You would be surprised to know that working in Australia is actually very easy while you are a student. It is not so easy after you have graduated. If your question is, “Can you work while studying in Australia” then the answer is “yes”. International students get excited about work opportunities because as a student there might be financial constraints.
Study and Work in Australia for International Students: VISA Rules
International students who hold a valid student visa are allowed to work for up to 20 hours in a week. However, this can only applies while their schools are in session. On the contrary, there is no limit on the working hours during vacations. Students are not allowed to work until after their courses have begun even though they are allowed to arrive in the country up to 90 days before their course starts. It should also be highlighted that the work limitation during school or University sessions excludes internship or training associated with the course. Even volunteer work that is unpaid does count towards the 20 hours limit. International students should strictly respect these restrictions otherwise their visas may be cancelled.
Family members accompanying international students (e.g. spouses) have the same work rights as the student. In a nutshell, they are also allowed to work for only 20 hours per week even during holidays. However, family members of those students who are studying for a graduate degree (e.g. masters or PhD) can work for unlimited hours. In either case, family members are not allowed to work until after the student has started the course.
New Policy for Australian Student Visa
Before starting work, students should be aware of new rules or any other regulations that may have changed albeit slightly. It is very important to understand that there is no hiding when it comes to working in Australia. So, be on your guards! Both your employer and you can view your visa online by using Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO). This is a free internet service that shows your visa details and the associated restrictions, if any. Further, it is your responsibility to obtain a Tax File Number (TFN) from the Australian Tax Office to be able to work in Australia.
Salary in Australia for International Students: How much can a student earn in Australia?
International students enjoy the same rights as compared to their Australian counterparts when it comes to minimum pay rates based on the work they do! Australian government is quite stern on minimum wage rates. Accordingly, there is no exploitation in the country as employers can be punished, if they fail to pay the set minimum wage. Minimum Wage means the lowest amount that a worker receives for legally paid work. The new national minimum wage is $18.93 per hour and $23.66 for casual workers.
Work after you graduate or finishing your studies
The Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) allows graduates to remain and work in the country after they finish their studies. The permission is temporary and has two streams namely, the Graduate Work stream (valid for 18 months) and the Post-Study Work stream (valid for 2 to 4 years). The Graduate Work stream is for those international students who have qualifications that are related to an occupation, which is in demand within the Australian labour market. Students are advised to check the list of eligible skilled occupations. On the other hand, the Post-Study Work stream offers work options for those who graduate with a higher education degree. It should be borne in mind that students must have undertaken courses at an eligible Australian university or any other accredited education provider.
Besides visa subclass 485, employees can sponsor students to work in Australia. The ‘employers’ need to be lawfully operating Australian businesses or overseas businesses. The paperwork can be quite cumbersome to process. The other popular ‘Working Holiday Visa’ or visa subclasses 417/462 are not available for Indian students. This class is only open for students who are nationals of Belgium, Canada, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.
Other options include:
- Applying for the Skilled — Independent (Residence) Visa that qualifies students for permanent residency but again the paperwork can be quite cumbersome.
- Students of engineering, accounting and computer science could even plan to complete a Professional Year Program. This is a structured 12-month program that is designed to help students acquire industry-specific skills through training or work experience. The program is ideal for those who ultimately plan to apply for Australian permanent residency.
Of course, if you do not intend to stay back after you graduate then you can always return to your home country and reap the benefits of your international degree!