Can you work on your student visa?
Photo by ED JONES / AFP

Are you planning to study and work abroad? Part-time work is great for international students – you’ll get to know the locals better, understand the culture more and make some extra cash at the same time.

First, however, you’ll need to check your student visa. This is the document that will answer many questions you probably have: Are there any paperwork involved? Is it a straightforward process? How many hours can I work in a week? Here are the top rules you’ll need to know in the following countries:

South Africa

If you have a South African study visa, you are allowed to work part-time for a period not exceeding 20 hours per week, according to the South African Department of Home Affairs (DHA). Once your study visa is issued, it is valid for the entire duration of your stay in South Africa.


Yes, you can work part-time or take on paid internships on campus. All you need are consent letters from your host university, hiring company and Chinese immigration authorities. Then, you can proceed to go to the police station to mark your visa for “part-time work.”

Hong Kong

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but here it is. Hong Kong stands out from this list as it has less flexible part-time work options for international students compared to the other countries highlighted. All is not lost, however as students are still eligible to work on campus and go on internships (more details here).


According to Education Malaysia, which is under the purview of Malaysia’s Ministry of Higher Education, all international students studying at public or private higher education institutions are allowed to work part-time for a maximum of 20 hours per week with a valid student visa and prior approval from the Department of Immigration. The latter is tricky – you’ll need to seek approval via your college or university.

Take note that this only applies to semester breaks or holidays of more than seven days. You won’t be able to work everywhere too, but only at restaurants, petrol kiosks, mini markets and hotels.


You can work for up to 20 hours per week, and full-time during scheduled breaks, without a work permit, according to Moving2Canada. As long as you are enrolled full-time in a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), you can choose to work on- or off-campus. Your study permit will state the full conditions of your work in Canada.

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