Working on a student visa

You are allowed to work a limited number of hours while in Australia on a student visa.

Work restrictions

Temporary relaxation of work restrictions

The Australian Government has announced that international students who meet any of the following criteria will be exempt from the usual 40-hour per fortnight work limit:

  • International students who are studying relevant medical courses and working in support of coronavirus health efforts, at the direction of the relevant health authority
  • International students currently working for registered disability service providers
  • International student nurses

The Australian Government has also decided to temporarily relax the 40 hour work limit for student visa holders working in supermarkets. This temporary measure will cease on 1 May 2020 for supermarkets. More information is available on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Student visas are subject to condition 8104 or 8105, which allow limited work in Australia. Under these conditions:

  • 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 set out in your visa conditions.

For a complete overview of work conditions, please see the Department of Home Affairs website.

Student work hour restrictions

Student type When course is in session When course isn't in session
Coursework students who have started their degree 40 hours per fortnight Unlimited hours
Research students who have started their degree Unlimited hours N/A
AusAwards or Defence students 40 hours per fortnight Unlimited hours

Dependent work hour restrictions

Dependent type When course is in session When course isn't in session
Dependants of student visa holders enrolled in a Master or Doctorate degree Unlimited hours N/A
Dependents of all other student visa holders 40 hours per fortnight N/A

More information

  • How is 40 hours per fortnight calculated?

    A fortnight is a 14-day period which starts on a Monday and ends on a Sunday. You may not work more than 40 hours during any fortnight.

    For example, if you worked the following hours:

    • Week 1: 10 hours
    • Week 2: 30 hours
    • Week 3: 20 hours
    • Week 4: 20 hours

    You would have worked more than 40 hours during the second fortnight (weeks 2 and 3) and would be in breach of visa conditions.

  • When is my course in session?

    Your course is considered in session:

    • For the duration of advertised semesters, including examination periods (even if you do not have any exams) and mid-semester breaks
    • Any time you are enrolled in one or more subjects which will count as credit towards your main course.

    To find out the Semester 1 and Semester 2 dates, as well as the examination period dates, see the University dates page. If you are enrolled in an intensive or non-standard subject, refer to the subject's entry in the University Handbook for teaching and assessment period dates.

  • How can someone else check my work restrictions?

    Many organisations across Australia, including employers, recruitment agencies and banks, can also check your work conditions after getting your consent.

    If someone wants to you to verify your work rights, provide them with a copy of your visa grant letter or a link to Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO).

Internship subjects

Hours worked for internship subjects undertaken as electives will count towards your student visa work hour limits.

Hours worked for internship subjects which are a mandatory requirement of your course will not count towards your student visa work hour limits.

If you’re unsure whether or not your internship is mandatory, check our list of courses with a mandatory work experience component.

Voluntary work

One way to gain work experience and professional skills is to work as a volunteer. Hours spent volunteering will not count towards your student visa work hour limits, as long as:

  • Your main purpose in Australia continues to be your studies (and any work remains a secondary activity)
  • The work is genuinely voluntary, and would not otherwise be undertaken by an Australian resident as employment
  • The activities are for a non-profit organisation and no remuneration (in cash or kind) is received in return.

For more information, see the Fair Work Ombudsman fact sheet on unpaid work.

Workplace rights

If you will be working while in Australia, it's important to understand your workplace rights about things like pay, working conditions and health and safety.

Our Careers and Employability website has information about pay rates, work rights, and employment contracts. It also has specific information about your work rights during an internship.

Other useful resources include: