How many hours a student in Australia is allowed to work?


One of the most appealing aspects for students to choose to study in Australia is the ability to work while studying. Many other countries like Canada, the US and the UK have restrictions on working. However, frequently there are misconceptions about how many hours a student is allowed to work and when they may be breaching their visa conditions.

By law, a student is able to work 40 hours per fortnight and unlimited hours while the course is not in session.

Here are some examples:

If you work in week one 30 hours and in week two 10 hours, you are not breaching your conditions because you worked in total 40 hours fortnight (two weeks). Also, working full-time while you are on holidays is not against the law.

If you are working 30 hours per week, then you are breaching your visa conditions and this could lead to your visa being cancelled or cause issues when applying for another visa later.

This condition applies not only the student but also to the dependants on the same visa (i.e. wife – husband). The difference is the dependent can only ever work 20 hours per week.

The only exception for the dependent is if you are studying a master or a doctorate degree, your partner is allowed to work full-time while you are completing your studies.

More “tips”

Another interesting “tip” is related to when you are able to start working in the country. In this case, if you are planning to come to Australia weeks before your course starts, remember that you are only allowed to work AFTER your course has started

On the other hand, if you are student under a Postgraduate Research Sector visa (574), you don’t have working restrictions in Australia. Nonetheless, you are expected to have a satisfactory progress in your course.

Finally, as a general advice, while studying helps support you while you are in Australia, students, if possible, should not rely solely on working while studying to pay for the costs of their studies and living expenses.

At EMSA, we post weekly jobs on our website for students ( and if you are interested in studying in Australia, we can help you to achieve your dreams!

Just leave a comment and we will solve your questions!

106 replies
  1. shuchi
    shuchi says:

    Hey this link really clarified my ideas of working during studying in Australia . Thanks !

    I am a student and coming to Australia for my Masters in feb 2015 and I would like to work part time with EMSA


  2. jefferson fernando
    jefferson fernando says:

    Thank informative text. I wonder how much is required in cash to enter the country because it will make an exchange of 3 months. And if I can work even making an exchange of 3 months.

  3. chan
    chan says:

    THanks for this imformation.
    you mentioned that “By law, a student is able to work 40 hours per fortnight and unlimited hours while the course is not in session.” Could I please ask about which law regarding to this. THanks!!

  4. Bishnu
    Bishnu says:

    My General test results is
    Speaking- 5
    Reading- 4.5
    Listening- 4.5
    Writing- 5
    Overall = 5
    Recently I am working in Japan as a cook
    Does my ielts score meet the requirements?
    Can I apply for Australia?

  5. Hung Nguyen
    Hung Nguyen says:

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    I am currently holding student visa (subclass 574). My wife also is on my dependent visa. Can we open a small business as family partnership?. Thank you

  6. Phan Hoang
    Phan Hoang says:

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    I am just completed my PhD program which was sponsored by my government of Vietnam. I would like to apply a skilled independent visa(subclass 189). Do I need any supporting document from the scholarship provider to support my application. Thank you!

  7. Mujahid
    Mujahid says:

    I am interested in Masters (Research ) Accounting or finance. Can you please guide me procedure for it. I browsed but didn’t get enough information.

    Kind regards

  8. Yousuf
    Yousuf says:


    I’m planning to accompany my wife, who will be on student visa for 2yrs diploma. Below are my questions:

    1. As a dependent, how many hours m i allowed to work?

  9. Aidan
    Aidan says:

    Hi im here on a study visa as my spouse is training for twelve weeks for her I still only allowed work 20 hrs pw even tho im not actually studying

  10. Aniruddha Vijay Goswami
    Aniruddha Vijay Goswami says:

    My visa is subclass 573
    I am a master’s student @ griffith university brisbane.
    As per immigration website, dependents are allowed to work for 40hrs per week and if the student is a master’s student then their dependents can work for unlimited hrs…
    Likewise, students have permit to work unlimited hrs when their course is not in session ie vacations…
    My question is:- do they actually mean unlimited hrs
    Or for them unlimited = 40hrs
    I am confused…?

