If you are a student visa holder, you and your dependent family members have permission to work included with your visa. You and your family members must not breach the work conditions that apply to their student visa. Students and their families must not breach the work conditions that apply to their student visa.
Work conditions for student visa holders
You cannot work until you have commenced your course in Australia. Once your course has commenced you are permitted to work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight when your course is
in session, and unlimited hours when your course is
not in session.
Work that is a formal registered part of your course is not included in the limit of 40 hours per fortnight.
Voluntary, unpaid work, is not included in the limit of 40 hours per fortnight if it:
- is of benefit to the community
- is for a non-profit organisation
- is genuinely voluntary (that is, you are not paid either in cash or other—board and lodging is acceptable).
If the voluntary work could have been undertaken by an Australian resident who would have received a wage, then this is included in the 40 hours.
If you are a postgraduate research student:
- you can work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight during any preliminary courses you undertake
- if you have commenced your masters by research or doctoral degree in Australia, there is no limit on the number of hours you may work.
Family members granted permission to work
- must not start work until the primary visa holder has commenced their course in Australia
- can work up to 40 hours per fortnight at all times unless the primary visa holder has commenced a course towards a masters or doctoral degree and holds a Student visa (subclass 500). In this case there is no limit on the number of hours a family member might work.
A fortnight is a period of 14 days commencing on any Monday and ending on the second following Sunday.
An example of how 40 hours a fortnight is calculated: After their course has commenced, a student visa holder works the following numbers of hours over a four week period:
- week one - 15 hours work
- week two - 25 hours work
- week three - 25 hours work
- week four - 10 hours work.
In the fortnight comprising weeks one and two above (40 hours worked in that 14 day period) or in the fortnight comprising weeks three and four above (35 hours worked in that 14 day period), the work condition is not breached. However, the student visa holder has breached their work condition in the fortnight comprising weeks two and three above (50 hours worked in that 14 day period). Students found to have breached their work conditions might be subject to cancellation of their visa.
Course in session
We consider your course to be 'in session':
- for the duration of the advertised semesters, including examination periods
- if you have completed your studies and your Confirmation of Enrolment is still valid (with the exception of masters by research or PhD students who have submitted their thesis for marking)
- when you are undertaking another course, during a break from your main course and points from that course will be credited to your main course.
Additional information about student visa work conditions
You can view your visa online using
Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO). VEVO is a free internet service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It allows you, and your employer or education provider, to view your visa details online.
Tax file number
You must obtain a Tax File Number to be able to work in Australia. This is available from the
Australian Tax Office.
Your workplace rights
Workers in Australia – including visa holders with permission to work – have rights under Australian workplace law.
Fair Work Ombudsman Pay and Conditions Tool (PACT) provides information on pay rates, shift calculations, leave arrangements and notice and redundancy entitlements.
More information is available about Workplace rights - for all visa holders working in Australia.