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Partner Visa Work Rights: Guiding Job Seekers to Success

Before you break out the champagne to celebrate your Australian Partner Visa approval, there’s an important stop you need to make, which is to understand your visa’s working rights. 

Why? Because neglecting this vital step could leave you at risk of workplace exploitation, and nobody wants that.

Picture this: you land a job, eager to dive into your new life in Australia, only to find yourself facing threats of visa cancellation, receiving less than your fair share of wages, not receiving paid leave or having your passport held hostage. It’s not exactly the dream start you envisioned, right?

By taking the time to grasp your work rights, you will arm yourself with the knowledge needed to spot any red flags. Whether it’s knowing about your pay, hours, breaks, or holidays, this knowledge will protect you from being taken advantage of.

Get ready to equip yourself with the information about partner visa employment privileges, limitations and perks, to protect yourself and thrive in your new workplace.

Partner Visa Australia Work Rights

Partner visas in Australia generally provide full work rights to the visa holder. The specific work rights granted depend on the subclass of the partner visa. Here is an overview of the work rights associated with common partner visa subclasses:

Temporary Partner Visa (Subclass 820 and 309)

The Temporary Partner (subclass 820 visa and 309 visa) allows holders to live and work in Australia. These visas are typically awarded to those who have genuine and ongoing relationships with a spouse or de facto partner who is an Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen. 

These visas provide unrestricted employment rights and allow holders to work in any job for any employer in Australia for Two Years from the date of visa award until they get a permanent partner visa.

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Permanent Partner Visa (Subclass 801 and 100)

The Permanent Partner (Subclass 801 visa and 100 visa) marks the final stage of the partner visa process. These visas are granted to individuals who have previously held a Temporary Partner visa and have met the requirements for permanent residency.

Australian permanent visa holders have Unrestricted Work Rights in Australia, with no limitations on employer or occupation as long as they maintain their residency status.

Prospective Marriage Visa (Subclass 300)

The Prospective Marriage visa (Subclass 300) is for individuals engaged to an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen. Once in Australia on this visa, they can apply for work rights through a Bridging Visa A (BVA). The BVA grants unrestricted work rights but can vary depending on individual circumstances.

To gain the right to work in any job with any employer, individuals must marry their partner within Nine Months.

Now, let’s go through your rights in the workplace.

What are the Work Rights for an Australian Partner Visa?

In Australia, partner visa holders enjoy the same basic workplace rights and protections as Australian citizens under the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO). They are responsible for enforcing your rights and ensuring fair treatment in the workplace.

Here are the essential entitlements outlined in the National Employment Standards (NES) for employees:

  • Maximum weekly working hours restrictions: 38 hours per week.
  • Provision for requesting flexible working arrangements
  • Entitlements to parental leave and associated benefits
  • Annual leave allowances
  • Sick (personal)/carer’s leave, compassionate leave and family/domestic leave
  • Community service leave
  • Extended service leave
  • Public holiday entitlements
  • Notice of termination and redundancy payments
  • Superannuation (super) contributions
  • The requirement for employers to provide the Fair Work Information Statement and Casual Employment Information Statement
  • The opportunity for casual employees to transition to permanent status under certain conditions.

Note: Employers must provide every new employee or casual employee with a copy of the Fair Work Information Statement (FWIS) and Casual Employment Information Statement (CEIS) upon commencing their employment.

Conditions and restrictions for work rights on partner visas

Even with full work rights in Australia, there are a few conditions and restrictions for work rights to be aware of as a partner visa holder.

Bridging Visas Restriction:

A bridging visa is a temporary visa granted to individuals awaiting the processing of their permanent partner visa application. It allows them to legally stay and work in Australia. Upon applying for an 820 visa, you are automatically granted a bridging visa. Similarly, for the 309 visa application made offshore, individuals need to apply for a bridging visa to enter Australia, while for the 300 visa, a bridging visa is required after the visa is granted. 

