International students' guide to working in Australia

While you are studying as an international student, you are automatically granted permission to work in Australia. You can work a total of 40 hours per fortnight during the semester and unlimited hours during the holidays. This arrangement is valid throughout your course, however once your student visa expires, you are no longer able to legally work.

So, what are your options to work in Australia once you have completed your studies?

Skilled migration visas

Once you have completed your studies, Australia is still keen to keep you employed and use your skills to build and contribute to the economy and society. There is no automatic right for graduates to stay in Australia once studies are complete and you will need to go through the same process as other migrants. This means meeting the criteria of the points system. You will be allocated a number of points based on:

- your English language ability

- the current demand for your specialist occupation

- being aged between 19 and 44

- the length and breadth of your work experience

- the types of qualifications you have gained in Australia

- whether you have an employer lined up who could sponsor you to stay.

The types of visa available for skilled migrants

There are a number of visas designed to keep you in the country for longer.

485 Skilled Graduate Temporary Visa

The most common visa available to international students after they graduate. If you have completed at least two years of study in Australia, this visa allows you to stay another 18 months to gain work experience.

402 Training and Research Visa

Similar in scope to the 485, the 402 is designed for students to improve their work skills by staying in the country for two years. However, it does require sponsorship from an employer.

487 Regional Sponsored Visa

A pathway to permanent residency, the 487 Regional Sponsored Visa allows you to work for three years, with sponsorship, in a regional area.

887 Skilled Regional Residence Visa

If you have already lived in Australia for two years, you may be eligible for this visa. It awards you permanent residency and is valid for work in a regional setting. You must have a year of work experience and meet the points requirement.

885 Skilled Independent Residence Visa

This visa enables you to live as a permanent resident and work without needing to be sponsored. It has more stringent requirements than other post-graduation visas.

886 Skilled Sponsor Resident Visa

Similar to the 885 visa, the 886 visa allows an overseas student to apply for permanent residency and work, while being sponsored by an employer.

Useful links

Working in Australia - Studies in Australia

Department of Immigration and Border Protection

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