Your Rights at Work: International Students

Most student visas allow you to work for up to 40 hours every two weeks while your course is in session, and unrestricted hours during any scheduled course break, but before you undertake any paid work you need to make sure your visa allows you to work. Find out more at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

Your employer can't cancel your visa, even if it's been breached. Only the DIBP can grant, refuse or cancel visas. Fair Work have set up an arrangement with DIBP to support and encourage migrant workers to come forward to request our assistance and provide us with any evidence or information about exploitation. This will help them to better understand the issues faced by visa holders and migrant workers so that we can educate employers and employees about entitlements and obligations.

Fair Work have come to an agreement with DIBP that a person's temporary visa will not be cancelled if they:

  • had an entitlement to work as part of their visa
  • believe they have been exploited at work
  • have reported their circumstances to Fair Work
  • are actively assisting Fair Work in an investigation.

This applies as long as:

  • they commit to abiding by visa conditions in the future
  • there is no other basis for visa cancellation (such as on national security, character, health or fraud grounds).

For temporary visa holders who don't have work entitlements attached to their visa, DIBP will consider the case on its merits.

Read more about Workplace rights for all visa holders working in Australia on the DIBP website.

If you are being exploited at work:

  • Please come and speak to one of our lawyers who can be contacted on
  • UnionsACT is the representative body of trade union organisations in the Australian Capital Territory and they can either help you out or direct you to your relevant union in the ACT.
  • You can contact Fair Work Australia anonymously to help keep workplaces fair, their Anonymous report form can be found here.

Contact PARSA

PARSA Office
Level 2, Di Riddell Student Centre
Kambri Precinct
Australian National University
Canberra ACT 2601

Office Hours:

9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays)
Call Us: +61 (02) 6125 4187
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