However, the work rights associated with bridging visas can vary depending on your previous visa. It’s essential to carefully review your bridging visa grant letter, particularly the section outlining “conditions,” to understand any specific work limitations.

During this waiting period, you may hold a temporary visa with certain work restrictions, which could include:

  • Limited work hours: You may only be allowed to work a certain number of hours per week.
  • Specific employers: In rare cases, your work might be restricted to a specific employer or industry tied to your specific visa.

Additional Considerations:

Work rights granted under a temporary partner visa are usually linked to the visa’s validity period. It is essential for you to be aware of when your visa expires and apply for renewal or transition to a different visa subclass as necessary to maintain legal work status.

With some restrictions and limitations, what if you unintentionally breach your contract?

Can my employer cancel my visa in breach of contract?

While “contract breach” might sound scary, the good news is your employer cannot directly cancel your visa in Australia, even if there’s a breach or disagreement. The Australian Government Department of Home Affairs has the final say on visas. Employers can’t influence this process. 

A contract breach might lead to dismissal, but it doesn’t automatically trigger visa cancellation. Your visa conditions outline specific scenarios that could lead to this outcome.

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Work Rights on a Partner Visa For Dependent Secondary Visa Holder

Work rights for secondary (dependent) visa holders on a Partner Visa depend on the specific subclass of the visa and individual circumstances. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Work Limitations: As a secondary visa holder, your work rights may be limited. You may be granted a work limitation condition, such as the “8107 – Work limitation” condition, which restricts the type of employment or employer you can work for.
  2. Visa Conditions: The work rights for secondary visa holders are typically tied to the primary visa holder’s visa conditions. If the primary visa holder’s visa does not allow unrestricted work rights, it may also affect your work rights as a dependent visa holder.

Red Flags to Watch Out For Workplace Exploitation

Knowing your work rights is essential, but it’s equally important to be aware of potential red flags to identify and avoid workplace exploitation. Here are some warning signs to watch out for:

  1. Visa Cancellation Threats
  2. Wage Underpayments
  3. Unfair Deductions or ‘Cash-Back’ Schemes
  4. Non-receipt of Workplace Entitlements
  5. Passport Retention
  6. Exceeding Visa Restrictions
  7. Up-Front Payments or ‘Deposits’
  8. Tax Evasion through Cash Payments
  9. Unpaid Training
  10. Misclassification as Independent Contractors
  11. Unfair Deductions for Accommodation, Training, Food, or Transport

Benefits of Having Work Rights on a Partner Visa

Having work rights on a partner visa in Australia comes with several benefits for the visa holder. Here are some key advantages:

  1. Financial Independence: Work rights enable the visa holder to earn their income, promoting financial independence. This allows them to contribute to household expenses, support their partner and meet their personal financial goals.
  2. Career Development: With work rights, the visa holder can pursue their career aspirations and professional development in Australia. They have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience, enhance their skills and expand their professional network.
  3. Integration and Social Connection: Engaging in employment provides opportunities for social interaction, networking and integration into the Australian community. It allows the visa holder to develop relationships with colleagues, build a support network and participate actively in society.
  4. Enhanced Quality of Life: Work rights can significantly enhance the overall quality of life for the visa holder. They can access better job opportunities, enjoy job satisfaction and experience personal fulfilment through meaningful employment.
  5. Stability and Security: Employment provides a sense of stability and security, as the visa holder can establish a stable income stream and secure their financial future. This stability can contribute to a sense of well-being and peace of mind.


Securing a partner visa in Australia opens up a world of opportunities, allowing you to pursue a rewarding career and live in Australia with your loved one. Understanding your entitlements, such as fair pay, reasonable hours and valuable benefits, empowers you to address any instances of unfair treatment. Be mindful of work limitations set by your visa type and familiarise yourself with the exploitation signs so you can protect yourself.

Unsure about your specific work rights? Worried about potential issues? Contact us today. Our registered migration agents are committed to providing the assistance and guidance you need to navigate your journey from the temporary to the permanent stage of your partner visa with confidence. 

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