Work In Australia
One of the advantages of studying in Australia is that you and your dependent family members have permission to work in Australia. You can start working once you have commenced your course in Australia.
When you are on a student visa, you are permitted to work up to 40 hours per fortnight while your course is in session and unlimited hours during scheduled semester break. If you have commenced your Masters by Research or Doctoral Degree, there is no limit on the number of hours you may work.
Working while studying allows you to earn some extra money while acquiring new skills and experiences. It also allows you to improve your English and integrate into the community.
Your dependent family members can also work up to 40 hours per fortnight at all times. However, if you have commenced a course in a Masters or Doctoral Degree, there is no limit on the number of hours a dependent family member may work. For more information, please visit the Department of Home Affairs.
Apart from paid work, you may also want to consider undertaking paid or unpaid internships to gain exposure and experience. Volunteering at charities or non-government organisations (NGOs) is also a great way to gain work experience and give back to the community at the same time.
Pay Rates and Conditions
As an international student, you have the same workplace rights as all the other workers in Australia. There are minimum pay rates that your employer has to pay you, depending on the type of work you do. You should receive a payslip each time you get paid by your employer.
There are also minimum conditions at work that are set out either in an Award or Agreement or come from the National Employment Standards.
The Fair Work Ombudsman will be able to help you if you encounter any issues in your workplace. You do not have to worry that your visa will be cancelled if you contact them for assistance. For more information, please visit the Fair Work Ombudsman.
All employers must have insurance cover for workers, even if you are on a temporary visa. This is called workers’ compensation. If you are hurt or get sick at work, the insurance may pay for your medical treatment and for your wages until you can work again. For more information, please visit Safe Work Australia.
Tax File Number
You will need to obtain a Tax File Number (TFN) before you start working. A TFN is a 9 digit number that is your unique identifier with the Australian Tax Office (ATO). You will keep the same TFN even if you change your name, change jobs, move interstate or go overseas.
You can apply for a TFN online once you have arrived in Australia with your study visa. While it is not compulsory for you to apply for a TFN, if you do not have one, your employer will take the highest rate of tax from your pay. You will also not be able to lodge your tax return electronically or get an Australian Business Number (ABN). To apply for a TFN, click here.
If you are enrolled in a course that lasts for 6 months or more, you are regarded as an Australian resident for tax purposes. You will need to declare all income you have earned and lodge an annual tax return at the end of the Australian income year, which ends on 30 June. You can lodge your tax return for the previous income year between 1 July to 31 October. If you use a registered tax agent to prepare and lodge your tax return, you may be able to lodge later than 31 October. However, you have to contact the registered tax agent before 31 October to make arrangements.
You can also lodge your tax return online from your home country. If you are leaving Australia permanently, you may be eligible to lodge an Australian tax return early. However, you must lodge a paper return, which will take longer to process.
After you have lodged your tax return, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) will send you a notice of assessment and you may receive a tax refund if you are entitled to one.
For more information, please visit the Australian Taxation Office.