Working on a student visa

A student visa for Australia or New Zealand allows full time degree students (undergraduate and postgraduate) to work part time during the academic year, and full time over the summer holidays, provided their course meets Immigration requirements.

Please note that your right to work on a student visa does not start until you have formally enrolled on your course.

All Australian and New Zealand universities have a Student Job Search service, to help students find part-time work during term time and the summer holidays. If you need to get part-time work, make sure you join or access this as soon as possible and check the job boards regularly, as new offers from employers come in all the time.

If you’ve already got experience in a particular area – whether it’s serving behind a bar, office work or waiting tables in restaurants – it’s a good idea to get yourself prepared before you leave, so that you can make sure you hit the ground running in your search for work. Take an up-to-date CV, and references from previous employers if possible.

While most of the students we work with at Study Options do choose to use their work entitlement to some extent, please remember there is no guarantee of finding part-time work, and definitely no way of knowing how long it might take you to get what you want. It’s important to budget with this in mind – don’t assume you’ll be able to step off the plane straight into a high-paying part time job – have a backup plan!

Working on an Australian student visa

  • Australian student visas usually allow full time degree students (undergraduate and postgraduate) to work up to 40 hours per fortnight in the academic year and unlimited hours during summer holidays.
  • The minimum wage in Australia is currently $15.96 before tax.

Waiting and bar staff in Australia - RSA training requirement

If you intend to get a job that involves serving alcohol in Australia, please note that you will need an RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) certificate. It is possible to do this training online and get your certificate before you arrive in Australia, although not all Australian states accept online courses – Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania all insist on face-to-face RSA training.

Information about the Australian student visa

Working on a New Zealand student visa

  • New Zealand student visas usually allow full time degree students to work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and up to 40 hours a week during the summer holiday.
  • The minimum wage in New Zealand is currently $13 before tax. Working 10 hours at $13 per hour would get you $113.70 after tax; working 20 hours at $13 per hour would get you $227.40 after tax.

Your New Zealand tax number (IRD)

In order to work in New Zealand you’ll need an IRD (tax) number. The IRD is the Inland Revenue Department. It’s a good idea to apply for an IRD number as soon as possible after arriving in NZ – you can get an application form at a New Zealand PostShop. You’ll need to show your passport and New Zealand student visa, plus evidence of your registration at a student.

Information about the New Zealand student visa

Getting a job

If you’ve already got experience in a particular area – whether it’s serving behind a bar, office work or waiting tables in restaurants – it’s a good idea to get yourself prepared before you leave, to make sure you hit the ground running in your search for work. Take an up-to-date CV with you, and references from previous employers. Once you arrive in Australia or New Zealand aim to register for the Student Job Search service at your university as soon as you can and then check the job boards regularly, as new offers come in all the time.