How Many Hours Can International Students Work in Australia?

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International students want to know how many hours they can work in Australia.


Australia has always been a preferred destination for international students pursuing higher education. It allows students to work part-time during their academic term to afford their tuition fees and cost of living.


However, the regulations around student visa working hours can be complex and vary based on the visa type.


In January 2022, the Australian government relaxed working limits for student visa holders, enabling international students to work unlimited hours, even during their course.


This blog discusses working hour restrictions for student visa holders to help them support themselves financially during their studies while conforming to the visa conditions.


1. How Many Hours Can International Students Work In Australia?


Students with a valid student visa can work as many as 20 hours per week or 40 hours a fortnight during their academic session in Australia. PG research students can work unlimited hours while they study in Australia.


However, As per the student visa working hours update, overseas students can work additional hours over the above limit during their academic term until June 30, 2023. From July 01, 2023, the 20-hours-a-week restriction will again come into force, and they have to work under the rule.


It is worth noting that during scheduled breaks, non-term days, or holidays, you can work any number of hours as you want in Australia, regardless of the work hour restrictions.


The following table shows working hours for international students in Australia in 2023:


Student Type

When The Course Is In Session

When The Course Isn’t In Session

Coursework students who have started their degree

40 hours per fortnight

Unlimited hours

Graduate researchers who have started their degree

Unlimited hours


AusAwards or Defence students

40 hours per fortnight

Unlimited hours



Student Work-Hour Restrictions:


Dependent Type

When The Course Is In Session

When The Course Isn’t In Session

Dependants of student visa holders enrolled in a Master's or Doctorate degree

Unlimited hours


Dependents of all other student visa holders

40 hours per fortnight




2. How Many Hours Can Dependent Family Members Work On A Student Visa?


Family members holding a student subclass 500 visa can work unlimited hours until June 30, 2023. They can even start their work before their course commences.  


Dependant family members of students studying for a Doctorate or Master's degree (by research or coursework) can work unlimited hours even when their course is in session.  


However, dependants of students studying for any other course as mentioned above will have to follow 20 hours per week work restriction.



3. What Is The 8105 - Work Limitation Rule?


For those holding a student 500 visa, condition 8105 applies to them. According to it, for a student with a student visa of 500, working hours are limited to 40 hours a fortnight while their course is in session. However, there are a few scenarios you need to know:


  • A student with a valid student visa isn't allowed to work until their course starts and is in session.

  • A student visa holder may work for any number of hours when their course isn't in session.

  • A student visa holder who has started a doctorate or Master's by research course may work for any number of hours after starting their Master's by research course.


Here is how you can calculate your work hours:


A fortnight is a 14-day period that starts on a Monday and ends on the second following Sunday. When calculating your work hours, consider each fortnight during which the training or study course is in session. Also, you can't average it out over the course term.



4. Why Can International Students Only Work 20 Hours A Week?


Starting from July 2023, students can work 20 hours a week in Australia during their academic term. Exceeding this work-hours limit may lead to compromising their student visa conditions.


The main reason behind the maximum work hour restriction for overseas students is that the government doesn't want students to put in a below-par academic performance, which could impact the quality of higher education in Australia.


Thus, this regulatory reinstatement is the government's way to ensure that the country maintains its reputation as a top destination for higher studies.



5. Why Is The Student Visa Work Restrictions Lifted In Australia?


Traditionally overseas students have to follow the 20-hour work restriction, which has been lifted for some time to address the labour shortage caused by the pandemic.


The government has increased the work-hour restrictions on international students to make the global student market more competitive and strengthen the skilled labour pipeline in the country.


Now international students can work over 20 hours per week in any economic sector while they study their course. This extension in post-study work rights for international students is effective until June 30, 2023.


The government will put the student visa work restrictions in Australia back in place from July 2023 onwards to ensure that students focus on their studies to achieve academic excellence.



6. What Happens If I Work More Than 20 Hours As An International Student?


The government has decided to reinstate the maximum work-hour restriction from July 2023 to ensure that student visa holders maintain their course enrollment and show satisfactory attendance and course progress.


