Volunteering is a great way to make a difference in the community and enhance your university experience. Volunteering has many benefits such as:
- Gaining new skills
- Improving your wellbeing
- Meeting new people and making new friends
- Getting to know Oxford
- Doing something you're passionate about
International Students and Volunteering
As an international student on a visa you can undertake volunteering whilst you are studying, but it may count towards your work allowance.
Volunteering and Voluntary Work
You need to be aware of the UK Visas and Immigration definition of ‘voluntary work’. Any time spent on ‘voluntary work’ will count towards your hours total, while any time spent volunteering will not.
The Home Office advises taking the following into consideration to help determine if it is voluntary work or volunteering:
- Volunteers don't have a contract, must not be a substitute for an employee and must not be doing unpaid work. They must not get payment in kind but are sometimes paid for reasonable expenses such as travel. They usually help a charity or voluntary or public sector organisation.
- Voluntary workers usually have obligations to do their work. The law may find these to be 'contractual' even if there isn't a written contract. For example, the voluntary worker might have to do their role at set times or carry out set tasks. Voluntary workers are sometimes paid in kind. For example, they could get free training, products or services from the organisation.
Most opportunities on the Brookes Volunteer portal meet the definition of volunteering rather than voluntary work, so would not count towards your hours total.
Support and Advice
It’s very important that you comply with the conditions of your visa, so if you are in any doubt check the Oxford Brookes Working on a Student visa pages or contact the International Student Advice Team (ISAT).
Visit our Volunteer portal to find out what is on offer. And if you need any help or advice, feel free to get In touch.