Student Visa Rules in Australia (Conditions May Apply)

You’ve ticked off the main part: Your student visa’s been approved. Happy days! Now it’s just a matter of keeping it.

If you want to ensure your student visa remains valid, you’ve got to play the game. You’ve got to follow all the student visa rules.

When it comes to studying abroad in Australia, your student visa comes with plenty of nitty gritty details and fine print. Conditions, the Government calls them.

Conditions apply to all visa holders and all visas for that matter. It’s just a fact of living the visa life.

So, if you do want to stay and study in Australia, you’ll need to learn the rules of engagement. Break the rules and you run the risk of having your student visa CANCELLED.

But you don’t want this to happen, do you? And neither do we! So that’s why we’ve put together an in-depth overview of all the extra student visa requirements.


visa rules

First and foremost, if you hold a student visa in Australia the number of hours you can clock up on the job front is limited. The point of this is to make sure your main intention is to actually study in Australia.

If you want to work during your exchange, then you need to know the restrictions and regulations that the Australian government puts on international students seeking employment. This means that the 40-hour per fortnight work limit is the first visa rule on your list.

You legally can’t work more than 40 hours per fortnight while your course is in session. And the Department of Home Affairs won’t take no for an answer.

You do have the option to change your work hours a little per week. Still, this can’t go beyond the magic number 40.

Now if you’re worried about twiddling your thumbs during holiday time, stress less. You can work as many hours as you please during recognised vacation periods. So, if you want to work yourself into exhaustion feel free.

If you’re studying a Masters by Research or Doctorate course in Australia, then your student visa has no limitations on the amount of hours you work. Though we doubt you’ll want to start up full-time work on top of that giant study load.

As a side note, for exchange students of all degrees, you can’t start paid work until you’ve started your course in Australia! The Government uses this rule to make sure you don’t put off studies to work instead. After all, it’s called a student visa not a working visa.

You also have the option to take volunteer work during your degree. Luckily, volunteering doesn’t count towards the 40 hours fortnight condition. Your visa allows you to clock up some volunteer work so long as:

  • Your main purpose is to study in Australia
  • The work involved would not be undertaken by an Australian resident
  • The work is genuinely voluntary for a non-profit, and you receive no remuneration (financial or otherwise)



If you’re in Australia on a student visa then you need to actually be studying. You need to be enrolled in a recognised course, you need to be showing up to class, and getting good grades. The student visa rules aren’t so different to mum’s rules, are they?


You must enrol and continue to be enrolled in a registered course during your student exchange in Australia. By registered courses, we mean a course that is on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

Course Level: 

As part of the visa rules for enrolment, you can’t just re-enrol in any old course level. You’ll need to maintain enrolment in a registered course that is either at the same level or a higher level than the course you were granted a visa for. No dropping the bar thank you very much.


Adding to the list of visa requirements, you also need to make sure your attendance is on point at all times. You’re required to maintain satisfactory attendance in your course for each study period. This means no skipping out on class lectures. No matter how much of an ungodly hour they may be held at. You’ll be thankful that our Perth student housing and Melbourne university accommodation is within easy access of all the major study destinations. That extra sleep-in makes all the difference when you have a 9am lecture!


Another visa condition is that you’ll need to maintain satisfactory course progress during your student exchange. Sure P’s get degrees, but you really want to aim a bit higher than over-touted uni myths. Why not show off what a smarty pants you really are?



Sure, the student struggle is real. But no matter how hard you’re feeling the financial crunch, you can’t change to sub-standard insurance (or none at all!).

One of the main requirements that you are awarded and get to keep your student visa is that you have OSHC. You’re required to maintain adequate Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the entirety of your stay in Australia. From the moment you step off the plane to the moment you hop back on it. Rules are rules.

If your OSHC ends before visa, you’ll be in violation of your student visa. And if you break your student visa rules you’re going to be kicked out of the country (not to mention plenty of other penalties).



During your studies abroad in Australia, you need to continue to satisfy all the student visa requirements that qualified you for said visa.

The main rule you need to keep an eye on is maintaining access to finances. That is, genuine financial capacity to support your living costs and course fees while in Australia.

This depends on which payment option you went with on your student visa application:

12 Months Fund: you need to continue to have access to 12 months of living and course fees; AUD$20,290 for living costs, AUD$1000 for the flight home, calculated 12 month sum for course fees. And this needs to apply for every year of your course.

