One of the unique benefits of studying in Australia as an international student is having the option of getting a job and earning an income during your time here. Working while studying is very common for locals, and for international students, it can be an opportunity to supplement your living expenses, gain experience in an Australian workplace, start building your resume, and will mean you’ll have extra money for exploring your new city or travelling the country.
We know it’s daunting to move overseas to study, but it’s also exciting! Check out our city guides to gain the local knowledge you need to approach your study experience with confidence.
What do I need to know about working in Australia?
Certain student visas will allow you to work in Australia. International students can work up to 40 hours per fortnight during the semester and unlimited hours during semester break. It is good to prepare yourself with some knowledge of the Australian workplace and your rights as a worker before you start searching for jobs.
- Understand the basics of working in Australia
- Familiarise yourself with working part-time in a ‘regional area’ (if you’re living outside of Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane)
- International students have the same workplace rights as all other workers in Australia – understand your workplace rights and entitlements
- Learn the unique benefits that international students bring to the workplace
What’s different about the Australian workplace?
Australia has a fairly laidback, productivity-focused work culture, which can be very different compared to other countries.
- Read through 10 things you need to know about the Australian workplace
- Teach yourself some common Australian workplace slang
Can I start my own business?
If you’re an international student with entrepreneurial dreams, Australia is the perfect place for you to start your business.
- Understand the steps you need to undertake when starting a new business in Australia as an international student
- Be inspired by fellow international students who founded their own businesses
Where can I look for work?
As a student, you will want to find a part-time or casual job (your type of employment will affect your hours of work, your rate of pay and some of your entitlements) that won’t distract you from your studies. Fortunately, there are a range of different job options in a wide range of industries, and services that will help you find all the job posts and openings in your area. For all your job-hunt needs, use our guide to finding part-time and casual work in Australia.
Can I work freelance as an international student?
Yes! Working freelance in the ‘gig economy’ is an incredibly flexible way of earning an income that many students are finding suits their timetable better than a traditional casual or part-time job. We cover everything you need to know about working freelance while studying.
I’m a graduate!
Congratulations on completing your studies in Australia! If you’re interested in finding a job in Australia post-graduation, we outline the types of visas available to you, and tips on finding a job as a graduate in our guide that answers the question, what do I need to do when I graduate?
How can I successfully land a job in Australia?
So, you understand where to look for jobs, now it’s time to tackle how to apply for jobs. In Australia, job-hunting can be a fierce competition, and there are a number of stages and hurdles you’ll need to successfully complete to prove to your potential employer that you’re the perfect candidate for the role.
- Go through our 7-step guide on how to find a job in Australia
- Are you ready to join the workforce? Before you start applying, check out our steps to improve your job readiness and successfully secure a job
- Understand how to become more employable with advice from a careers expert
- Double-check you’re not guilty of any of these common resume mistakes
- Check out our top tips for masting job interviews in Australia
What if I’m a graduate looking for work?
Once you’ve understood the steps you’ll need to undertake once you’ve graduated, and ensured you meet the visa requirements, you can start to look for graduate jobs in Australia.
- Future-proof yourself with steps you can undertake right now to prepare for life as a graduate
- Learn how to apply for a graduate program
I need work experience! Where can I find an internship?
It’s extremely common in Australia for students to undertake internships while studying. An internship gives you the opportunity to experience working in a professional workplace, develop new skills, network with peers, and learn more about a specific industry. Often, your education provider will curate internship opportunities for you; in some circumstances, internships are a requirement of your course. However, you can also seek internships independently – just make sure it doesn’t interrupt your studies.
- Understand the benefits of undertaking an internship
- Learn where to find an internship in Australia
- Ask yourself these six key questions before taking up an internship
Can I volunteer in Australia?
As an international student, there are a range of opportunities for you to volunteer your time at businesses or organisations that interest you. Volunteering will help you gain valuable work experience, and boost your resume. Here’s where and how to find volunteer experience in Australia.
Am I full-time, part-time or casual?
Knowing what type of employment you have is essential to understanding your rights, including what hours you will be working, what benefits you will get, and how much you will be paid under the current minimum wage in Australia. We outline the different types of employment in Australia here.
What are my working rights?
As an international student, you have the same workplace rights as all other workers in Australia. There are services out there to support you when it comes to making sure you have the right pay, feel safe in the workplace, or are confused about the rights you are entitled to.
- Understand what the current minimum wage in Australia is
- Make sure you are getting the right pay for your type of employment
- Debunk some common Australian workplace myths
- Know what the Fair Work Information Statement is and where to get one from
- Learn how the Fair Work Ombudsman can help you with a workplace issue
- Download the free Record My Hours app so you can track your work hours easily
What are the most in-demand jobs of the future?
Globalisation, automation and rapidly changing needs mean the future of employment will probably look very different to now. In fact, many current careers won’t exist in the next 10 to 20 years. It’s critical that students ask the important question: ‘Will my chosen study path lead to strong job opportunities after graduation and beyond?’
We’ve put together a series of Careers of the Future, where we ask international students to share their experiences of studying and working in some of the world’s fastest-growing and in-demand careers.
How can I improve my employability?
Each week, Insider Guides host Student Webinars, bringing employability experts, career specialists, TEDx speakers, international alumni and established entrepreneurs to an international student audience, with an opportunity to engage, ask questions live, network with peers, and learn everything you need to know about employability in Australia.
If you can’t make it live, catch up on our webinar recordings and check out the resource library afterwards!
Register now for our next Student Webinar!
My work has been impacted by COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on employment and businesses, not just in Australia, but across the world. Many have been left without work, needing additional sick leave, or are seeking new opportunities to keep afloat during this time.
- Understand what to do if your workplace has shut down or you are unable to work due to COVID-19
- Hear from employability experts: how to look for work during COVID-19
- Learn how to make your job application stand out during COVID-19
Fair Work Ombudsman – Find out more about your rights and entitlements at work – contact them on 13 13 94. You can also access information in your own language at or call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.