If you are looking for jobs abroad, particularly in Australia, you may have come across advertisements that promise you work via a student visa. They may also admit that they are not job placement agencies, but “guarantee” that you’ll be off to Australia in no time. They may also promise no placement fees and a free assessment. But remember that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

What is a Student Visa?

A Student Visa (subclass 500) issued by the Australian Government will allow you to study and work in Australia. Yes, you can work once classes start. The caveat is that you are only limited to 40 hours of work per two weeks. Once classes are on break (aka vacation), then you can work unlimited hours. That’s if you immediately find extra work. In the meantime, you have to pay for your school fees, projects, accommodation, transportation, and of course, food. Unless you’re a breatharian – in which case why do you need to work?

How much do I need to prepare?

Work in Australia: Should You Get a Student Visa?
You need to have serious funds to get a student visa.

To qualify for a Student Visa, you must be enrolled in a Commonwealth Register of Institutions and courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) accredited school. That means paying at least 50% of the tuition fee. Aside from this, you need to either show that your personal annual income is AUD 60,000 or have evidence of funds. You can go the easier way, which is to show funds of at least AUD$20,290 (representing 12 months of living expenses) plus AUD$2,000 (airfare) plus tuition fee for one year – let’s say AUD$8,000 (less tuition already paid. In short, you need a minimum of AUD$30,290.00. This needs to be in your bank for a minimum of 3 months before you lodge your application. The visa itself costs from AUD$575.

Do I have a guarantee that I can get a work visa?

There is no guarantee that you can get a work visa after you finish your studies. It all depends on whether the occupation that you’re qualified for is still included in the Skilled Occupations List once you’re done. There are some people who have successfully gone the Student Visa way, though. I personally know one and she studied Nursing in Sydney. She’s now an Australian citizen together with her son whom she included in her student visa application. Ultimately, only you can decide whether the payoff is worth the gamble.