Last Updated on March 16, 2021 by Christie McEnzie
Australia is one of the most diverse and welcoming countries in the world, and it is famous for its beauty as well as the world-class quality of education and living standards. No wonder so many students prefer going to Australia, for their higher education, having many universities which rank at the top among the world’s best, safe and friendly communities.
Are you ready and excited about having real-world opportunities and learning while experiencing Australian education? Another best thing about studying in Australia is that you get 20 hours, per week, window to work, part-time, helping you gain some work experience which might further help you secure a job opportunity thereafter post your studies.
Many students, especially coming from developing nations such as India, Philippines, Indonesia, China, etc want to work during their time studying in Australia. However, if you want to know the rules under your student visa then you need to understand the terms and regulations for the said.
With the help of our this mini-guide, you will learn about all the work rights you get as an international student while studying in Australia.
Work Rules for International Students in Australia
As an international student, you can work up to 20 hours per week in Australia during school sessions. There is no limit on working hours during holidays and recognized school vacations on your student visa in Australia. Your student visa will allow you to arrive in Australia 90-days before your course begins. However, you are not allowed to work until your courses have begun in Australia.
This 20 hours work limit also includes volunteer and unpaid work in your student visa in Australia. However, if you have moved with your family, their hours must not exceed the 20 hours per week limit even during the holidays. They are also not allowed to begin work until after your courses start. If you work more than the Australian restrictions allow or fail to follow any rules, then your student visa may cancelled and you may get deported back to your country.
Other Rules and Regulation
- Pursuing only student programs approved by the Australian Government
- Fulfilling all the requirements of the enrolled study program
- Maintaining satisfactory attendance in the course and course progress for each study period
- Maintaining Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) while studying in Australia
Working while studying is a great way to supplement your living expenses as international students in Australia. However, being aware of the rules and restrictions in Australia is not enough. You also need to know about your work rights as an international student in Australia.
Things to remember while working as an International Student in Australia
Australia is a great place to study and work as an international student. There are a few things you need to remember like:-
- You will have the same workplace protections as anyone else working in Australia.
- No matter what job you do, you will get at least a minimum rate of pay per hour in Australia.
- As a student worker, you will find support from government and private organizations in Australia. You will find support from your education provider as well in Australia.
- Depending on your income, you may need to pay tax if you are working in Australia.
- Make sure you get a Tax File Number (TFN) before you start working in this country. Also, provide your TFN to your employer so you do not pay more tax than you should.
- You can even find many casual job roles in Australia. In casual work, you don’t have a fixed number of hours every week in Australia. You can manage your own time even better this way in Australia.
Why Working in Australia is Ideal for International Students in Australia?
You will find it ideal to work in Australia because of the flexible work hours and numerous opportunities, and you can find various jobs in below-mentioned industries in Australia as an international student:
|Retail Work||Supermarkets, Department Stores, Boutiques|
|Hospitality Business||Cafes, Bars, Restaurants, Delivery|
|Farming and Fruit-picking||Seasonal Work|
|Other Services||Childcare, Aged Care and Cleaning|
|Administrative or Clerical Work||Any Industry|
|Tutoring||Any Corresponding Subjects|
How to Find Work in Australia?
As an international student in Australia, you can find many options available for part-time work. Working while studying can help you support your living expenses and also in networking with locals in Australia. This includes discovering more about this amazing country, meeting other students and locals. You can also improve your English accent, build your confidence and make new friends while working in Australia.
Here are some ways you can find work in Australia:
- Asking your friends and colleagues
- Through professional and personal networking and connections
- Searching on online job portals
- Job sites and notice boards at your university or college in Australia
- Professional recruitment companies in Australia
- Alumni groups at your university or college in Australia
- You can also take control of your employability development via Developing Employability Student Starter Kit
Employee Protection Laws in Australia
In Australia, workplace laws and regulations protect the rights of all workers including international students. These laws make sure that you:
- Are paid according to the minimum wage and superannuation
- Are not a victim of any unfair dismissal
- Have leave, breaks and rest periods
- Are working in a safe and healthy work environment in this country
All workers including those working on a temporary visa are under the protection of following laws in Australia:
- As a temporary resident working in Australia, your employer needs to make superannuation contributions. These contributions are must, by law if you are eligible.
- Your employer must have insurance to protect you in case you are hurt or get sick at work
Fair Work Ombudsman
The office which is under the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), is an independent government agency in Australia. It helps all the employees and employers to understand their rights and even their responsibilities as per the workplace laws which are stated in Australia.
It also works with you to solve any issues regarding your workplace. The FWO in Australia doesn’t charge you anything for its services.
