Australia grants work permission to foreign students

22 April 2008

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Starting on and after 26 April 2008, people coming to Australia to study on a student visa will automatically be granted permission to work. Permission to work will also apply to eligible family members that will stay with the foreign student in Australia.

The new rule will save time and money, as foreign students are no longer required to apply to work separately once they arrive in Australia.

Current work rights accorded foreign students will not change. Students will not be allowed to work until their studies have started and can only work up to 20 hours per week while their studies are in session (excluding any work that is a registered part of their course of study or training). During scheduled course breaks, students can work as much as they want.

Family members of the student will also not be allowed to work until the student's course has started and will only be allowed to work 20 hours per week -- unless the student is taking a Master's or doctorates course. Family members of Masters and doctoral students can work unlimited hours.

Student visa application charges will also change to take into account the new work privileges. Currently, students who wish to work are required to pay a student visa application charge of AUD $430, plus an additional AUD $60 for permission to work. On and after 26 April 2008, a single fee of $450 will be charged for the visa and permission to work.

Students who work in Australia gain valuable experience and contacts, giving them a head start on a more permanent visa if they wish to stay. See the General Skilled Migration section for more details.