Balancing work and study

Many international students work outside of their study hours. If you’re an international student studying in Australia you can work part time (typically up to 48 hours per fortnight) during your course and for as long as you want during course breaks. Different visas have different conditions regarding the maximum number of hours you can work.

When working and studying in Australia, keep the following in mind that:

  • work that is a formal registered part of your course isn’t included in the limit of 48 hours per fortnight
  • if you’re doing voluntary, unpaid work, it isn’t included in the limit of 48 hours per fortnight (if it’s a designated volunteer position and there is no payment)
  • if you’re completing a postgraduate course and you’ve started your masters research or doctoral degree in Australia, there’s no limit on the number of hours you can work
  • typically you can work a maximum of 48 hours per fortnight during any preliminary courses you undertake on a postgraduate research sector student visa.

We’ve got some handy tips on finding a job in Australia while studying if you're seeking work. You'll also need to apply online for a Tax File Number (TFN), opens in new window to provide to your employer when you start working.

Dependents and working rights

If you’ve moved to Australia with family, your dependents can also work up to 48 hours per fortnight (depending on your visa). Keep in mind that neither yourself or your dependents can exceed the maximum hours per fortnight as this could lead to cancellation of your visa. You can find more information regarding the conditions or your visa by accessing the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system, opens in new window.

When studying at a masters or doctorate level, you and your dependents can work for unlimited hours.

Your rights as an employee

As an overseas student working in Australia, you’ll enjoy the same basic rights at work as Australians. These rights protect your entitlement to:

  • a minimum wage
  • challenge unfair dismissal from the job
  • breaks and rest periods
  • a healthy and safe working environment.

It’s important to ensure you have the correct visa before applying for work. Our visa considerations guide has more information on different types of visas and how to choose the right one for you. Employers can check your entitlements online by accessing the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system, opens in new window.

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