Conditions for Working While Studying

If you have been granted Permission to Work, there are restrictions on the number of hours you can work.

If you were granted a Student visa on or after 26 April 2008, you and your dependent family members will already have Permission to Work automatically included with your visa.

If you were granted a Student visa before 26 April 2008 and have not yet applied for Permission to Work, you and your family members may only apply for Permission to Work after you have started your course in Australia.

The table below outlines the work entitlements for you and your dependent family members if you have permission to work.

See: How to Apply for Permission to Work


Type of Applicant Work Entitlement
Students granted Permission to Work

You cannot undertake work until you have commenced your course in Australia. When your course has commenced you can work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight during the term and unlimited hours when your course is not in session.

Notes:

  • Work that is a formal registered part of your course is not included in the limit of 40 hours per fortnight.
  • If you are doing voluntary, unpaid work, it 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
    • would not otherwise be undertaken in return for wages by an Australian resident (that is, it is a designated volunteer position), and
    • is genuinely voluntary (that is, no remuneration, either in cash or kind is received—board and lodging acceptable).
  • If you are a subclass 574 (Postgraduate research sector) student visa holder and you have commenced your masters by research or doctorate course in Australia, you have unlimited work rights.
  • You can work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight during any preliminary courses you undertake on a subclass 574 (Postgraduate research sector) student visa.
    Example: ELICOS
Dependent family members granted Permission to Work

Dependent family members.

  • can work up to 40 hours per fortnight at all times
  • must not start work until the primary visa holder has commenced the course in Australia
  • have unlimited work rights if the primary visa holder has commenced a course towards a masters or doctorate degree and hold a subclass 573 (Higher education sector), 574 (Postgraduate research sector) or 576 (AusAID/Defence sector) student visa.

Important: You must also comply with the State and Territory laws of Australia. Under all State and Territory laws, you cannot work during school hours if you are under the school leaving age, which in most states is 15 years of age.

When is your course in session?

The department considers your course to be 'in session':

  • for the duration of the advertised semesters (including periods when exams are being held)
  • if you have completed your studies and your Confirmation of Enrolment is still in effect
  • if you are undertaking another course, during a break from your main course and the points will be credited to your main course.

See: How to apply for permission to work

Last reviewed Wednesday 27 August 2014