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Student Work Rights

Student Work RightsAustralia offers excellent work rights for student visa-holders. Unlike countries like the USA, which only allow a student to work ‘on-campus’, an Australian visa lets you work anywhere. You can earn an income while studying to gain valuable Australian work experience. Once you receive your Tax File Number you are ready to go!

Permitted work hours for international students

Currently, students on a visa can work up to 40 hours within a two-week period, and full-time during school holidays.

For example, if you are employed by a cafe you can be scheduled to work 26 hours one week and 14 hours the following week. Then your 40 hours start again for the next 2 weeks. However, in break periods, for example the 6-week summer break in Dec/Jan, you can work as many hours as you like.

Work that is NOT included in the 40 hours

  • any work that is mandatory for your program/qualification – ie.  A 3-month teaching practum at a primary school

  • voluntary, unpaid work – ie. assisting at a food charity

  • if you are online a subclass 574 visa (postgraduate research) you have unlimited work rights

Dependent family members

If you have dependent family members living in Australia on your visa, they too can work up to 40 hours per fortnight. They cannot begin work until the primary visa holder has started their studies.


Tax File Number

In order to get a job, you will need to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN). This is a requirement for the payroll of every business.

You are considered a ‘resident for tax purposes’ if you are enrolled in a program that is more than 6 months long. If the program is less than that, you will most likely be a ‘non-resident for tax purposes’, and have to pay a higher tax rate (but you may get a partial refund for tax paid once you leave the country).

This site will help you learn about Taxation in Australia.