Are you an international student in Australia looking to supplement your income?
If so, you’re in luck: you’re perfectly legal to work under your student visa, and there are plenty of opportunities available to you. However, these come with a set of requirements that must be met, and failure to do so may jeopardize your student status.
What could possibly go wrong? Loss of your student visa and deportation from the country. As a result, it’s critical that you understand exactly what you may and cannot do as an international student in Australia. Here’s a guide to everything you need to know about working on a student visa, including the types of professions you can do and everything in between.
Working in Australia
The first thing you should know is that you are only permitted to work 40 hours per fortnight on your student visa. In Australia, a workweek is defined as Monday through Sunday. It makes no difference how you divide this time; you could work more hours one week and less the next. It is entirely up to you, but you must not violate this restriction. If you wish to work for longer lengths of time, simply wait until your vacation period. A total of 40 hours may appear to be a little period of time, but keep in mind that the reason for your stay in Australia is to pursue your education. These hours are set aside to ensure that you have adequate time to complete your coursework, exams, and program-related work. This is a fairly typical requirement in higher education countries.
One common concern from international students is if they will be permitted to work prior to the start of the semester. Although your visa specifies that you will be allowed to enter Australia up to 90 days before the start of your programme, your employment rights will not be activated until after that. What you can do is get involved in any volunteer effort. This is defined as any actions you perform for a private or non-profit organisation that are unpaid or would not otherwise be undertaken by an Australian citizen. Because volunteering does not count against your visa, many students choose this route because it is a terrific opportunity to obtain work experience while studying without jeopardizing your visa status.
As a student in Australia, you will have the same workplace protections as everyone else in the country. If you have any questions, you can contact your university, and they will tell you exactly what rights you have. In addition, regardless of your job title, you are guaranteed to earn at least a minimum rate of pay each hour. This is now valued at $20.33 per hour in Australia.
You can volunteer for more than 40 hours per fortnight if you desire to work more than 40 hours per fortnight. You are also not confined by certain categories for paid labour; you are free to accept any job you want, as long as it fits the requirements of your visa. Furthermore, because of the limited hours you are able to work, you may have a more limited choice of roles. Students frequently work in the following industries:
- Retail (supermarkets, department stores, boutiques)
- Hospitality (cafes, bars, restaurants, delivery)
- Farming and fruit-picking (depending on the season)
- Services (childcare, aged care and cleaning)
- Administration and clerical work
Finding work can be difficult, but it is not impossible. Reach out to your friends; they may have contacts that may put you in touch with the right people. Alternatively, check out your university’s or student union’s careers page; you’re guaranteed to find some part-time job postings there. Whatever you decide, keep in mind that it is your job to ensure that your employer is aware of the work terms of your visa. If they urge you to work overtime, you should inform them that you are not legally permitted to do so. If you have any questions concerning your employment rights as an overseas student in Australia, you should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman.
One appealing feature of certain Australian temporary visas is that they do not preclude you from starting your own business. This gives you the freedom to set your own work hours and manage your time more effectively. However, it’s vital to understand that as an Australian student, you’re still restricted to 40 hours each fortnight. When you’re physically traveling for work, this is usually easier to quantify; but, starting your own business makes it more difficult to ascertain exactly how many hours you’re working per fortnight. Make sure you have a mechanism to keep track of this so you can demonstrate that you’re following the rules of your visa.
Establishing your own firm also implies that you may be forced to pay taxes or that you will require an Australian partner.
Legal Disclaimer: This article is provided for information purposes only.