Evidence Of Annual Income: you need to continue to have access to an annual income (either your own, parent/s or spouse) of AUD$60,000.

Genuine Access To Funds: you must continue to have evidence of access to financial support, loans, financial deposits, or any other type of loan that you claimed on your student visa application.



Welfare Arrangements: 

If you’re an under 18 student, the rule is you need to have student accommodation and support that ensures your general welfare. And your welfare arrangements need to be in place from start to end date of your student exchange in Australia.


The rule with this is that you’ll need to let your education provider know the address that you’ll be staying at in Australia. Adding on to this rule, you also need to let them know within seven days of arriving in Australia.

If you change addresses, again you’re legally required to let your education provider know within seven days.

Under no circumstances can you change your arrangements without written approval from your education provider! You also cannot travel to Australia until your welfare arrangements start. Safety first folks!

Accommodation Options: 

When it comes to under 18’s university accommodation and welfare arrangements you have two options:

Option 1, Custodian: You can live in Australia with a parent, legal custodian, nominated relative or nominated custodian (that’s over 21 years of age and has character clearance).

Your caretaker and welfare arrangements need to be approved by the Department of Home Affairs first.

Option 2, Certified Accommodation: You need to organise to stay with an Australian Government certified accommodation provider.

Staying with a student accommodation provider is one of the best and easiest ways to stay in Australia as an under 18 student, make the most of your exchange, and tick off welfare conditions.

Actually, it’s the best way to stay in Australia as an exchange student in general.

This is where The Student Housing Company comes into the conversation. We’ve got your student housing sorted when it comes to exchange in Australia.

Who can say no to accommodation in prime locations, central to universities, public transport and social hubs, luxurious apartments, fitted out with modern furniture, all-inclusive rent and utilities, 24-hour security, in-house gym and laundry, rooftop balcony, study rooms, and unlimited WiFi? It should be a visa condition that you stay here.

On top of all this The Student Housing Company is also a certified provider for under 18 student accommodation. TSHC’s purpose-built accommodation is designed specifically to meet all anticipated student needs.

We know all about the visa rules and conditions for under 18 accommodation, so we’ve designed a network specifically to support under-age students. Our student wellbeing program has everything covered, from security to community.

So, sign up and get another student visa rule out of the way and out of your hair!


While you’re studying in Australia you’re not allowed to be granted a further substantive visa, apart from:

  • A Protection Visa
  • A Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485)
  • A Student guardian Visa (subclass 590)
  • A Student Visa (subclass 500).

So, you have the option to get Government protection, hang around in Australia a little longer, B.Y.O Guardian, or renew your student visa.



Last, but not by any means least, you must NOT be involved in any activities that are disruptive or threatening to the Australian community, or a group or person within the community.

One of the conditions for acquiring a student visa in the first place is that you have a squeaky-clean police record. So, the visa rule applies that you don’t get involved in any elicit activities during your exchange in Australia.

Remember you’re not an Australian citizen so you’re not going to be protected by the law in the same way. So being a disruptive community member isn’t on the cards for you either.

You’re a guest. And guests have extra rules. So, behave politely or your visa may be cancelled.

Being a good citizen is a rule that applies to all countries, so it shouldn’t much of a surprise to you. Easy rule to abide by. Unless you’re a hooligan. But the Australian government probably won’t be granting you a visa in that case… unless you’re a con artist too.


Takeaway Thoughts

Studying abroad in Australia comes with all kinds of rules and conditions. So, make sure you abide by the rules of play, and don’t stray from your student visa requirements and responsibilities.

You need to stick to the rules like your visa depends on it (because it DOES). If you are found breaching your student visa conditions, your visa will be unceremoniously cancelled.

You need to know your work limits, stay enrolled in a registered university, turn up to class, study hard, keep your OSHC policy, keep the financial support flowing, get certified student accommodation, and be a very well behaved exchanged student.

Follow these student visa rules and you’re on your way to a prosperous stay in Oz.

And if you want to stay longer? You need to keep in mind that when your visa date expires, the rule is you need to be OUT of Australia.

So, if you want to stay longer in Australia (legally) you’ll need to renew your student visa or apply for a new visa before your current student visa expires!