ALACC offers a free Resume update service, cover letter writing for job applications as well as assistance with job seeker skills at the Preston Campus on Fridays. Bookings are essential.

Eligibility to Work

Holders of an Australian student visa are normally eligible to work in Australia - up to 20 hours a week during semester, and full-time during holidays. If you are on a scholarship, you’ll need to make sure the conditions allow you to work. However, some colleges and universities warn against working at all, because it can undermine your studies and prevent you from socialising and getting the most out of your stay.

Seek, Career One and Careerjet are good websites to start your search. You can also try the Federal Government’s Job search website, which allows you to search for jobs by area.

Don’t expect immediate results: it often takes time to build up networks, connections and knowledge to get a job related to your field of study.


Family Members

If your student visa was granted on or after 26 April 2008, you and your family already have Permission to Work automatically included with your visa. You and your family can only start work once your course has started.
Dependent family members can only work up to 20 hours week. However, family members of Masters and Doctorate students are not restricted.

See the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) website or click here for more information.


Checking Your Entitlements

If you do not have a visa label in your passport, you can access your visa information by using Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) at any time. Many organisations across Australia, including businesses and recruitment agencies and banks, can also check your work rights after having obtained your consent.

If you wish to have a visa label placed in your passport, please visit the nearest DIAC office. During the first weeks of each semester, you can also receive your visa label from DIAC officers on campus.


Your Work Rights

Everyone who works in Australia has basic rights and protections, including the right to a minimum wage and conditions.
Fair Work Australia is the national workplace relations tribunal. It is an independent body with power to carry out a range of functions relating to the safety net of minimum wages and employment conditions, enterprise bargaining, industrial action, dispute resolution, termination of employment as well as other workplace matters. For more information check their website.

The Victorian Government’s JobWatch website has information on issues such as superannuation, job-hunting traps, unpaid trial work, and termination. You can also call Job watch on 03 9662 1933 regional areas 1800 331 617.



Every time you are paid, you should receive a pay slip. In Victoria, there is certain information that must be included on every pay slip - the date of payment; the period covered by the payment (e.g., work done over a fortnight); the number of hours or days that you have worked during that period; a “gross” amount, which is what you have earned before tax and superannuation are taken out; a “net” amount which is the amount you have actually been paid after deductions for tax and superannuation.

If you never receive a pay slip, or you believe the information on it is incorrect, speak first to your employer. You can also approach a trade union, or contact the Department of Employment & Workplace Relations (DEEWR) on 1300 363 264.



If you believe you are being underpaid, you can find out the minimum rate for your job by calling your trade union. If you’re not a union member, you can still telephone the ACTU Worker Connect Information Line on 1300 362 223. They can also give you information on claiming unpaid wages.



If you are over 18 and earn more than $450 in a month, your employer must pay money into a superannuation (retirement savings) fund.

This amount is usually 9% of your earnings. When you leave Australia, you may be able to access this money. Check the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website or phone the Superannuation Infoline on 13 10 20 (within Australia) or email supermail@ato.gov.au (outside Australia).



If you are enrolled in a course for six months or more, you are an Australian resident for tax purposes. (This is completely different form your immigration residency status). This means you pay the same rate of tax as other Australians. If you expect to earn more than $6000 within the financial year (1 July to 30 June), you will need to pay tax. You’ll need to sign an Employer Declaration Form. This allows your employer to pay tax on your behalf to the government every time you are paid. This is how most Australians pay tax, and it is called Pay as You Go (PAYG). This form will ask if you want to claim the tax-free threshold from this employer. This means you are not taxed on the first $6000 you earn in that financial year. You can only claim the tax-free threshold from one employer at a time.

Overseas students should not have the Medicare levy taken out of their wages. You can fill out a Medicare Levy Variation Declaration form and give it to your employer. This will stop your employer from taking the extra 1.5 % from your pay each pay period. The form is available either from your employer or on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website.


Tax File Number (TFN)

You need a Tax File Number (TFN) to work legally in Australia. You will need to supply your TFN to your employer, or you will be taxed at the highest rate. When you lodge your income tax return at the end of the financial year, you may need to pay more tax or you may receive a tax refund. You’ll get your own unique, nine-digit number for life. You can get a Tax File Number from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The ATO has several offices open to the public - or shopfronts - in major cities. You can also apply for a Tax File Number online (note your receipt number).

If you have not received it within 28 days, phone the Tax Office on 13 28 61.


Tax Returns

Australia’s financial year is July 1 - June 30. If you’ve been working part-time or as a casual, you’ll need to lodge a tax return after July 1. You’ll usually be issued a Payment Summary (formerly known as Group Certificate) by your employer, which details how much you’ve earned and how much tax has been taken out. You can also request your employer write a letter with this information on it. You can complete your tax return online via the ATO website, or get an accountant to complete your return.

If you’re leaving Australia permanently before July 1, you can click here to download the Taxpayer Leaving Australia: Request for early Assessment. Attach this to a copy of your tax return and either post it or hand it in at an Australian Taxation Office.

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