What services does FWO provide?
- Gives you a piece of accurate information about your work rights and rates of pay
- Checks if your employer is abiding the Australian workplace law
- Offers you advice and support on issues related to the workplace
- Helps you resolve any issue related to your workplace
Taking Help from FWO as an International Student
The FWO provides services to all workers in Australia including international students. If you need help with any workplace issues then it is safe to reach out to the FWO.
The FWO won’t check your visa and you can get general information and advice from them without giving your name. Even if you have breached your visa, the FWO can still help you with workplace-related issues like underpayment. The FWO also shares your information with the Department of Home Affairs only after your consent. It won’t even cancel your visa if it finds pieces of evidence on violation of your workplace rights.
Its services are also available in multiple languages. Hence, there is no language barrier when you are contacting the FWO.
How to know if your Work Rights are at risk?
There is no doubt that Australia is a great place to study and work for international students. However, you need to notice things that may feel wrong at your workplace. If you get this feeling then it may be a sign that your work rights are at risk.
Your rights at the workplace as international students deserve to be protected. You must be aware of some common warning signs.
Getting Paid in Food or House instead of Cash
This includes getting paid in food and housing instead of money. It is illegal for employers to do so in Australia. Free food is fine only as long as it is on top of your actual pay. You don’t have to accept any other forms of payment from your employer. You must remain firm and tell your employer to pay you the actual money as per your agreement.
Employer Using Cash Back Scheme
Another warning sign to be aware of is if your employer asks to give back some of your pay. In this case, your employer pays you the correct and legal amount. He then asks you to pay back in some amount from your original payment in cash. This is called a cashback scheme and it is not allowed.
Employer Taking Money Out of Your Pay
You also need to be aware of your employer is taking money out of your pay. This includes scenarios like breaking something at work, a customer leaving without paying, and shortage in cash registers. Your employer can’t take money out of your pay to cover this in Australia.
Your employer can’t take money from you for any breakages or theft. Employers are only allowed to take money out of your pay if you agree to it in Australia. You must note that this agreement is only valid if it is written down and you get to benefit from it.
You don’t have to give back money in a cashback scheme in Australia. If you ever pay back money like this then the amount is under consideration for a deduction. Hence, you are entitled to get the money back.
Employer Not Giving You Your Payslips
If you are not getting your payslips means, you have no record of the hours you work. You will also not have any record of how much you are paid. Make sure you always receive your payslips either a hard copy or an electric copy. Your employer must give you a payslip within one working day of getting paid.
Your Employer Ask You to Apply for ABN
ABN stands for an Australian Business Number, an individual generally need this if they are self-employed. If you are at a job where you report to a boss or manager, you need a TFN and not ABN.
Volunteer Work and Internships in Australia
As an international student, you can expand your work experience via volunteer work and internships in Australia. It is a great way to meet new people and gain hands-on work experience while studying. You can also contribute to the community while studying in Australia.
You can visit various state and territory for volunteer opportunities. This includes:
- Volunteering and Contact Act
- The Centre of Volunteering NSW
- Volunteering SA & NT
- Volunteering Queensland
- Volunteering Tasmania
- Volunteering Victoria
- Volunteering WA
Your educations provider can offer you a range of internship, work experience, and volunteer opportunities.
Work in Australia post completion of your studies
Many international students desire to work in Australia after they graduate from their course. However, you will need to get a new working visa before your student visa expires to work in Australia after your studies are complete. As a graduate international student in Australia you may be eligible for:
- The Temporary Graduate Visa in Post-Study Work Visa Category
- To submit an Expression of Interest to work in Australia through SkillSelect
- Opting to nominate for skilled and business migration for state and territory government in Australia
There are other things as well you need to keep in mind while working as an international student in Australia. This includes being aware of employers who insist on paying you ‘cash in hand’ in Australia. Avoid employers who ask you to complete unpaid work on a trial basis in this country.
Be familiar with the pay and conditions of your area of employment and the territory or state you are working in. Make sure you read any employment contracts you sign while working in Australia.
How Much Can You Earn in Australia as an International Student?
Your income in Australia usually depends on your visa status, age, and experience. International students can work 20 hours per week in Australia. If you are a PR holder then you can work without any restriction. The minimum wage is around AUD 17.70 per hour in Australia. Means, you will earn around AUD 300-400 per week because you are getting proper minimum wages and can work 20 hours a week.
Make sure you are aware of all your rights as an international student in Australia before you find work. You can easily find related information on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website. You can inform them immediately if you feel that you have been a victim of exploitation by an employer in Australia.