How long can you work on a Student Visa in Australia?

Roberto Efflandrin

If you’re an international student studying in Australia, you may find yourself wanting to work so that you can earn some extra money to support yourself..

In this article we’ll take a look at the allowed working hours, rules, rights and requirements if you want to work while on an Australian student visa . We’ll also let you know how Wise can help make converting between AUD and your home currency that little bit cheaper.

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Working in Australia as an International student.

The Australian student visa is the Subclass 500 Student visa.¹ When granted it enables international students to move to Australia, participate in an eligible course of study and work for a certain number of hours per week.

The working hours and rules for foreign students are governed by Australian labour laws and the Migration Act 1958.²

Read more: Student visa for Australia

International students working hours

International students on a Subclass 500 student visa are normally allowed to work up to 40 hours per fortnight.² A fortnight is defined by Australian Immigration as being a 14 day period that starts on a Monday and ends on a Sunday.

In practical terms, the 40 hour limit per fortnight means you are usually limited to working up to 20 hours per week. Let’s take a look at an example to see why.⁵

  • Week 1: 10 hours
  • Week 2: 30 hours
  • Week 3: 20 hours
  • Week 4: 20 hours

Looking at Week 1 and 2, there’s 40 hours total so it’s under the fortnightly limit. Week 3 and 4 also totals 40 hours, so again it’s fine. But, Week 2 and 3 is also seen as a fortnight, and that fortnight 50 hours were worked which is over the limit.

As you can see, it’s a good idea to keep track of your hours each week and aim not to go over 20.

Important update - Student working hours restriction eased²

At the time of writing (August 2022) the number of hours a student on a Subclass 500 visa could work had been relaxed due to labour shortages in Australia.

The new rules enable students to begin working before their course of study commences and work more than 40 hours per week. There is no limit on how many hours you can work, but in Australia the amount of maximum hours without reasonable cause is 38 per week.⁴

These measures are only temporary but are currently indefinite, meaning no end date has been given.² If you’re on a Subclass 500 visa it’s a good idea to monitor the situation so you have the most up to date information regarding your work rights and allowances.


Rules and requirements to be able to work these hours as an international student.

To be able to work as an international student you do need to make sure you follow the rules and requirements that apply to your visa.² Here’s some of the main obligations you have if you’re working on a Subclass 500 visa.

  • You must stay enrolled in the course of study you listed as your reason for needing a student visa.
  • Your attendance at course related events including lectures, tutorials, exams and classes needs to be satisfactory. What is considered a satisfactory attendance is often determined by the institution you're studying at.
  • You should be making satisfactory progress in completing your course, meaning you are passing your units of study and working through your course at the expected rate.

If you don’t meet these obligations and you’re working, you could be found in breach of your visa conditions.²

Read more: Bank accounts for international student in Australia

International student working rights

If you’re legally working in Australia there’s certain rights that you have, regardless of what visa you came in on. These rights are laid out in the National Employment Standards and include some of the following things.³

  • Leave entitlements
  • Public holiday pay rates
  • The Fair Work Information Statement
  • The Casual Employment Information Statement

Also, if you are over the age of 21 you can not be paid less than the national minimum wage, which is decided by the Fair Work Commission.³ At the time of writing, the minimum wage was $21.38 per hour before tax for permanent employees. Casual employees that work under the national minimum wage are also entitled to an additional 25% loading.

Read more: Jobs for international student in Australia

The Wise account

The Wise multi-currency account offers you local account details in 10 world currencies including AUD. You can receive your salary directly into your own local AUD account and easily convert and send your money back home if you need to.

You can also order your own Wise debit card to be linked to your account, so you can spend your hard earned cash anywhere Visa is accepted.

Wise can also be used to send and be sent money internationally, at the real exchange rate and with low fees shown upfront.

Best of luck with your work and studies.

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  1. Australian Government - Subclass 500 Student visa
  2. Australian Government - Temporary relaxation of working hours for student visa holders
  3. Fair Work Ombudsman - Visa holders and migrant workers – workplace rights and entitlements
  4. Fair Work Ombudsman - Maximum weekly hours
  5. University of Melbourne - Working on a student visa
  6. Fair Work Ombudsman - Minimum wages

Sources checked on: 7 August 2022

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This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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