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The basics
Australia: Once you arrive

Can international students work in Australia while studying?

Have you been wondering if you can work while studying abroad in Australia? We can help. We explain how your student visa works, what work you can do and the options available to you.

working part time

For many international students in Australia working part-time is an opportunity to earn extra money to help cover expenses, become part of the community, and meet new people. You may get the chance to experience the local culture or gain invaluable experience. What’s important to know is if you qualify to work while studying and the type of work you can do. That’s where we can help. We explain the working rights of international students on visas in Australia, the different options, and the requirements. 


Can I work in Australia as a student?

The short answer is yes. However, some rules and conditions apply to what you can do and how many hours you can work. If you have a student visa, this does give you the right to work in Australia. If you're accepted to study at an Australian university, you're granted a student visa (Subclass 500). Under the conditions of this visa, you can:


  • Work up to 48 hours every fortnight 
  • Unlimited hours over the semester break


The limitation on working hours is to protect you so that the majority of your time is dedicated to obtaining your degree. What is critical is that your work should not harm your academic performance. While working you still have to:


  • Maintain your course enrolment 
  • Maintain proper and regular course attendance
  • Make the necessary course progress 


Don’t forget that you can only start to work after the official start date of your study programme. You must also maintain a good academic standard to continue to be allowed to work part-time. 


Find out more about Australia’s top universities


What type of work can I do?

As an international student, you have the option of working in a variety of industries and roles. You are also protected under the same rules and laws as Australian citizens. This covers and applies to:


  • Minimum wage. This is monitored and set by the Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) Expert Panel 
  • Health and safety 
    • Breaks
    • Hazard and danger free
  • Maximum working hours 
  • Anti-bullying, discrimination and harassment 
  • Challenge an unfair dismissal 


The minimum wage in Australia is set at AUD 21.38 per hour, which means working the full allocation of 48 hours over two weeks will give you AUD 1,026.24. You will also pay 15.5 per cent tax rate on any of your part-time earnings. Some of the sectors in which you may be able to find part-time work include:


  • Hospitality 
  • Retail 
  • Tourism
  • Agriculture 
  • Administration 
  • Tutoring 
  • Sales 


It is also possible that you will find work at your university, for example, with the international office or as a student ambassador. Other work you may take up on campus includes:


  • IT assistant or technician 
  • Library assistant 
  • Administrative assistant 
  • Resident advisor or warden 
  • Campus guide 
  • Campus hospitality
  • Research assistant 
  • Bookstore assistant 


You can contact the careers, employability or counselling service to find out what opportunities there are. Most universities have dedicated portals and staff to help you with your search. 

Discover more about local culture with our guide to Australian English



How do I pay tax when working part-time?

To work in Australia you must get a Tax File Number. Your tax file number is a reference number the Australian government uses to keep track of your employment situation so they know how much you need to pay in tax per year. You will need this number to accept employment, ensure you’re paying the correct amount of tax and lodge a tax return at the end of the financial year. You will only ever be issued one TFN. If your circumstances change or you lose your details, you don’t have to re-apply.   


Discover what makes Australia unique. 


What about internships, work experience and volunteering?

If you study in Australia, you can look and apply for internships, work experience and volunteering positions. If you choose voluntary or unpaid work will not count towards the 40 hours if the work is considered a benefit to the community, is for a non-profit organisation or would not be offered as a paid position to an Australian resident: that is, the position is the same for both locals and non-residents. 


Unpaid work in return for board and lodging will also not count towards your weekly maximum of allowed work hours. Any other type of unpaid work, for example, professional internships or work placements, will count towards your fortnightly quota. You can search directly for these positions on organisation websites, chase up advertisements seen privately or even approach a company and inquire if they have any work experience positions available. 


Many organisations advertise jobs through universities as they are often specifically tailored for students with a bit of knowledge in their field. In all cases, you must produce a cover letter and an up-to-date CV.


Postgraduate students are more likely to undertake junior or training roles directly related to their field as they hold more qualifications. It is also common for postgraduate students to complete traineeships, assistantships, internships, work experience, or paid research roles either through the university or directly as part of their study programme.



Top tips for finding student work in Australia

Initially, it may seem challenging or difficult to find student work in Australia. But following some simple steps can make the process more manageable. Our top five pieces of advice are:


  • Always check your visa conditions and understand what they mean before looking for any work. 
  • Get familiar with Australian labour law and how it applies to you. 
  • Register for a Tax File Number 
  • Consult with your university careers, international, counselling or employability office for information on jobs, both on and off campus. 
  • Check regional and national job boards for the latest vacancies and openings.


With your new knowledge of working as a student in Australia, you may be interested in exploring more about this study destination. Our guides to tuition fees, living costs, and university applications can help you. 

Study in Australia


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