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Student Visa Rules


Many international students studying abroad in Australia will want to work during their time spent studying in the country. For these students, it is important to be aware of the rules that regulate them under their student visa when it comes to work.

Work Rules for International Students

International students in Australia on a valid student visa can work for up to 20 hours per week while school is in session, and there is no limit on the number of hours an international student can work during recognized school vacations. A work week in Australia is considered to be Monday through the following Sunday. Although they are allowed to arrive in Australia up to 90 days before their course begins, students are not allowed to begin working until after their courses have begun.

The 20-hour-per-week limit does not extend to any work the student is required to undertake as a component of his or her studies or training. Volunteer and unpaid work, however, does count towards the 20 hours. If an international student works more than the Australian restrictions allow, his or her visa may be cancelled.

Work Rules for Family Members of International Students

Family members (spouses and children) accompanying the international student under their student visa have the same work rights as the student – 20 hours per week. Unlike the students, family members may not exceed 20 hours per week, even during holidays. For those students obtaining a graduate degree, like a masters degree, their family can work unlimited hours. Like students, family members are allowed to work until after the student has started his or her course.

Work Permission and Visa Applications

Prior to April 26, 2008, students applying for a student visa to Australia were required to apply separately for permission to work. As of April 26, 2008, however, students are now able to receive permission to work along with their visa grant. This applies both to the student and any family members who may be travelling with the student under his or her visa. This saves students both time and money when applying for visas and work permission. The visa application fee in Australia is currently A$535.

International students who wish to study in Australia first need to be accepted into an Australian educational institute before applying for a student visa. When applying for a visa, students will need to supply a confirmation of enrollment issued by the Australian educational institution which the student intends to attend as part of their application. This serves as proof that the student is really staying in Australia for educational purposes. It is also recommended that students apply for a visa as early as possible for beginning their stay in Australia, due to the time it can take to process a visa application.

Further Rules and Regulations

Other rules and restrictions under Australian student visas include:

  • Students are required to pursue a consistent study program that has been approved by the Australian government.
  • Students have to fulfill all of the requirements of the study program in which they are enrolled.
  • Students must maintain satisfactory attendance in their course and course progress for each study period as required by their school.
  • Students are required to maintain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

Working during your stay in Australia is a great way for international students to supplement their finances. However, it is extremely important to be aware of the restrictions placed upon you as an international student. If you violate any of these restrictions, your student visa may be revoked and you could be deported out of Australia.

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