  11. Varinder kaur
    Varinder kaur says:

    Hi EMSA, I am a Bachelor Nursing student. I just want to ask about my work limits because my semester has completed, just two exam are due in next this november month. Can you please guide me?. Thanks

  12. Vj
    Vj says:

    I have come to Australia on a dependant visa (subclass 574) and currently working for an IT firm for the last 10 months. If my company is ready to sponsor then can I apply for a PR? My partner has 3 years to complete her phd.


  13. Jobin mandura
    Jobin mandura says:

    Hi Im currently university student with 572 or 573 visa(not sure) and my new employer wants me to work 21 hours per week. Is it safe and justifiable or should i refuse and work 20 hours per week

    • EMSA Team
      EMSA Team says:

      Hi Jobin

      You should stick to the norm of 40 hours per fortnight and full-time while you are in holidays. This means you might be able to work 21 hours in one week. However, the following week, your hours should be decreased to 19.

      thank you

  14. Henry Nguyen
    Henry Nguyen says:

    Hi EMSA,

    In term of working 40 hours per fortnight, if my final exam ends in the middle of a week (Thursday), am I allow to work unlimited hours during that week or I have to wait until the week after? Thank you!

  15. carlos
    carlos says:

    I’m employing a guy on a student visa and he only works for me 20 hrs each week (which he’s allowed by his visa condition). I suspect he’s also working extra hrs for another company each week….I would like to know if I’m breaking the law by giving this person work or do I have nothing to worry about because I’m complying with the law by providing him with just 20hrs work. Many thanks

    • EMSA Team
      EMSA Team says:

      Hi Carlos

      Thanks for your message. On a student visa, a student is generally allowed to work 20 hours per week and full time in holidays if they are the main applicant (student). If they are studying a PHD or a dependent of someone studying a Masters degree, then they can work full time.

      So if they have permission for 20 hours per week (40 hours per fortnight), then if you are employing them for 20 hours then this meets the condition of their student visa. However if they are working 2 jobs and more than 20 hours, then they would be breaching the conditions.

      Hope this helps


  16. Jasbir
    Jasbir says:

    My question is that as I am doing elicos , So how many hours my husband can work during elicos period in australia ??? Please reply me it’s very very urgent for me .

  17. Rada
    Rada says:

    My husband got endeavour scholarship to study in Australia. Since i also wanted to do my Masters and got offer letter, i applied for a dependent visa in the interest of time and thought i will convert it to student visa after arriving in Australia since dependent visa allows me to study for 3 months. Is it possible to do that. can i apply for a student visa while studying in Australia?

  18. Chavit
    Chavit says:

    Hi, my wife is studying bachelor, she is on a holiday at the moment. I know the she can work fulltime. I want to clear if i can work fulltime as well during the holiday. Thank you.

  19. Iraj
    Iraj says:

    I am 20, and I will arrive in Australia soon. I will be doing a foundation leading to a bachelors program. However i wanted to know whether or not any restrictions apply to do part time jobs (meeting the criteria of 40 hours per fortnight) during foundation year in the university. I was looking forward to working part time as it allows me to mix and engage with people in a diverse multicultural environment.

  20. Mandy
    Mandy says:

    My husband is studying PhD subclass 574 and we have a bridging visa to extend his visa. I’m a dependent so how many hours I can work. I’m sure I can work unlimited hours. But my boss allowed me only 20 hours a week. and he put me in casual on call. Please help me answer this question.
    Many thanks

  21. Govinda
    Govinda says:

    Hi I am a Govinda spouse of my wife .she is the bachelor holiday period can I have allowed to work full time

  22. mary joyce reyes
    mary joyce reyes says:

    Hi, my partner is on a student visa subclass 572, I and our son are his dependents. He is studying his diploma currently. He is allowed to work 40 hours a fortnight and fulltime on holidays. I am entitled to work full time on holidays as well?

    Thanks so much.

  23. Odessa Tesorero
    Odessa Tesorero says:

    Just an inquiry, I am an International student in Perth Australia, and currently working as an online admin assistant for a financial company based in Atlanta USA (part time , 3 hours per day) . Can this be excluded with work restrictions since the company is not base in Australia. Other thing, I am gonna join for a sales and marketing job on commission basis and NO basic salary,, How would the 20 hours per week apply on my situation? Can I still keep the online job?

    Thank you for your reply. Odessa

  24. tintin
    tintin says:

    Hello! I am currently on a 572 visa and my husband is with me as my dependant. Is he also allowed to work full time during term/semestral breaks? Thank you.

