Work and Study
You can enter Australia on a student visa but in order to figure out if this is the right decision for you, you need to fully understand exactly what’s required, whether you’re single, married or with a family, as there are many conditions.
You’re allowed to work on this visa and you may even be able to follow on to apply for a permanent visa, but only if you abide by its conditions.
working and studying at the same time
Yes, you’re allowed to work but not until you’ve commenced your course within Australia.
Once your course has begun you’re permitted to work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight when your course is in session and unlimited hours when it’s not. Work that’s a formal, registered part of your course isn’t included in this limit.
Plus, if you’re doing voluntary, unpaid work, it’s not included in the 40 hour limit per fortnight if it meets all of the following conditions:
- It benefits the community
- It’s for a non-profit organisation
- It wouldn’t otherwise be undertaken in return for wages by an Australian resident (that is, it’s a designated volunteer position)
- It’s genuinely voluntary (that is, no remuneration either cash or in-kind is received – though board and lodging is acceptable)
postgraduate research sector student visa
If you’re a subclass 574 (postgraduate research sector) student visa holder and you’ve commenced your masters by research or doctoral degree in Australia, there’s no limit on the number of hours you may work.
You can also work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight during any preliminary courses you undertake on this visa.
how’s a 40 hour fortnight calculated?
Say, for example, after your course has commenced on a student visa, you work the following numbers of hours over a four week period:
- Week 1 – 15 hours of work
- Week 2 – 25 hours of work
- Week 3 – 25 hours of work
- Week 4 – 10 hours of work
During the fortnight that’s made up of Weeks 1 and 2 you worked a total of 40 hours so you haven’t breached your work conditions. Similarly, in the fortnight of Weeks 3 and 4 you worked 35 hours so you’re fine.
However, you’ve unfortunately worked 50 hours in the fortnight that includes Weeks 2 and 3 so you’ve exceeded the limit.
It doesn’t matter which fortnight it falls within – if you work over 40 hours within any fortnight then you’re considered to have breached your work conditions and you may be subject to cancellation of your visa.