Working while studying in Australia

If you are an international student working in Australia, it is important you know your rights, entitlements and protections in the workplace.

Student picture

Did you know:

  • it is illegal for an employer to treat you any differently to other workers based on your gender, religion, culture or nationality?
  • you may be entitled to higher pay for working at night, on the weekend or during a public holiday?
  • your employer cannot dismiss you if you are away from work temporarily due to illness?
  • The Fair Work Ombudsman provides a free service to all people working in Australia. They have a range of information available on their website to help you understand your rights at work.

19 thoughts on “Working while studying in Australia

  1. In south bank there is 1 restaurant very busy Big restaurant… But he paid cash for all workers…what kind of punishment for him from immigration…

    • Hi Suraj,
      An employer may choose to pay employees in cash. This is acceptable as long as tax has been taken from the earnings and sent to the Australian Taxation Office. If you are unsure about your pay arrangements go to
      Thank you for visiting the Migration Blog.

  2. I just want to thank the Australian government for this wonderful,rare provision to international students.
    In other countries, international students are not allowed to engage in any kind of work, depriving them much needed industrial exposure and experience.for example, I’m studying community services, but the student working rights have given me a grand opportunity to contribute positively in disability industry for close to two years. Indeed this provision is an important supplement to our daily living as students.
    Once again, thank you very much and God bless Australia.

    • I agree that it is wonderful the Australian government allows international students to engage work that give them exposure and experience in the Australian working environment. Unlike other countries, they only give visa which is strickly for educational purpose which means you cannot work.

      I just hope that it will not be continuously abused by few who use this as an easy way to enter the country and work as if they came here without restrictions or visa conditions. For the sake of those who do come here as genuine students, i hope that this priviledge will not be taken away in the future because of some who do bend the rules.

  3. Right?? it is just words for us, international student. we work but pay is not enough for just rent . we know the rule that we are allow just 20 hour but in 20 hour we get maximum $200. how is it fair??? the owner or boss know we must work even we get low payment. so what we do???

    • Hi Shansila, thank you for your question.
      Pay rates and work conditions are set by Australian law. If you are concerned about your pay and conditions while working in Australia, you can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for help. More information can be viewed at:

  4. Hi ! I am confused whether a person in bridging visa from higher education 573 to PSW 485 visa is eligible to work or not? Is he/she eligible to work full time during this bridging visa while study has been cimpleted but still PSW visa in yet to be decided and student visa is still in effect. I did not get clear information regarding this matter from the website of DIBP/immigration.

    • Hi Kriss,
      The bridging visa will only come into effect once your current student visa expires and before the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa is decided. If your student visa is still valid, you are still able to work on that visa. Generally work entitlements can be included on the bridging visa, however you will need to check the conditions imposed on any bridging visa granted.
      Thank you for visiting the Migration Blog.

  5. Hi I work in a fast food Restaurent in Geelong, I work there since a year, I’m entitled to a flat rated pay, and I won’t get paid extra for working at weekends and public holidays.

    • Pay rates and work conditions are set by Australian law. If you are concerned about your pay and conditions while working in Australia, you can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for help. More information can be viewed at:

  6. I’m working here as a student for 20 hours and few people are misusing it and working 60+ a week. They are not going to university. They are taking advantages in all ways, how can I report this to immigration?

  7. I am curious about if there are rules around how many hours they should be attending their classes. Should the focus be on the study and not the work?

    • Hi Michelle,

      The main purpose of a student visa is to enable the holder to come to Australia and undertake studies. Should a person be seeking a work outcome in Australia, then work visa options can be viewed at:

      A student visa holder is required to maintain satisfactory attendance and progress through the course as required by their education provider.

      Thank you for your question.

  8. Also of note, you are entitled to Superannuation payments if you are earning over $450 over a calendar month. The ATO is a good starting place if you believe that you aren’t being paid correctly.

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