Student Visa Work Rights and Fair Work

Here you can find information for international students about student visa holder work rights and important information about fair work.

Working while you study

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 included with your 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.
  • 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).

When is my course 'In Session'?
Your course is 'In Session' during Semester 1 and Semester 2, if you enrol in Summer Session, or if you have completed your studies but your Confirmation of Enrolment is still valid (with the exception of masters by research or PhD students who have submitted their thesis for marking). In these instances the 40 hours per fortnight work limit applies.

For more information visit:

Working after your finish study

Student visa holder work rights and important fair work information

Prior to finding work, find out about your rights. Information can also be easily found online at the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website. This website includes everything you need to know about working in Australia. If you are still unsure, contact UNSW Careers and Employment.

If you feel that you have been a victim of exploitation by an employer, do not hesitate to contact a Fair Work Ombudsman immediately.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has also recently established an Overseas Workers’ Team. A free interpreter service for those from non-English speaking backgrounds is available by calling 13 14 50 and information about workplace laws is translated into 27 different languages at http://www.fairwork.gov.au/languages

See also