  25. Sukhi
    Sukhi says:

    Hi my sister is studying masters she has to allow only 20 hours per week can u let me know how many hours her husband work under ABN no. Unlimited or 40 hors per week pls explain me as soon as possible it’s very urgent thx

  26. Aby
    Aby says:


    I want to take part in a part time course of one night per week in Australia. Would I still be restricted to 20 hours per week of paid work?

    • EMSA Team
      EMSA Team says:

      Hi Aby

      For an student visa you have to comply with your visa conditions which are: – Full time courses and No more than 40 hours per fortnight of work.


  27. Mani
    Mani says:

    Hi.. I have an query regarding working on cash. We are on masters 573 visa. My wife is main aplicant and she is working on tfn.. But i am working on cash. Does it create any problem in future as we deposit full sum of amount in comm bamk. We have a joint account.


  28. Kaylee
    Kaylee says:

    I finish my final semester of Masters in first week of June. I do not have any exams or assignments after that. So can I start working unlimited hours after first week of June like they say during vacation or is my course still considered to be in session until my COE ends on 30th June.

    Please reply. This thing is really bugging me.

  29. Karthika
    Karthika says:

    Hi, my husband is planning to come Australia with PR. If i come as a dependent to him, can i work for full time? If not what are all the restrictions? We both are having Engineering degree. I have 3 yrs experience in IT firm.

  30. Kev
    Kev says:

    I was previously on a working holiday visa, and have a full-time job. Then my student visa was granted, does that mean I have to quit my job right away (due to restriction 8105)? And also, I already worked full-time for another week before I found out just now that my student visa was granted a week ago, so did I just commit a breach in my restrictions?

  31. Roland
    Roland says:

    Hi EMSA,

    I am currently working as per the 40 hours limit per fortnight. My question is does working full time technically begin at the end of the semester weeks or at the end of my exams for that semester.


  32. Lina
    Lina says:

    Hi,I’ll finish my degree on 24th June 2016. Then I will have the legal right to work full-time. However, there’s a problem. My student visa will be expired on 31th Aug 2016. So can I work full-time till 31th Aug, or after semester break, I have to work part-time even if I don’t have any semester ahead.
    Moreover, if I apply for visa 485 in July, my bridging visa will be granted after 31 Aug, or will be granted immediately. Thanks so much.

  33. kb
    kb says:

    I am already in Australia on visa subclass 574 (PG Research) but i have always thought that I can work only 20hrs/week. This in interesting to me. I never knew this.

  34. Albermen Barraquiel
    Albermen Barraquiel says:

    I have a subclass 573 visa, studying Master (coursework)
    I understand that I am only allowed to work 40 hours per fortnight, while my wife can work unlimited.
    I am working as a chef in an aged nursing home, and I wish to apply as a youth development officer in Australian Red Cross
    However, this will result to 40 hours per week. I read somewhere that we can work more than 40 hrs/fortnight if we are doing humanitarian work. Is this true? Is working with Australian Red Cross classified as humanitarian?

  35. Rashmi
    Rashmi says:

    Im studying degree program 573. I want to know working limit for my husband. can he work unlimited.

    • EMSA Team
      EMSA Team says:


      If you are studying a MASTER DEGREE, your husband doesn’t have work restriction. However, if you are studying a Bachelor degree, he still has the 40 hours per fortnight restriction.

      Thank you

  36. bchristopher
    bchristopher says:

    Hi, I came here as a dependent visa under subclass 573 as my wife is taking Bachelor degree and I am also aware of my work restrictions, I would like to ask if there is any way I can work full time aside from school holidays coz it seems i got bored already staying at home for 4 days in a week. Do you have any knowledge how to convert my visa into work visa so that I can have full time work rights in Australia.

  37. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    Hi. During my course, i have summer vacations which lasts for 3 months. However, my friend said i couldn’t stay here over 90 days on vacation and i will be forced to come back to my country until my next term start. Is it true?

  38. kia
    kia says:


    I am have Student visa (subclass 500. I can only work 40 hours per fortnight when my course is “in session” including examination period. But what happens if I do not have any final exams in that particular semester? Can i work unlimited hours during examination period then?