This move will help students balance their studies and work and prevent cancelling their enrolment, stopping to attend classes, or failing to meet satisfactory course progress.


Working beyond 20 hours a week in Australia during your academic term can lead to breaching the visa conditions and even cancelling your student visa.



7. Can I Work 22 Hours As An International Student?


Yes, you can work above 20 hours "per week," but only until the end of June 2023. The limitation on international students' working hours will resume from July 2023 onwards.


Note that, during your semester break, or holidays, you can work up to full time in Australia, regardless of the work hour restrictions.



8. Can An International Student Work 30 Hours A Week?


Yes. International students can work additional hours (beyond the 20-hour per week limit) to support the country in dealing with labour shortages until June 30, 2023. However, the old 20-hours-a-week work restriction will return from July 2023 onwards.



9. Can International Students Work 40 Hours Now?


Yes. International students studying in Australia can work 40 hours until June 30, 2023. They can work unlimited hours during their non-term days or holidays even when the 20-hour work restriction is back in place.



10. Can Students Work Unlimited Hours In Australia?


With a valid student visa, students can work 40 hours a fortnight or 20 hours per week during their academic session. However, no such work restriction applies to international students during scheduled semester breaks.


Presently, the work hour restriction has been lifted. It allows students to work unlimited hours till June 30, 2023.



11. Can Overseas Students Begin Working In Australia Before Their Studies Commence?


Considering the relaxation of the work-hour restriction until June 30, 2023, overseas students can come to Australia and start working before their course commences. 


The relaxed working rules for overseas students will revert from July 01, 2023. According to the old rules, students can only start working after the degree commences, and they can arrive in the country up to 90 days before the start of the course.



12. Can Students Work In Australia After Completing Their Course?


Students studying for courses in prime cities of Australia, such as Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, and Hobart may get 2-year post-study visa work.


However, students in regional areas can get a 3 to 4-year post-study visa work that enables them to continue their stay in the country after their graduation.


As per the recent modification in work-hour restriction, overseas students studying verified skills shortages will get additional time for post-study visa work.



13. Can International Students Work Unlimited Hours During Holidays?


Yes. Regardless of the student visa work restrictions in Australia, overseas students can work as many hours as they want in Australia during their holidays or non-term days.



14. Can I Be A Full-Time Student And Work?


Usually, if you have a valid student visa, you can be a full-time student and work part-time in Australia.


From July 01, 2023, you can work only 20 hours weekly while your classes are in session. You must have a certain level of attendance and progress in your course to ensure your student visa is valid.


However, during holidays, non-term days, or semester breaks, you can work full-time for any number of hours in Australia.



15. How Many Hours Can Overseas Students Work In The USA, UK, and Canada?


Now that you know the work-hour restriction for international students in Australia, have a look at how much students can work in other popular study-abroad destinations:



United Kingdom (UK)


International students with valid student visas studying full-time degree courses can engage in paid or unpaid work for up to 20 hours a week during their academic sessions.


Those studying below degree level courses can work only 10 hours a week during their study term.


Also, per the visa condition, international students can't be involved in any business activity or be self-employed. Check out the other work-related conditions on a student visa here.



United States of America (USA)


International students with F-1 status enrolled in full-time degree courses in this country can work 20 hours a week and 40 hours during non-term days.


It is worth noting that such students can be hired off-campus only when they fulfil eligibility criteria and obtain official authorization. Click here for more details on student visa conditions.





International students can work 20 hours a week while their course is in session and over 20 hours a week during semester breaks and holidays. Also, the government permits them to work as self-employed while studying in Canada.


Working more than the allowed work limit will violate the study permit terms and can lead to a loss of student status in the country.



16. Conclusion


Working hours for overseas students in Australia remain a crucial topic for discussion in 2023, as it impacts international students' financial stability and academic success.


A maximum work limit of 20 hours per week during studies and unlimited hours during non-term days helps overseas students balance their work and study commitments effectively while maintaining their well-being.


In addition to the above limit, international students must understand the laws and guidelines surrounding their student visas to avoid visa violations or penalties.


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