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A friend here in Korea just told me he wants to get a student visa to study in Australia for six months then switch to a working holiday visa.

I know Koreans are eligible for working holiday visas, I know he's under the age cut-off.

I've known several people that did it the other way around, first coming with a working holiday visa for a year or two (You can only get it once in your life), then going home and getting a student visa and coming back to do an English language course or a business course, or even a cooking course. (Colleges for foreigners to do all kinds of courses really took off some years ago.)

So I suppose there's two things I don't know:

  • Can you switch from a student visa to a working holiday visa?
  • If so must you leave the country and come back?
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1 Answer 1

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Does your friend know they can work while here on a student visa? Once their course has started they can work to 40 hrs a fortnight or maybe more, depending on their visa subclass. (See Permission to Work Arrangement for Student Visa Holders)

However, if they want to stay on after their course they'll need a Working Holiday Visa as you suggest and since they're coming from Korea it'd be of Subclass 417.

The Department of Immigration website lists following requirements (amongst others):

  • be outside Australia when you apply and, when your visa is granted
  • be applying no more than 12 months before you intend to travel to Australia

Now, I'm not an expert but it sounds to me like your friend would be ok so long as their work visa was applied for and granted before they arrived in Australia on their student visa.

To be sure, I'd suggest you/your friend spend some time checking the details online: http://www.immi.gov.au/immigration/

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Yes we did look online last night and I did find the 40 hours per fortnight rule but thank you for finding the other information which I did not spot. –  hippietrail Sep 25 '12 at 10:22

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