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Your Student Working Visa

15 Feb 2017


One of the benefits of working in Australia as an international student is that your student visa allows you to work part-time whilst you gain your qualification.

Provided you are studying a full-time course at a registered training provider like Melbourne Polytechnic, the visa allows you to work up to 20 hours per week, and voluntary unpaid work is not included in this 20 hours.

As stated by the Department of Immigration and Border Security, there are rules around working on a student visa:

  • You can’t work until you have started your course in Australia. Once your course has started you can work a maximum of 20 hours per week 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 (such as Bachelor of Education Early Years childcare placement) 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 and is genuinely voluntary (that is, you are not paid either in cash or other—board and lodging is acceptable).

Note that 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.

Another excellent benefit of the student visa is that family members may be eligible to accompany you to Australia and are also able to work under your visa. Family members are unable to start work until you (the primary visa holder) has started your course in Australia. Your family member can work up to 40 hours per fortnight at all times unless you have commenced a course towards a masters or doctoral degree and hold a Student visa (subclass 500). In this case, there is no limit on the number of hours a family member might work.

There are many resources where you can find part-time work to assist you with your expenses and become part of the wider community whilst you are in Australia. Seek, CareerOne and My Career are just a few:


My Career

You may also like to register for voluntary work here. Please note that a condition of working or volunteering with anyone under the age of 16 in Victoria, you are required to have a ‘Working with Children Check’ card. You can find out more about the cards here.

You can check your visa conditions at the governments Visa Entitlement Verification Online service here.

Pic: Fabian Mardi