Work options for international students

Part-time work options for international students vary greatly by country. Each English-speaking country allows some scope for student visa holders to do part time work. However, the conditions vary from relaxed to restrictive. After studying, graduates also have a range of options for staying on under a work permit, which we consider separately

International students in Australia are free to pursue part-time work of up to 40 hours per fortnight. New Zealand has a similar arrangement, except that it is 20 hours per week and you need to apply for a variation in visa conditions.

Canada allows students to work on campus up to 20 hours per week but students need to apply for a work permit to be employed off campus.

The UK has detailed arrangements that mainly allow students of higher degrees in non-private institutions to work part time. Other students face restrictions or are not allowed to work.

The USA has the strictest conditions. Employment is essentially limited to on-campus jobs.

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Australia

Student visa holders in Australia are able to work up to 40 hours per fortnight, starting from course commencement.

- Work entitlements come automatically with the visa. There is no need to apply separately in Australia for permission to work.
- Community work and work that is part of the course are not counted towards the 40-hour limit.
- There is no limit on fortnightly work hours when the course is out of session.
- Family members are entitled to work 40 hours per fortnight at all times, starting from when the course commences.

Postgraduate research students can work unlimited hours.

- There is no work limit for students on a subclass 574 visa (postgraduate research) after beginning a masters by research or doctoral degree.

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Canada

Study permit holders may work up to 20 hours per week off campus after arriving in Canada and obtaining a work permit.

- There is a processing fee of $150 for work permit applications.
- You can work full time during scheduled breaks (for example, winter and summer holidays, and spring break).
- In most cases, a Labour Market Opinion is required from a potential employer before applying for a work permit. A positive Labour Market Opinion will show that there is a need for the foreign worker to fill the job and that there is no Canadian worker available.

If you are enrolled full-time in a degree-granting course of study, you are entitled to work on the campus of your university or college.

- The employer could be your educational institution itself or a private business located on campus.
- If you are eligible for on-campus employment, an officer at the port of entry to Canada should write on your study permit: "May accept employment on the campus of the institution at which the holder is registered in full-time studies.”
- International students who wish to participate in a co-op or internship program must apply for a work permit as well as a study permit.

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New Zealand

Student visa holders in New Zealand are usually able to work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year.

- This is allowed under a range of different study circumstances.
- A change in conditions to your student visa is required, either as part of the initial application or after arriving in New Zealand.
- You can also work in order to meet course requirements for practical work experience.

Work during the Christmas and New Year holiday period is allowed if you are on a full-time course of study lasting 12 months or longer.

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United Kingdom

You are only allowed to work in the UK if you are on a course with a UK higher education institution or a publicly funded further education college.

International students participating in a higher level course can work up to 20 hours per week during term time.

- You must be participating in a course at or above NQF 6/QCF 6/SCQF 9, which typically means a Bachelors degree program or higher at a UK higher education institution.

If you are participating in a lower-level course at a UK higher education institution, you are allowed to work for up to 10 hours per week during term time.

Students eligible to work can work full-time during vacations and do a work placement as part of a course.

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United States

International students can only work in the USA under limited circumstances. Only F1 visa holders are eligible to work while studying.

An F1 student visa holder may work on campus. This is for up to 20 hours per week, or full time when school is not in session (such as during holidays or annual vacation).

After a year of study, an F1 visa holder may work off campus in a role related to their area of study.

- You need to apply to USCIS for a work permit that authorizes you to work off-campus. You need to apply through your designated school official, demonstrate a special need, and work no more than 20 hours per week when school is in session.
- F1 students may engage in three types of off-campus employment: Curricular Practical Training; Optional Practical Training (pre-completion or post-completion); and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Optional Practical Training Extension.