Employing Student Visa Holders

The primary purpose of Student visas is to allow international students to undertake their studies in Australia. From 1 July 2016, all international students apply for a single Student visa (subclass 500) regardless of the chosen course of study, which can include higher education, postgraduate, and vocational courses.

Work rights on a student visa

All student visa holders are subjected to the condition 8105 which restricts students to 40 hours work per fortnight while their course is in session, and for unlimited hours during course breaks.

Student visa holders can only start working once their course has commenced.

Higher degree by research students studying for PhD or Masters by research can work unlimited hours once their master’s or PhD course has commenced.

Secondary Applicant’s on student visas

Secondary applicants (spouse/children) are typically able to work for 40 hours a fortnight, once the primary applicant commences the course.

Dependants of PhD and master’s students are able to work fulltime once the course commences.

Student visa cancellations

There has been a significant increase in the student visa cancellations in the last five years.

Student Visa Cancellations 2011-2017

The reasons for cancellation include:

  • Not satisfying course requirements (example: non-attendance)
  • Completing a course early
  • Working more than 40 hours a fortnight while course is in session
  • Not maintaining adequate health insurance
  • Being involved in disruptive behaviour or being convicted of a criminal offence

Given the increased monitoring of student visa holders, it is extremely important that employers check the visa status of student visa holders on a regular basis.

Employing student visa holders

Checkworkrights recommends that employers obtain a copy of the student’s Confirmation of Enrolment prior to onboarding to confirm the course commencement date and carry out a visa verification check at least once a month.


Updated: July 27, 2018


What is Checkworkrights?

Ensure legal compliance with ongoing automated VEVO checks, reports and email alerts.

Learn More
Try Checkworkrights