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Working while you study

One of the advantages of being an international student in Australia is that you can receive permission to work part time (up to 20 hours per week) while you study.

Permission to work

People granted student visas on or after 26 April 2008 will receive permission to work with their visa grant. If your student visa was granted before 26 April 2008 however, you can still apply separately to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) for permission to work once you have started your course in Australia. For more information go to the DIAC website.

If you have permission to work, you can work up to 20 hours per week while your course is in session. However, you cannot start work until you have commenced your course in Australia. If you’re bringing your family with you, your dependants can also work up to 20 hours per week once you have started your course in Australia. If you have started a course at the Masters or Doctorate level however, your dependents may work unlimited hours. If you or your dependents work in excess of these restrictions, your visas may be subject to cancellation.

You do not need a visa label in your passport to show your employer that you have permission to work. Your visa information is held electronically by DIAC and can be accessed at any time using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system. Employers, banks and Government services can also check details about your visa entitlements on VEVO once they have your consent to do so. For information on how to access VEVO please visit the DIAC website.

Types of work for international students

International students often find work in retail, hospitality and administration. You could expect to earn A$6-15 an hour, depending on the kind of work you do and your age. You may be paid more for working on Sundays or public holidays.

Tutoring younger students in the field you are studying, or in your native language is also a good way to earn money. Student tutors can earn about A$40 an hour.

Tax File Numbers

You should obtain a Tax File Number (TFN) from the Australian Tax Office if you are going to work in Australia. You may also need a TFN to open a bank account. In addition to supplying your name, current address and date of birth, you may also need to supply your date of arrival in Australia, your passport and proof of enrolment.

Your TFN is valuable. Don’t share it with friends and don’t provide it on the internet when applying for work. Keep it secure.

Student visa information on this website is an outline only and subject to change. For more detailed, accurate and up-to-date information on student visas and visa requirements please check the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.


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