Volunteering can be a great way to meet local people and learn more about Victorian life. If you are in Australia temporarily, i.e. as a tourist or student, and asylum seekers awaiting a decision on their application, you may have the right to volunteer under your visa conditions.
What do we mean by volunteer?
All visas that include the right to volunteer require the work to be genuinely voluntary.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection considers genuine volunteering to be:
- undertaken through a community organisation
- not a replacement for a paid role
- unpaid (but reimbursements are acceptable)
This is consistent with the definition of volunteering in Australia.
Applying to volunteer
It is common for people applying for a volunteer role in Australia to be asked to undertake various checks, such as supplying personal references and criminal records checks.
You may also need to supply several forms of identification that are commonly accepted for official use in Australia. This might include your passport and proof of where you are living.
If an organisation requires these checks as part of their recruitment processes they should apply to all potential volunteers, it is unlikely to be related to your visa status.
Disclaimer: Because of the wide range of visa types and changing conditions, Volunteering Victoria strongly recommends you check with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection if you have any doubts about your right to volunteer.
The restriction of a maximum of 20 hours paid work for students does not include volunteer work.
Even if you do not have permission to work, you may well be entitled to volunteer. If you do not have permission to work, Volunteering Victoria strongly recommends you check with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to clarify your status.