After brilliant guest posts from Acolyte and Seinlife that touch on this subject, I felt that this post was in order. After all, it’s something that almost every international student must encounter at some point.
In the USA and in Australia, when you come over as a student, your student visa and work permit only allow you to work 20 hours every week during the school semester. In Australia, once the holidays are in effect, you can work as much as you want. I don’t know what the case is during holiday time in the US (leave a comment if you know), and I don’t know what the situation is in the UK in general – perhaps, sci-culturist, you can help me out with this one.
Now with that being the case, I know that a lot of you will immigrate and proceed to work way more than 20 hours during the school term. In truth there is no complex secret or rocket science should that be your choice. There are basically two things that you should keep in mind, should you choose to do this:
1) It is NOT the Most Important Thing
Whether or not you violate this rule isn’t the most important thing: how you are performing at school IS. From the stories I have heard, people who are caught for “over-working” aren’t usually initially investigated on account of their occupational habits. The investigation usually begins because:
a) The student is falling behind on attending lectures and tutorials.
b) Their grades are slipping.
As they investigate this, if they find out that you have been substituting the books for nursing and handyman gloves, it’s back on the boat with you. I know many people who came here on student visas and violated the 20 hour work limit week after week after week but were never caught because they were also model students.
If you are an A+ (well it’s High Distinction, but you get the point) student who attends all classes, lectures and tutorials, the chances of you being caught out for working a couple extra hours a week goes down dramatically.
That having been said though, don’t forget:
2) You’re Violating the Rules
If you get caught, there will be consequences. You might be detained and deportation is a definite possibility. Therefore, should you chose to constantly violate this rule BE CAREFUL. I know, this second secret fits in the d’uh category, but it needs to be said. BE CAREFUL. What this means is:
a) At the risk of being redundant to the nth power: Let NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING get in the way of your education. It’s the main reason you are here. Not the good life. Not the prayer conferences. Not to work (at least not yet). You came here on a student visa and as far as the nation of Australia knows that’s the only reason you’re here. Don’t give them any reason to bring this into question (refer to tip number one)
b) This one falls under the “I heard it through the grapevine which isn’t always accurate category”: Don’t go blabbing about your student visa situation to all and sundry. Keep it to yourself as much as you can and only share it with people you trust. There is a hotline where immigrants get reported for violating any Australian rules and laws, and apparently there are monetary reward for doing so. So don’t tempt those who may be aware of this and going through a stretch of poverty.
Be aware that should your employer be aware of the situation, they may want to take advantage, so make sure you trust your employer. Also, don’t tell your employer about it and then go and annoy him somehow.
In short, keep your head down and your nose as clean as you can.
And that’s it. I know, no mind-blowing, over the top secrets! But these secrets WILL get you from student visa to permanent residence or back home with an unblemished record. And both are much better than the fate that has befallen those who didn’t heed the above words.
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Keep your nose clean my friend,