    Look forward to your answer

    Thank You

      • Bridget?
        Bridget? says:

        Does the period of time “not in the university” referred to here includes Leave of Absence? Can i work more than 40 hours if i am on leave of absence?

        • EMSA Team
          EMSA Team says:

          Thank you for your enquiry. We’d be happy to assist you with your current situation and help to plan your pathway forward.

          As Australia’s immigration program is very complex and there may be a number of possible ways for you to apply for residency, please complete the assessment form via the link below. The information you provide will help our Migration Team identify your visa options and possible pathways

          To make sure we have all the information, you must complete the following sections:

          Personal Particulars
          Marital Status
          Current Residential address
          Citizenship Details
          Passport Details
          Addresses (including your home country address)
          Education Details (all school, college and uni information here and overseas)
          Employment details
          Australian Visa Applications
          Once you’ve completed the relevant sections, click “submit” in the bottom left hand corner, once we have received it our Migration team will:

          Assess your case and provide you with some free written advice
          Arrange an appointment and confirm if you are eligible for a free initial consultation or if it will carry a fee.
          Please let us know if you have any questions and we look forward to assisting you!

          Warm regards,

          The EMSA Team

  39. Shashi
    Shashi says:

    Hi, I am on Student Visa 573. My last class for spring session is on 10 th october. however, my last assignment is due on 26 th october. i wanted to know that 40 hrs work restriction will applicable from 10 th oct or 26 th oct. Can i work more unlimited hours from 11 th oct?

  40. pramukh
    pramukh says:

    u can only work 40 hours per 2 weeks when your course is going on ….so if u get a vacation break between your course there is no time limit for working…

  41. Jansen
    Jansen says:


    we are here in melbourne, me and my wife. She is studying bachelor in nursing.. we are allowed to work 20 hours per forthnight? and during school holidays/vacation, can we do unlimited hours to work? or is she the only one to allowed to work for unlimitted and I will just do 40 hours per fortnight.. thanks..

    • Shannon Semenikow
      Shannon Semenikow says:

      Thank you for contacting us!

      In order to start assessing your case, could you email to

      – E-mail
      – Phone number
      – Nationality
      – City of residence
      – Profession

      Also, if you can give us a little bit more information about your case that would help us to improve the assessment.

      Alternatively, you can come to our office in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Venezuela, India, Philippines, Nigeria or Colombia.

      Hope to hear soon from you

      Kind Regards!

      EMSA Team

  42. Rohit
    Rohit says:

    hi i am rohit
    if in a holiday ,student work for 8 hours
    then these 8 yrs will count within 20 hrs per week or not

    please tell me

  43. Omar
    Omar says:

    I have visa Subclass 573, I am doing Masters and I’m wondering if i work for a full time for my company back home is this breaching my visa conditions ? I will get paid from oversease

  44. Hari
    Hari says:

    Hi,I am holding subclass 573 student I eligible to work on abn????.If so how many hours fortnightly???.
    Thank you

    • Shannon Semenikow
      Shannon Semenikow says:

      With this visa:

      you can study in Australia
      eligible dependant family members can accompany you to Australia
      when you have commenced your course of study in Australia, you can work up to 40 hours per fortnight while your course is in session and unlimited hours during scheduled course breaks. You must also comply with State and Territory workplace laws .
      your family members can work up to 40 hours per fortnight provided you have commenced your course of study in Australia. If you are doing a postgraduate course, such as a Masters degree, your family members can work unlimited hours once you commence this course.
      your family members who are 18 or older can study in Australia for up to three months. If they want to study for more than three months they must apply for their own student visa. The application can be made in Australia.

    SHUBHAM says:

    This article is very helpful for me and I’m very clear about studies in Australia…Now just one confusion in my mind that as my Age is 18 and coming to Australiafor graduation is am able to work there in places like cafeterias..Nd amount that I get for work 1 hour . Reply me soon..

  46. Anshda
    Anshda says:

    Sir ,
    I wish to know what all degrees are required for becoming a criminologist ?
    Also does those degrees come under SOL .
    Your reply is in urgent need !!
    Thanks !

  47. Pilar
    Pilar says:

    Hello, I would like to know if as a student visa partner with full time work permit can I start a small business in Australia?

