Working while you are an international student

Can I work if I am an international student?

If you are a student visa holder, you and your dependent family members have permission to work included with your visa. You and your family members must not breach the work conditions that apply to their student visa.

You cannot work until you have commenced your course in Australia. Once your course has commenced you are permitted to work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight 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 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
  • is genuinely voluntary (that is, you are not paid either in cash or other-board and lodging is acceptable).

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.

If you are a postgraduate research student:

  • you can work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight during any preliminary courses you undertake
  • if you have commenced your masters by research or doctoral degree in Australia, there is no limit on the number of hours you may work.

Family members granted permission to work

Family members:

  • must not start work until the primary visa holder has commenced their course in Australia
  • can work up to 40 hours per fortnight at all times unless the primary visa holder has commenced a course towards a masters or doctoral degree and holds a Student visa (subclass 500). In this case there is no limit on the number of hours a family member might work.


A fortnight is a period of 14 days commencing on any Monday and ending on the second following Sunday.

Students found to have breached their work conditions might be subject to cancellation of their visa.

Course in session

The Department of Immigration considers your course to be 'in session':

  • for the duration of the advertised semesters, including examination periods
  • if you have completed your studies and your Confirmation of Enrolment is still valid (with the exception of masters by research or PhD students who have submitted their thesis for marking)
  • when you are undertaking another course, during a break from your main course and points from that course will be credited to your main course.

Additional information about student visa work conditions

You can view your visa online using Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO). VEVO is a free internet service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It allows you, and your employer or the university, to view your visa details online.

For more information about permission to work while studying, visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) website. If you hold a visa other than a Student Visa, please contact DIBP for information about any restrictions that may apply to your visa.
Note: DIBP does not have an email address, you must use their web form to sumbit your enquiry online.

The UWA Careers Centre advertises part-time and casual work which may be suitable for international students.

You must obtain a Tax File Number to be able to work in Australia. This is available from the Australian Tax Office.

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