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Working on a student visa

If you're a student visa holder you can work in Australia while you're studying. You are permitted to start working once you have commenced your TAFE Queensland course. During semester, you can work up to 40 hours per fortnight and during semester holidays you can work as many hours as you like.

Some TAFE Queensland courses include unpaid work experience as part of your course. If vocational placement is required as part of your course, these hours are not counted in the 40 hours per fortnight.

Visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website for more information on working in Australia on a student visa.

Australian working conditions

If you choose to work while studying in Australia, you are entitled to certain rights including minimum wages, minimum working hours, meal breaks, and sick leave. You should be paid for all hours you work, including any trial shifts and probation periods.

If you believe you're not receiving your minimum rights and conditions at work, contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free information and advice.

Australian taxation system

The Australian financial year runs from 1 July to 30 June. Under Australian law, anyone who has worked in Australia must lodge an annual tax return by 31 October each year. If you're not sure if you need to lodge a tax return, contact the Australian Taxation Office.

To be able to work in Australia you will need to have a Tax File Number (TFN). When you start work your employer will ask you to complete a TFN declaration form. If you don't provide a TFN you will be taxed at the highest income tax rate — meaning less money for you each week.

You can apply for a TFN free of charge on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website. You'll need your passport details to complete the application.

Superannuation

Superannuation or 'super' refers to compulsory payments your employer makes towards your pension or retirement fund. Under superannuation law your employer must pay a minimum of 9.5% of your earnings into your super. You can also choose to make additional payments to your super fund. In most cases, you can access your super when you leave Australia permanently. Visit the Australian Taxation Office website for more information.

Finding work in Australia

When looking for work in Australia, you will be asked to submit a resume. Resumes should include your personal details such as name and contact details and any jobs you've had, including unpaid work experience. You will also need to have at least two references. If you haven't worked before, you can list any volunteer work you've done, or ask a teacher if they can be your reference. Visit the myfuture website for more information on writing a resume, including sample resume templates.

Many casual and entry-level jobs are advertised in local newspapers, in store windows, and on community noticeboards. You can also search for available jobs online on job search websites such as:

Recognising your skills

If you have existing qualifications from your home country (for example in engineering, construction, or electrical) you may be able to have these formally recognised in Australia. This can allow you to work in your area of specialisation, providing more job opportunities and higher wages. To find out how to have your skills recognised, visit the Trades Recognition Australia website.
 

Finding work after graduation

If you decide to stay in Australia and want to find permanent work after you graduate, there are a number of companies who specialise in helping international students find work. The below organisations provide career training and assistance during your final semester, and soon after you graduate.

 

Life in Australia

Find out more about what life in Australia is really like and get information on public transport, finding accommodation, and phone and internet services in Australia.

Learn more