In 2008, the Australian government introduced a new law under which international students with student visa would be granted automatic permission to work in the country. In fact, the permission to work was also made applicable to family members of the student.

In this article, we tell you how can you explore work opportunities in Australia both while studying and post study. We have also listed the application procedure for applying for post work visa.

Work during study

International students can start working in Australia once their course commences.A student is permitted to work for 40 hours a fortnight or 20 hours a week. However, the working hours are limited only when the course is in session. The student is allowed to work for unlimited hours when the course is not in session.

The following work sessions are not counted within the 40 hours limit:

1. If your work is part of your programme it will not be counted within the work limit hours.

2. If you are doing social work for which you are not paid. Such work may include:

  • Working for a non-profit organization

  • Working for the benefit of the community

  • Working as a volunteer which might otherwise not be taken up by an Australian national.

3. If you are a postgraduate research student visa holder i.e., subclass 574 visa holder then you are a master’s by research or doctoral student and there is no limit in the number of work you can work.

However, you have to make sure that your fortnightly hour limit is not breached between weeks i.e., your work limit should not cross 40 hours in a fortnight. Eg: If you have worked for 15 hours in week 1 and 25 in week 2, it adds up to 40 hours. Similarly, if you work upto 25 hours in week 3 and 10 in week 4, it adds upto 35 hours which is permissible too. However, week 2 and 3 together add up to 50 hours which is more than the 40 permitted hours.

Hence, students have to make sure that their working hours are divided in a way that it adds upto 40 hours every week. The best way to ensure that is by working for 20 hours each week.

Post-study work visa

The Australian government introduced the Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) in 2013, replacing the existing Skilled Graduate visa. The Temporary Graduate visa is applicable to international students passing out of Australian educational institutions.


The Temporary Graduate visa has two streams, namely Graduate Work stream and the Post-Study Work stream.

Graduate Work stream- This visa allows students to stay and work in the country for a period of 18 months. It is applicable to candidates with qualifications that ensure jobs listed on the Skilled Occupation List of Australia(SOL).

Post-Study Work stream: This visa allows the applicants to stay and work in the country for a period of two to four years after their graduation. It is applicable to graduates of a higher education degree regardless of their programme.

Visa Eligibility and requirement:

Before you apply for theTemporary Graduate visa, you should make sure that you fulfill all the eligibility criteria:

Age: Your age should be less than 50 and above 18 years at the time of applying.

Qualification: You can have more than one qualification. However, your total duration should add up to atleast two years or you should have undertaken study in no less than 16 months.

Also your programme should have been registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

The study requirements must have been met 6 months prior to the visa application.

English proficiency:Aspirants applying for the visa should have competent English language proficiency certificate. Below are the required score:

IELTS: 6 in each of the four test components i.e., speaking, reading, listening and writing. The IELTS test should have been taken atleast 3 years prior to your application.

TOEFL: 12 in listening, 13 in reading, 21 in writing and 18 in speaking should be the minimum score.

PTE: 50 in each of the four test components i.e., speaking, reading, listening and writing.

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE):-169 in each of the four test components i.e., speaking, reading, listening and writing.

Eligible visa: You must be holding an appropriate and eligible visa for the purpose of applying for the Temporary Graduate visa. You can apply for the Temporary Graduate visa if you are holding visa under subclass 572, 573 or 574 which do not fall under the following categories:

  • An applicant who was studying in Australia through a scholarship scheme which required him/her to return to the home country after the course was over.

  • If you are a family member of the holder of the visa of the mentioned classes above.

Health requirement:

Applicants have to fulfill certain health requirements in order to apply for the visa, the result of which will be valid for 12 months.

How to apply

The Australian government has made it mandatory for applicants to be in the country at the time of application as well as when the decision on the visa application is made.

The visa application is available online. Click here to apply.

If you are applying online you can upload the documents through immiAccount while those applying on paper can send completed forms and documents by mail or courier to the Adelaide office.

Below are the documents that you are required to submit:

  • Certified copies of passport and travel documents of all members included in the visa application.

  • Copies of your birth certificate. If you do not have a birth certificate you can show:

    1. Document showing both parents’ names

    2. Identification document issued by the government

    3. Documents issued by court verifying your identity.

  • Two recent passport-sized photographs (45 mm x 35 mm) of all members. The name of the person concerned should be printed on the back of the pictures. Also, the pictures should be from head to shoulders only.

  • In case of married candidates, the marriage certificate has to be presented.

  • If you or anyone in the application is widowed, divorced or separated, you have to show a certified copy of the death certificate and divorce documents.

  • Academic certificates of the course completed.

  • You also need to submit completion copies including information like start and end of the course date, date on which course requirements were met, location of the campus,duration and nature of the course- short or long term, instruction language of the course.

Besides you need to show evidence of your successful skills assessment included in SOL if you are applying under the Graduate Work stream.


Also read:

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