Working in Australia can be a great cultural experience, and can be an opportunity for you to improve your language and social skills.
It is important as an international student to maintain a healthy work-study balance and to always remain within your allowed 40 hours per fortnight if you are a student visa holder.
It is very important to remember it is illegal to work before starting your first day of classes.
Finding work in Australia can be achieved through many different channels. You can contact Equity Services for careers and employment advice, as well as assistance with your C.V. These websites may also be helpful:
During your employment, it is very important that you are aware of your rights in the workplace, and the correct wages for your area and age, as well as penalty and weekend rates. It is the law in Australia to treat employees fairly and equally and to pay employees according to the wages set by the industry.
As an international student, despite your restricted working hours, you have the same rights to a fair and safe working place as any other person. You should also receive the same level of pay as any other employee in this position.
The Fair Work Ombudsman released on 25 September 2017 their International Student Engagement Strategy, seeking to increase compliance in Australian workplaces employing international students. Read about Fair Work Ombudsman – Open letter to international students.
If you do not feel that you are being treated fairly, you can:
- Discuss your concerns with your employer if you feel comfortable. Ask for copies of your pay slips, and ask to see the outline of their pay grades for employees, to ensure you are being paid correctly for your age and position.
- Enquire with your employer about penalty rates if you work weekends or public holidays. Also, inquire about uniform entitlements or any other additional payments you should be receiving.
- Search online for industry relevant information on salary information, i.e. the NT hospitality industry pay standard.
- Contact Fair Work Australia or Ombudsman if you think you are being exploited or treated unfairly. Search for your local office, and speak to their team. Gather evidence such as payslips and any evidence of communication with your employer.
You should not be afraid of speaking with the Ombudsman, as there is no issue with checking on your work rights.
Commonly, students may fear to speak to these agencies due to their student visa, or because they may be paid in cash or have worked overtime. It is important that you remain within your legal working hours, and work legally. However, if you are being exploited, you should always go to the Ombudsman to discuss your case.