Like many international students, you may get a part time or casual job to gain experience in the workplace or help pay your living expenses while you study in Australia. International students can work up to 40 hours per fortnight while they are studying, and can work full time during their semester breaks.
Everyone who works in Australia has the same rights and protections under the law. If you have found a job, you have a right to minimum wage and proper work conditions.
Find out more about Your rights at work.
Tax File Number (TFN)
You need a Tax File Number (TFN) to work in Australia. Learn how to apply for a TFN and avoid paying too much tax in Australia.
Find out more about Paying tax in Australia
If you are working, every time you are paid you should receive a pay slip which includes the following information:
- the date of payment
- the period you have worked. This may be a week, a fortnight or a month, depending on how often your employer does a pay run
- the number of hours or days you have worked during that period
- a ‘gross’ amount. This is the total amount you have earned for the pay period. The amount includes tax and superannuation.
- a ‘net’ amount. This is the amount you receive after tax and superannuation are taken out.
Fair rates of pay
From 1 July 2009, most Australian workplaces are governed by a new system created by the Fair Work Act 2009.
The Fair Work Ombudsman helps employees, employers, contractors and the community to understand and comply with the new system. They provide education, information and advice, help to resolve workplace complaints, conduct investigations, and enforce relevant Commonwealth workplace laws.
The Fairwork Ombudsman provides a fact sheet for international students. The factsheet helps you understand your basic workplace rights, where to obtain further information, and how to ask the Fair Work Ombudsman for help.
Find out the minimum pay rate for your job by visiting the Australian Government’s Fair Work Online or call the Fair Work Ombudsman by calling 13 13 94.
Fair Work provide language assistance in up to 27 languages. To access, call 131 450 and tell the operator what language you’d like advice in.
International Students Work Rights Legal Service
The International Students Work Rights Legal Service offers free, confidential and independent legal advice for international students with work problems (excluding migration) or who want to know more about their rights at work. Students can see a specialist employment lawyer at the Study Melbourne Student Centre every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The Study Melbourne Student Centre is located at 17 Hardware Lane, Melbourne.
For more information or to make an appointment email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1800 056 449 (free call from landlines)
Read more about Your rights at work
Searching for a job
There are a number of places that you can look for work.
Read more about How to find a part-time job
Seasonal and event work
Sometimes you can find jobs in retail, customer service, hospitality or events around peak periods, for example around Christmas time. Companies often recruit in advance for busy times so enquire early.
If you are looking for seasonal or event work, try searching with these keywords
- function centres
- hospitality recruitment
- snow jobs (for work in winter)
If you are interested in working for a particular company (e.g. a department store) event (e.g. a festival) or venue (e.g. a sporting arena) try searching the name of the organisation, event or festival followed by ‘jobs’, ‘seasonal staff’ or ‘event staff’
If you are over 18 years-old and earn more than $450 per month, you are also entitled to receive superannuation (retirement savings). Your employer must pay this money into a superannuation fund for you, and when you leave Australia, you can access this money!
Read more about Superannuation
Where to get help
Study Melbourne Student Centre
At the Study Melbourne Student Centre, in Melbourne’s CBD, international students in Victoria access a range of free support, information and welfare services.
Read more about the Study Melbourne Student Centre and the services provided there.
Department of Home Affairs website
Read about work conditions for student visa holders on the Department of Home Affairs website. The Department of Home Affairs website also has information about studying in Australia whether the terms of your visa allow you to work and what restrictions you need to be aware of.
Explore this website for more information about living and studying in Melbourne, Victoria.
For information about jobs and employment, start with our Employment and work section.
Working with an Australian Business Number (ABN)
It is not necessary to have an Australian Business Number (ABN) to work in Australia.
You only require an ABN if you are running your own business and are a genuine independent contractor. You may be an employee rather than a genuine independent contractor, even if you have agreed to work with an ABN, or have signed a contract which says you are an independent contractor.
Find out more about whether you should be using an ABN.