Working in Australia
If you are studying in Australia on a student visa, you can work part-time and do not need to apply for a work visa. Before you start working, it is very important that you are aware of the working conditions that are attached to your student visa:
- You cannot start working until you have commenced your course
- Once your course has started, you can work up to 40 hours per fortnight while your course is in session (first day of the term until the last day of exams)
- During official University vacation periods (as per the academic calendar), you can work unlimited hours.
- If you are studying a Masters by Research or a PhD, you can work unlimited hours once your course has started. However, you must ensure it does not impact on your progress.
Please note, work that is a formal registered part of your course is not included in the limit of 40 hours per fortnight. Voluntary, unpaid work is also not included in those hours.
If you breach your work conditions, your visa may be subject to cancellation.
For more information, visit the Work conditions for Student visa holders section of the Department of Home Affairs website.
Tax File Number
Before you start working in Australia, you will need to apply for a tax file number (TFN) through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). If you are employed, your employer will deduct income tax from your salary. At the end of each financial year, each employer will issue you with a Payment Summary showing your income and tax deductions for that financial year (1 July – 30 June).
If you earn any income during a financial year, you will have to submit a tax return using the information on your Payment Summary/ies. Tax Returns can be completed online using mytax or through an accountant. The ATO classifies international students studying in the country for six months or more as residents for taxation purposes.
Your Work Rights
Pay rates and workplace conditions are set by Australian law. All people working in Australia, including those from overseas (and on student visas) have rights and protections at work. These cannot be taken away by contracts or agreements. If you have questions about your pay and conditions while in Australia, you can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free help.