Working as Uber or Taxi Driver while holding a Student Visa?

As a general rule, international students cannot work for more than 40 hours per fortnight during the school semester. This rule is explained under Condition 8105 of the Migration Regulations 1994 where it states:

(1A)  The holder must not engage in any work in Australia before the holder’s course of study commences.

(1)  Subject to subclause (2), the holder must not engage in work in Australia for more than 40 hours a fortnight during any fortnight when the holder’s course of study or training is in session. 

(2)  Subclause (1) does not apply: 

(a)  to work that was specified as a requirement of the course when the course particulars were entered in the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students; and

(b)  in relation to a student visa granted in relation to a masters degree by research or doctoral degree if the holder has commenced the masters degree by research or doctoral degree.

(3)  In this clause: 

fortnight means the period of 14 days commencing on a Monday.

The number of student visa cancellations are increasing dramatically each year due to the breach of this visa condition. This includes international students working as drivers for Uber, Ola, Taxi or delivering food with Uber Eats. It has been reported that international students sometimes take it lightly or lose track of the hours they worked in ride-sharing services like Uber or Ola. As a result, they are risking their student visas be cancelled by the Department of Home Affairs due to breach of Condition 8105.

The decision of the Federal Circuit Court in Verma v Minister for Immigration & Anor (2017) FCCA 69 clarifies the concept of ‘work’ for student visa holders that are working as Uber or Taxi drivers. It is highlighted by Justice Young that work for Uber or Taxi drivers begins at his or her driving shift, the time waiting for a passenger or between passengers. Thus, this indicates that reading a book or playing games on your iPhone while waiting for passengers is a driver’s activity for remuneration and is included in the 40 hours per fortnight work limit for international students.

To sum up, be mindful of your work hours as an international student and do not get tempted with the latest Nike Air Yeezy sneakers or PlayStation console. The Department can request your driving activity record from Uber Australia or salary record from the Australian Taxation Office if they are suspicious of your working hours. If the Department concludes that you are exceeding your work hours during school term, you can then expect a Notice of Intention to Consider Cancellation (NOICC) from the Department.

Are you working for Uber or a Taxi whilst on a student visa and need advice?

If you have any questions regarding student visas, please contact our team of Registered Migration Agents today.