  48. heirgill
    heirgill says:

    Hey I was wondering can you work full-time after your classes are officialy finished like classes are officialy closed on 29th of may,i.e., I won’t be having labs or classes anymore. But I still have Exams by 6th of June, so can I work full time then like between 29th of may & 6th of june. Or is it that I can work full time only after my exams are over.

  49. Bijay Sainju
    Bijay Sainju says:

    I am planning to study Masters of Professional Accounting in Australia.But, the university provided me two offer letters,one is related to Graduate Diploma in Accounting and another is Masters of Professional Accounting as I am a three years Bachelors holder.In this case, can my dependent work full time in Australia while I’d be studying Graduate Diploma in Accounting?

  50. Ana
    Ana says:

    I’m am currently on a student visa 572, I’m currently working as a cook and was offered an sponsorship towards the end of my course on October. I’m on school holiday ATM can my dependent work unlimited hours during this time? Tnx

  51. JosephADR
    JosephADR says:


    I just want to ask this question.

    I already have a work that allocates my 40 hrs limit. What if I can do some online typing jobs like in The Freelancer and rates are based on pages, not on hours or days. Does that will breach my visa conditions?

    Hopefully could help me, thanks.

  52. Regina Din
    Regina Din says:

    Dear EMS,

    I’m a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and currently living here in Australia and waiting for my temporary spouse visa, my concern is , am i allowed to study a masteral accounting degree , if so what are the requirements? Secondly am i allowed to work while studying? Appreciate your help. Thanks a lot.


  53. Drubo K
    Drubo K says:

    Hi i have a limit of 20 hours per week but iwas a casual in 2 jobs. Only a few occassion i work more than 40 hours per fortnight as in most of the weeks i didnt have any hours to work at all. Is this okay

  54. Patryk
    Patryk says:

    Hello, I am doing a coursework masters.
    I was just wondering about working with an ABN and TFN and to ensure that it is allowed.
    The ABN would be working as a sole trader – just odd jobs here and there, essentially whatever I can find on gumtree or aistasker.
    Obviously I would keep the combined to 40 hours fortnightly. I just want to make sure that it is okay. Additionally, if there are resources you could point me towards in order to ensure I use the ABN correctly. Specifically with invoicing and record keeping, to ensure I can show my hours.

    Thank you.

  55. Laura
    Laura says:

    Hi EMSA,

    If I was holding 573 student visa, but I had finished all my courses and had received the completion letter in July from my uni. My student visa expired at 30/08. I just applied the 485 visa at 30/08 and got bridging visa on 30/08. My question is that if I am allowed to work unlimited from the date when I received the completion letter (15/07) to 30/08?


  56. Laura
    Laura says:

    Hi EMSA,

    My case is: I was holding student visa till 30/08, it expired at 30/08 and I received a bridging visa for 485 visas on 30/08. I have finished all my courses in June, received the completion letter on 15/07 and my graduation ceremony was on 19/09. So my question is that if I am allowed to work unlimited from the date when I received completion letter (15/07) to 30/08 – before receiving the bridging visa.
    The HR said I was only allowed to work 20 hours a week legally as I have finished the courses and that period is not a uni break and I was still holding the student visa. But I think that is incorrect.


  57. Nabeel
    Nabeel says:


    I am currently on a student visa and have completed an Advanced diploma in engineering. Does this mean that my emplyer can emply as full time until my visa expires?

    Kind regards

  58. Astha
    Astha says:

    Hello i am in student visa and i have completed my studies MPA but my visa expires on 20 dec and i finished my studies on 20 october.. can i work for full time in student visa once i completed my masters degree before applying TR??

  59. G
    G says:

    Hey, i’m a student and i completed my bachelors this semester. Until i apply for TR can i work more than 20 hours or not. Because technically i finished my uni and i’m on my holidays until i get my TR. Furthermore you have mentioned that working 40 hours per fortnight is legal. But later you have said that working 30 hours per week is a breach of the law. Can you please clarify this to me?

    Thank you

  60. gishi
    gishi says:

    Hey, i’m a student and i completed my bachelors this semester. Until i apply for TR can i work more than 20 hours or not. Because technically i finished my uni and i’m on my holidays until i get my TR. Furthermore you have mentioned that working 40 hours per fortnight is legal. But later you have said that working 30 hours per week is a breach of the law. Can you please advice me on this cause as i’m struggling to get some proper information about this scenario.

    Thank you

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