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Student Visa Subclass 500 Primary Applicant


What is a student visa? 

Student visas allow international students to participate in an eligible course in Australia. These can include:

  • English courses (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students)
  • Vocational courses (Business, Marketing, Hospitality, etc.)
  • Higher education (Bachelor’s Degree, Master and PhD)

What are the considerations for employers hiring international students?

Employers must:

  1. Understand the work entitlements of international students
  2. Understand their immigration compliance requirements

What are the most common work restrictions for International Students?

International students typically have the following rights during study and study breaks:

  • Students can only work once they have started their course in Australia.
  • They can generally work 40 hours a fortnight during the semester and exam periods.
    •  A fortnight means the period of 14 days starting on a Monday and ending the following Sunday.
  • Students can work more than one job, as long as the total hours are not more than 40 hours in any fortnight. 
  • Students have no restrictions on the hours they can work when the course is out of session.
  • Masters by research and PhD students can work without limitation even while the course is in session.

When is a course considered to be “out of session”?

  • During scheduled semester breaks
  • If a student has completed their studies as per the dates on the Confirmation of Enrolment and is still on their student visa
  • If a student’s enrolment has been cancelled due to the default of their education provider until they enrol in another institution and commence the course.
  • If the course has been deferred or suspended in line with Standard 9 of the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students.

What is considered “work”?

For immigration purposes “work” is defined as an activity that normally attracts remuneration.  

The Department of Home Affairs also provides the following examples of when a student visa holder may be considered to have engaged in work:

  • Attending a place of work for a period by a roster or timesheet (but not during unpaid breaks)
  • Been ‘clocked on’ to an electronic system that records a work activity
  • Received remuneration for work, as indicated in a payslip received unless documentary evidence, such as a medical certificate,  can be provided to the contrary

Can International Students continue to work between courses and student visas?

International students who have completed their course of study and have either applied for a student visa or been granted a student visa to undertake a different course, cannot work until their new course commences. 

Students who are on a visa associated with consecutive courses may continue working between courses and students who have been granted or applied for a student visa to extend their initial COE, in order to complete the initial course, can also continue to work.

As an employer, what are my obligations?

Prior to offering employment, you must be satisfied that the student has sufficient work rights to undertake the role. Employers are required to take reasonable steps regularly to ensure that an overseas worker is not employed in breach of their visa conditions.

With student visa holders, we recommend that you carry out a visa verification check at least once a month to ensure that the visa continues to be valid. It is also recommended that you obtain a copy of the Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) from the student so that you are aware of the course commencement date.

Common student visa conditions

8202
Visa holder is required to be enrolled in a full-time registered course that, once completed, will provide a qualification from the Australian Qualification Framework

8203
Visa holder must not change the course of study, or thesis or research topic unless it is approved by the Minister.

8204
Visa holder must not undertake or change their course of study, thesis or research topic without the approval of the Minister, for a:

  • graduate certificate
  • graduate diploma
  • master’s degree
  • doctorate, or
  • any bridging course required as a prerequisite to a course of study or research for a master’s degree or doctorate

8501
Visa holder is required to maintain adequate health insurance

8516
Visa holder is required to continue to satisfy the visa grant criteria

8517
Visa holder is required to make adequate arrangements for the education of any school-aged children in Australia if in the country for more than 3 months as a dependent on their student visa.

8533
Visa holder is required to notify their education provider of their residential address within 7 days of arriving in Australia, if they were outside Australia when the visa was granted.

If there is a change of residential address, it is also necessary to notify the education provider within 7 days of the change.

The visa holder is also required to notify their current education provider if they change to a new education provider within 7 days of receiving:

  • Confirmation of enrolment from the new education provider; or
  • Evidence that they have been enrolled by the new education provider

8535
While the visa holder is in Australia, they will not be granted a new substantive visa other than:

  • Protection visa
  • A Student (Temporary) (Class TU) visa because the student has support from the Commonwealth or foreign government.