If you are on a student visa, you must not start working in Australia before your study course has started and is in session. A course will be “in session” from the start of the semester until the end of the semester (including exam periods). A course will also be in session if you enrol in a subject that counts towards your main course during term breaks, for example, winter or summer school.
If you are on a student visa, you can usually work up to 40 hours per fortnight while your course is in session, and unlimited hours during holiday breaks. If you are studying for a masters or doctorate degree, then you can also work for more than 40 hours a fortnight.
You can work for more than 40 hours a fortnight if you are employed:
It is important that you continue to balance your study and work commitments or you may be in breach of your visa conditions. Students who work more than 40 hours a fortnight need to:
You can read more about the temporary changes to working hours for student visa holders at this external site here.
All workers in Australia, including international students, have the same workplace rights including minimum pay and conditions.
There are minimum pay rates that employees must be paid, based on the work they do. You can find out more about pay here.
Employees also have other minimum conditions at work. These are set out in documents called an Award, an agreement, or a Standard. This external site has more information about Award or agreements. You can find out more about working conditions here.
If you think you are not receiving minimum rights and conditions, we strongly recommend that you contact us here for free and confidential help.
For more information about your rights and obligations as a worker, you can visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website here. There is also information specific to international students, including a factsheet, here on their website.
If you are worried that making a report about work will impact your visa, we strongly recommend that you contact us for free and confidential legal advice. We can help you work out whether you are being exploited at work and what you can do. You may choose to do nothing – whatever you choose it will be 100% your decision.
Usually, your student visa won’t be cancelled if you have breached your work-related visa conditions because of workplace exploitation. This is because of a document called the Assurance Protocol. It ensures that visa holders can get help without fear of their visa being cancelled, even if they have breached their work-related visa conditions.
The Assurance Protocol applies if:
If you have a problem or a question, you can send it to us today and we can provide you with free advice, information and referrals to help solve your problem. Just click on the button below.Get help now