Permission to work

Working in Australia is a great way to meet new people and supplement your finances.

If you want to find employment while you're in Australia, you can do so after you begin your course.

It’s important to understand that some courses are quite demanding. This means you may not have much free time available for employment. You should also remember that part-time and vacation work isn’t always available, so you shouldn’t depend on employment income to cover your living expenses or tuition fees.

You can find out more about working rights and visa requirements from the Department of Home Affairs.

Learn about our Career Ready Advantage Award and getting help finding work through the La Trobe Careers team.

Coursework students

From 1 July 2023, work restrictions for student visa holders will be re-introduced under your student visa conditions. Once you have commenced studying, you are permitted to work a maximum of 48 hours per fortnight while your course is in session and unlimited hours when your course is out of session.

The Department of Home Affairs considers your course to be in session:

  • during semester, including exam periods
  • when you’re undertaking another course (during a break from your main course) and points from that course will be credited to your main course.

The Department considers your course to be out of session:

  • during scheduled course breaks
  • if your 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
  • if you have completed your course as scheduled and still hold a valid student visa
  • if your enrolment has been cancelled due to the default of your education provider until you secure alternative enrolment and commence the course.

Practical work experience is a valuable part of many La Trobe courses. We offer this through:

  • work-integrated learning (WIL)
  • industry-based learning (IBL)
  • placement subjects.

If your course doesn’t offer WIL, IBL or placements as a part of your study plan, you can add them as electives. To find out more, visit our Work Integrated Learning and placements page.

Work you do as part of your course may count towards the 48-hour limit depending on whether it is a course requirement according to the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS):

  • If the work is specified as a course requirement with CRICOS, then the work won’t count towards the 48-hour limit.
  • If the work isn't specified as a course requirement (for example, as part of an elective subject), then the work will count towards the 48-hour limit.

These guidelines may apply even if you're not being paid for the work.

If you do volunteer work (work that you would not normally be paid for) while you're in Australia, this may be exempt from  the 48-hour limit.

To confirm whether your course has a registered work component, please check the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

Research students

If you’re a research student:

  • you can work a maximum of 48 hours per fortnight during any preliminary courses you undertake
  • if you have commenced your masters by research or doctoral degree in Australia, there is no limit on the number of hours you may work.

Your dependants

If you are bringing your family to Australia, they must also be aware of their working rights. Your family members:

  • must not start work until you have commenced your course in Australia
  • can work up to 48 hours per fortnight, unless you have commenced a course towards a master or doctoral degree and hold a subclass 500 student visa. In this case, there is no limit on the number of hours a family can work.

Additional information