Working in Canberra

Many international students decide to get a part time or casual job to help pay for living expenses while they study in Australia. Here is some useful information related to working while you study.

Did you know?

  • Consistent with the highest educational attainment, Canberra has the highest average earnings and lowest unemployment in Australia .
  • A 2015 CIT student survey boasted a student satisfaction rate of 93%, employer satisfaction rate of 87% and the graduate employment rate of 83.5%, compared to 74.3% nationally.

Working While You Study

You cannot work until you have commenced your course in Australia. Once your course has commenced you are permitted to work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight when your course is in session, and unlimited hours when your course is not in session.

ABS 6227.0 -Education and Work, Australia, May 2015; ABS 6302 Average Weekly Earnings, Australia, Nov 2015; ABS 6202.0 Labour Force – June 2016.

For more information see the Department of Home Affairs website for Work conditions for student visa holders.

Fair Work Ombudsman

Workers in Australia – including visa holders with permission to work – have rights under Australian workplace law. The Fair Work Ombudsman is an Australian Government body that helps employers and employees understand their rights and responsibilities under Australian workplace laws.

The Fair Work Ombudsman website states that in 2017 the national minimum wage is $18.29 per hour (before tax).

Pay Calculator

The Fair Work Ombudsman Pay and Conditions Tool (PACT) provides information on pay rates, shift calculations, leave arrangements and notice and redundancy entitlements.

Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website for work-rights information for International Students.

Tax File Number

If you're enrolled to study in Australia in a course that lasts for six months or more, you're generally regarded as an Australian resident for tax purposes. If you’re going to work in Australia you must obtain a Tax File Number (TFN) from the Australian Tax Office.

Not having a TFN 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 Australian Tax Office.

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.

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.

Information provided here is a guide only and subject to change. For more detailed, accurate and up-to-date information, please visit the Department of Home Affairs website’s More Information for Students page.