If your student visa was granted on or after 26 April 2008, you automatically receive Permission to Work with your visa grant. This applies to you as the student, as well as any family members accompanying you as dependants on your student visa. You and your dependants are not allowed to work until you start your course.
As of 26 March 2012 the work restrictions for students changed. You can now work up to 40 hours a fortnight while your course is in session (excluding any work undertaken as a registered component of their course of study or training). For examples of how these new working limits will be assessed the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), please look at DIBP's information sheet.
No work limits apply during recognised periods of vacation. Your family members are allowed to work up to 40 hours per fortnight at all times.
If you hold a subclass 574 visa, you have no work limits applying once you have commenced your Masters by research or Doctorate course. Family members of students who have started a Masters or Doctorate course on a subclass 573, 574 or 576 visa may work unlimited hours.
Please note that working in excess of these hours can lead to the mandatory cancellation of your student visa.
For more information please visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website.
Student Visa issued on 25 April 2008 or before?
This means your student visa does not include Permission to Work, and you need to follow the instructions below to have this condition added to your student visa.
To apply for a work rights visa you will need to lodge an application. If you have a credit card or a debit card you can apply online. Otherwise you will need to complete a hard copy. More information is available on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection's How to Apply for Permission to Work page.
Before you apply, staff in the International Student Services (ISS) must confirm your course commencement details. The normal turn-around time for confirmation is two working days.
Tax File Number (TFN)
In order to work in Australia you must apply for a tax file number through the Australian Taxation Office. You can apply online by visiting the Permanent migrants or temporary visitors to Australia - online tax file number (TFN) application page.