would be considered to be engaging in business activity: setting up a business that is trading or has a trading presence; being employed by a company in which you hold shares of 10% or more; or working for a company where you hold a statutory role, such as a director. However, this is not an exhaustive list. 
If you are unsure whether this restriction would apply in particular circumstances, you should seek further guidance from University of Plymouth UKVI Compliance Team prior to undertaking the activity or email

What support can I receive from The Cube Team?

The majority of our support is available to international students on a Student Visa (formerly Tier 4) visa and are designed to support you in exploring business venture opportunities.
These include:
  • Workshops
  • Events
  • Drop in sessions
  • Training and resources
  • Enactus
  • Clubs and competitions (you may attend, but you will not be eligible to access any the funding) 
If you are an international student and have any questions about your visa and the implications for accessing The Cube support, please let us know and we will consult with our colleagues in the  UKVI Compliance Team to check any restrictions that may apply and see how we can best support you.

Is there any specific help for international graduates wanting to pursue business start-up after graduation?

Graduate Visa 
The new Graduate Visa allows successfully graduated students to stay in the UK for a further 2 years (for UGs) or 3 years (for PhDs). The Graduate route is an unsponsored route and is not a route to settlement.
The Graduate visa permits: 
  •  Any type of work, either employed or self-employed, except working as a professional sportsperson or coach.
Innovator Founder Visa 
You can apply for the new (3 year) Innovator Founder Visa if: 
  • You want to set up and run an innovative business in the UK - it must be something that’s different from anything else on the market
  • Your business or business idea has been endorsed by an approved body, also known as an endorsing body
  • You meet the other eligibility requirements
They must be able to show that your business idea is:
  • Innovative - you must have an original business idea which is different from anything else on the market
  • Viable, with potential for growth
  • Scalable - you must give evidence of planning that includes creating jobs and growing into national and international markets
You’ll need to get an endorsing body to assess that your business idea meets the requirements. 

University's responsibilities

In accordance with sponsor licence requirements, the University must notify the Home Office if it becomes aware a student is breaking the conditions of their student visa. This includes working in breach of the visa conditions.
For any other queries please get in touch via