Working in Canberra

Here is some useful information about working while you study and the SkilledFutures initiative, which aims to help international students find employment in Canberra.

Statistics about Employment Opportunities in Canberra

  • The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has the lowest trend unemployment rate in Australia at 3.8% compared to the national trend unemployment rate of 5.3%.*
  • The Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) Skills and Workforce Development 2010 report shows that the ACT proportion of Vocational Education and Training (VET) graduates employed after training was 88.7%, higher than the national average of 76.3%.

*Findings from December 2011, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

SkilledFutures Initiative

Information taken from

A Canberra business venture launched in 2010, aims to help international students to find paid and course-related employment while completing their studies.

SkilledFutures will match international students with Canberra-based businesses who have expressed an interest in employing an international student on a part-time or casual basis.

It will help international students to gain valuable industry experience and networks with the potential for ongoing employment after their studies.

"Encouraging international students and indeed all students, to stick around after their studies, is crucial to ensuring the next generation of skilled workers for our growing city." said Canberra’s former Chief Minister, Mr Stanhope on SkilledFutures.

For more information on this employment opportunity visit

Information from the SkilledFuture website:

SkilledFutures is an innovative service that has been created to do only one thing - to connect ACT businesses with a well educated and enthusiastic new workforce.

SkilledFutures provides the opportunity for top international students and recent graduates to assist ACT businesses to deal with skills shortages through a personalised work placement service.

Benefits to Students

  • Experience in real workplaces
  • Opportunity to apply professional training
  • Career resources
  • Dedicated staff
  • Ongoing support and mentoring

Working While You Study

If you have been granted a student visa on or after 26 April 2008 you can work up to 20 hours per week while your course is in session. However, you cannot start work until you have commenced your course in Australia. If you’re bringing your family with you, your dependants can also work up to 20 hours per week once you have started your course in Australia. If you or your dependents work in excess of these restrictions, your visas may be subject to cancellation.

If you have been granted a student visa before 26 April 2008 you and your family member may only apply for permission to work once you have commenced your studies in your program.  Please see the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website for information on how to apply for permission to work.

Visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website for more information

Fair Work Ombudsman attending CIT O-Week

Students who are working to help support themselves through their studies this year are being encouraged to take advantage of meeting with a Fair Work representative to find out about their workplace rights. 

The Fair Work Ombusman will be at the CIT Bruce on the 19th March and can help students make sure they get their full entitlements if they are working. 

Types of Work for International Students

International students often find work in retail, hospitality and administration. You could expect to earn $6-15(AUD) an hour, depending on the kind of work you do and your age. You may be paid more for working on Sundays or public holidays.

Tutoring younger students in the field you are studying, or in your native language is also a good way to earn money. See Counselling and Equity for information on CIT's Peer Tutor Program.

Tax File Numbers

You should obtain a Tax File Number (TFN) from the Australian Tax Office if you are going to work in Australia. You may also need a TFN to open a bank account. In addition to supplying your name, current address and date of birth, you may also need to supply your date of arrival in Australia, your passport and proof of enrolment.

You do not have to obtain a TFN, however not having one means you could:

  • pay more tax than necessary
  • not be able to get Government benefits that you are entitled to receive, or
  • cause delays in the processing of your documents by the Tax Office.

Your TFN is valuable. Don’t share it with friends and don’t provide it on the internet when applying for work. Keep it secure.

Student visa information on this website is an outline only and subject to change. For more detailed, accurate and up-to-date information on student visas and visa requirements please visit