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

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!

4 comments on "How many hours a student in Australia is allowed to work?"

  • Avatar Nandish Patel says:

    is it okay if i do week1 -15 week2 – 25 week3 – 25 week4 -10 hours for four weeks? or it will be a breach? as for fortnight week 2 and 3 i am doing more than 40 hours?

    • Siobhan Chisolm Siobhan Chisolm says:

      Hi Nandish
      Immigration specify that you must not work in Australia for more than 40 hours a fortnight when your course of study or training is in session. A fortnight means the period of 14 days commencing on a Monday (condition 8105)

  • Siobhan Chisolm Siobhan Chisolm says:

    Hi Vernon
    Can you clarify ?
    Exceeding the allowance of hours work is illegal and in breach of the visa conditions which can result in visa cancellation.
    Should you believe a company is enabling and aware of this breach you should contact immigration.

  • Siobhan Chisolm Siobhan Chisolm says:

    Hi Johanna
    The number of employers you have doesn’t matter as long as you don’t exceed your visa condition of the total number of hours worked per fortnight.

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