Working in Australia

Many overseas students studying in Australia often find part-time work to support themselves during their stay and to earn some extra money. If you are interested in working in Australia there are several things you should be aware of before you start looking for a job.

Work Permission

If your student visa was granted on or after 28 April 2008, you don’t need to apply for work permission. You already have work permission on your student visa and this allows you to work for 20 hours per week (outside school hours).

Tax File Number

Once you have work rights (or Working Holiday Maker Visa) you can then start looking for a job. You will need to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN) for taxation purposes. If you start work before you get your TFN, you have 28 days to provide your TFN to your employer.

How to apply for a Tax File Number

  1. Apply online here: TFN application form and follow instructions.
  2. Alternatively, you can visit the Australian Taxation Office. Call 13 28 61 to make an appointment.

* If you do not have a Tax File Number, you may have more tax withheld than necessary.
When you stop work, ask your employer for a payment summary (total income/tax withheld), as you will need this payment summary to complete your tax return. You must lodge a tax return before you leave Australia.

Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

Address: 100 Market Street (Centrepoint Tower), City
Enquiry Line: 132 861
Open: Monday – Friday
Hours: 8:30am – 4:30pm

Types of Jobs

Your level of English and limited work hours will be an important factor when looking for a job. The most likely opportunities for work are in hospitality and service industries as these areas tend to have a high turnover of staff, flexible working hours and do not always require a high level of English.

Some examples are:

  • Waitress/waiter
  • Kitchen hand
  • Shop assistant
  • Delivery person
  • Cleaner

Rates of Pay

The rates of pay vary from place to place. You could expect, for the above jobs, to receive anywhere from A$12 – A$20 per hour. Most of the above jobs are easy to come by and do not always require a high level of English. However, there may be downsides such as:

  • Rate of pay may be less than for a native speaker
  • Student visa regulations (full-time study and maximum hours work, per week)
  • You can only work outside school hours and on weekends

Where to find

Newspapers / Magazines:

  • Student newspapers/magazines: TNT Magazine
  • Free employment magazines: 9 to 5 (available at Train Stations, etc.)
  • Local Newspapers: Wentworth Courier (free, available outside newsagents, corner shops, delivered to houses)
  • Daily Telegraph newspaper
  • Sydney Morning Herald newspaper – Wednesday, Saturday


  • Internet
  • Notice boards in shopping centres and student lodges
  • Ask other students
  • Show initiative and approach businesses
  • SELC Jobs Board!

Latest Articles