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Student Rights

Every international student has rights and responsibilities during their stay in Australia. These could be discussed with the international office in their specific institution.

Work Rights

Work limitations differ based on the visa category. Normally,

For international students, they cannot start work before the commencement of their course in Australia. Once they start their course they can work 40 hours per fortnight at the max and unlimited hours during breaks. Dependent Family members cannot work before the primary visa holder’s course commences, but may work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight at all other times. However, if the primary visa holder is undertaking a masters or doctorate degree (subclass 573 (Higher education sector), 574 (Postgraduate research sector) or 576 (AusAID/Defence sector) student visa.) they have unlimited work rights.

Other Rights


If a student is underpaid, they can find out the minimum pay rate by visiting the Australian Government’s Fairwork Onlineor contacting the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94 or email. Fair Work can also aid in claiming unpaid wages.


For students (over 18 years) who earn more than $450 a month, their employer must pay money into a superannuation or retirement savings fund for you. Students can have access to this at the time of departure from Australia.


In order to work in Australia, a tax file number is required.

Self-Employment Opportunities

As an international student, you can be self-employed for up to 20 hours per week while your course is in session. If you are interested in starting a business in Victoria you may need to register the business in Victoria and obtain an ABN (Australian Business Number). By visiting Consumer Affairs Victoria, information on following could be obtained,

  • housing and accommodation – renting, buying and selling, renovating, etc.
  • shopping – exchanging, returns, servicing, warranties, etc.
  • cars – buying or selling a car and information on finance, insurance, leasing, servicing and repairs.