As an international student working in Australia, you have the same protections as any Australian in the workplace. Here are some things you need to know.
Your pay: Australia has a minimum wage. You must be paid at least this amount – it’s the law!
Paying tax: If you’re working in Australia, you might need to pay tax depending on how much you earn. Get a Tax File Number (TFN) before starting work. Give your TFN to your boss to make sure you do not pay more tax than you should. Only apply for a TFN once – it is yours for life!
Payslips: In Australia, you must get a payslip within one working day of getting paid. Normally, workers get paid weekly, fortnightly (every two weeks) or monthly. The payslip is an important document.
Work hours: Remember – as an international student you can work up to 40 hours every two weeks during term time (while classes are being taught), and unlimited hours during your holiday breaks. It is important you keep to this limit – it is what you agreed to when you were given your student visa.
Casual work: In Australia, you will find many casual roles. In casual work, you don’t have a fixed number of hours every week. This means you can manage your own time better.
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Many international students look for part-time work while they study in Australia. The extra spending money to support your experience living in Australia can help you discover this wonderful country and meet other students and locals. It's also a great way to improve your English, build your confidence and make new friends.Some of the best ways to look for part-time work are:
- Word of mouth – ask your friends or colleagues
- Build your personal or professional networks and connections
- Online job sites
- Dedicated job sites and noticeboards at your university or college
- Professional recruitment companies
- Alumni groups at your place of study
Employee Protection Laws RateAustralia's workplace laws and regulations protect the rights of all workers, including international students working part-time on a student visa. These laws are designed to ensure you:
- are paid at least the minimum wage and superannuation;
- are protected against unfair dismissal;
- are entitled to leave, breaks and rest periods;
- and have a safe and healthy work environment.
The Developing Employability Student Starter Kit can help you take control of your employability development.
The Role of Fair Work Ombudsman
Get to know the FWO
The office of the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is an independent government agency. It helps employers and employees understand their rights and responsibilities under Australian workplace laws. It also works with you to resolve workplace issues. All its services are free!
What the FWO can do for youThe FWO is here to listen and to help. It can:
- give you accurate information on your work rights including rates of pay
- check if your employer is following Australian workplace laws, such as paying you correctly
- offer advice and support on workplace issues
- help you resolve workplace issues.
The FWO helps international students
International students have the same work rights as all workers in Australia. The FWO gives advice and support to all workers in Australia, including international students. it is safe for you to reach out to the FWO if you need help.
You won’t lose your visa by talking to the FWO
It’s not the FWO’s job to check your visa. You can get general advice from the FWO or report issues without giving your name. If you have breached your visa (like working too many hours), the FWO can still help with issues like underpayment.
If you want, the FWO can also share your information with the Department of Home Affairs, who generally won’t cancel your visa if there is evidence your workplace rights have been breached.
FWO’s services are available in many languages. Language is not a problem when contacting the FWO. You can access their services in different languages – all for free. How to contact the FWO, It’s easy! Just call 13 13 94.
Helpful resources and links
Visit www.fairwork.gov.au/internationalstudents for more information on working in Australia as an international student.
Download the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) (PDF 2.7MB) flyer to learn how they can support you with any concerns about your workplace rights.
Watch this short video on working in Australia. It’s available in many languages.
Download the free Record my Hours app to keep track of your working hours. You can also keep other work-related information such as your roster using the app. This app is also available in 18 different languages.
Use the PACT Calculator (Pay and Conditions Tool) to find your correct pay rate and other entitlements at work.