Work conditions for student visas
Student visas are subject to condition 8104 or 8105 that allow limited work in Australia
- You and your dependants (if any) can only work after you have commenced your course
- You and your dependants (if any) must adhere to the work hour restrictions
For a complete overview of work conditions, please see: Home Affairs – Work conditions for student visa holders.
When is my course in session?
Your course is considered in session:
- for the duration of advertised semesters. Refer to the Academic Calendar for official advertised semesters-including examination periods (exam periods count even if you don’t have any), and;
- If you are enrolled in one or more subjects, and these subjects will count as credit towards your main course.
|Information for||Course in session||Course not in session|
|Student who have started a coursework degree||40 hours per fortnight||Unlimited hours|
|Students who have started a research degree||Unlimited hours|
|AusAwards or Defence students||40 hours per fortnight||Unlimited hours|
|Dependants of student visa holder enrolled in a Master or Doctorate degree||Unlimited hours|
|All other dependants||40 hours per fortnight|
How is 40 hours per fortnight calculated?
A fortnight means a period of 14 days starting on any Monday and ending on the second following Sunday.
For example, a student works the following numbers of hours:
- Week 1: 10 hours
- Week 2: 30 hours
- Week 3: 20 hours
- Week 4: 20 hours
During the second fortnight (Week 2 and Week 3), the student worked more than 40 hours and is in breach of visa conditions.
More information: Home Affairs – Work conditions for student visa holders.
Verifying your entitlements
If you do not have a visa label placed in your passport, you can access your visa information by using Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) at any time. Many organisations across Australia, including businesses and recruitment agencies and banks, can also check your work rights after getting your consent. If your employer wants to you to verify your work rights, provide them with a copy of your visa grant letter or VEVO record, and a link to this website.
Starting and finding work
Look for work through reputable sources and review the work contracts before accepting a job. Careers & Employment run Careers Online, and has a range of Online Career Tools. Remember to stay safe if you are working late.
Tax File Number (TFN)
You must apply for a Tax File Number before you start working and complete a tax return each year. Learn about what you can claim from the tax return.
Balancing work and study
Juggling work and study can be difficult and frustrating. While working will bring in a much-needed income and teach you useful skills, don’t overwork yourself and focus on your studies.
You should understand your workplace rights to ensure that your employer is treating you fairly.
- Refer to the Know your workplace rights page from the Fair Work Ombudsman's website for information on your workplace rights.
- Our Careers & employability site has information about estimated pay rates, work rights and employment contracts.
- Study Melbourne also offers a free work rights legal service for international students. Book an appointment if you are concerned about not being paid properly or unfair treatment.
Case study: Jessica's story
International students have the same workplace rights as all workers in Australia. If you are having issues at work, the Fair Work Ombudsman is available to give you free help. Importantly, you can seek the Fair Work Ombudsman's assistance without fear of your visa being cancelled.
Read Jessica’s story to find out how the Fair Work Ombudsman can help you sort out workplace issues about pay and hours of work.