The work conditions offered as part of a student visa provide an opportunity for international students to gain cultural experience during their stay in Australia, and can also help them improve their English language skills. However it is important to recognise that international students should not rely on work in Australia to pay for the costs of their studies and living expenses. Most international students are restricted to a maximum of 40 hours work per fortnight while their course is in session and may only work unlimited hours during scheduled course breaks. These conditions protect students from the pressures of excessive work commitments which might mean that they are unable to finish their course successfully.
The below examples illustrate how work conditions on a student visa operate:
- Sally arrives in Australia three weeks before her Certificate III in Hospitality starts. Within one week, she finds a job as waitress. She begins working two-weeks after her arrival. Sally is in breach of her work conditions as she is working before her course has commenced.
- Abu came to Australia with his wife Jane on a Higher Education Sector (subclass 573) visa. Jane is studying a bachelor degree at university. Abu decides to take on a full time job with a local accounting firm. He is in breach of his visa conditions. This is because Subclass 573 dependants are not allowed to work more than 40 hours a fortnight unless the student is studying a masters or doctorate degree .
- Fatima is studying commercial cookery in Australia on a Vocational Education and Training sector (subclass 572) visa and is offered some work experience during the holidays. She works 75 hours a fortnight. Fatima is not breaching her work conditions as she is allowed to work unlimited hours while her course is not in session.
- Sajeed is working while studying in Australia on a Vocational Education and Training (subclass 572) visa. His roster for the next month looks like this:
|Week one||Week two||Week three||Week four|
|30 hours||10 hours||35 hours||5 hours|
Sajeed is in breach of his visa conditions. This is because he will work more than 40 hours in week two and week three (he will work 45 hours). Sajeed should discuss this with his employer and ask to have his roster updated. For more information on the 40 hour a fortnight work condition, please visit our website.
- Ellen is studying her PhD. She is also tutoring at the university for about 50 hours a fortnight. Ellen is not breaching her student visa conditions. This is because the Postgraduate Research Sector visa (subclass 574) does not have a restriction on the number of hours a student can work. Ellen will still have to be careful to ensure she is achieving satisfactory progress on her PhD.