Student Visa Work Rights & 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. A student visa allows you to work up to 40 hours per fortnight once your program has commenced and is in session, and unrestricted hours when your program 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).

Please be advised that the academic calendar dates in 2019 will change. You can see the 2019 academic calendar dates here

When is my course 'In Session'?
Your course is 'In Session' during Term 1, Term 2 and Term 3; and if you enrol in Summer Term, or have completed your studies while your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) is still valid. The 40 hours work restriction per fortnight applies under these instances, unless you are studying a Masters by research or Doctorate courses who have submitted their thesis for marking. 

For more information visit:


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Working after you finish study

For information on post study work arrangements visit - 

See also:


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 website. This website includes everything you need to know about working in Australia. If you are still unsure, Careers and Employment.

If you feel that you have been a victim of exploitation by an employer, do not hesitate to 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