Working in Australia
- We advise you to check with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection on the rules regarding working in Australia. There are also several visa options under the General Skilled Migration program for skilled workers wanting to live in Australia after they complete their studies, and who do not have an employer sponsoring them.
- There are restrictions on the number of hours you can work even when you have been granted permission to work.
- To work in Australia, an individual must have a Tax File Number (TFN). This can be obtained online from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
Strategies for working in Australia
If you are intending to work in Australia during and/or after you finish your studies, it is important that you start preparing as early as you can. This is especially important if you are interested in obtaining permanent residency and working in your discipline area upon graduation. International students who succeed in gaining employment in Australia usually have:
- advanced communication skills in English
- local experience related to their discipline area
- well-developed employability skills
- good understanding of Australian culture and workplace expectations.
Pathway to employment
It is important to start developing your skills, experience and knowledge for the Australian job market.
The IEAA International Employability Guide for International Students is a guide for students providing practical advice on:
- Skills employers are seeking
- Activities you should be undertaken in your first, second and final years of university, such as volunteering and internships, to develop experience and employability skills
- Advice for after you graduate
- Practical tips on job search strategies, online applications and interviewing
Performing well at work
Once you start working in Australia, it is essential that you apply yourself to the job, develop good work habits and behave professionally. Below are the main habits you should aim to develop and display whilst at work in Australia:
- Be punctual and work efficiently
- Inform your supervisor if you will be late or absent from work
- Present yourself well, by having good hygiene standards and wearing clothing that is appropriate to your workplace
- Work diligently and conduct personal business on breaks or outside work
- Learn and implement the organisation's policies, procedures and values
- Work safely and in accord with occupational health and safety regulations
- Treat colleagues and customers with respect
Communicating clearly and openly is also a good habit to develop. Australians communicate in a direct and open way in the workplace, which differs from a lot of cultures where the communication style of employees towards supervisors is more passive (they might only speak if requested, might not voice their opinions or ask questions). In the Australian workplace, staff and management will communicate openly. Disagreeing with someone's opinion is not offensive, if you use evidence and arguments to back your case and if you provide constructive feedback to the other person.
Australian workplace culture
If you are an international student intending to work in Australia, you might find the customs and practices that Australians engage in at work quite different from your home country. It is important that you familiarise yourself with the cultural practices in Australia in order for you to be competitive in finding work and in performing well once employed.
To learn more about Australian culture:
- Country Career Guides are available on Going Global and provides practical information on finding and applying for work as well as cultural advice on the Australian lifestyle.
- What is Australia’s working culture like?
- Australian culture, values & customs
- La Trobe International provides support services to assist international students
- Study Melbourne operates the Study Melbourne Student Centre, a free and confidential support and welfare service for international students in Victoria. The Study Melbourne website also provides advice on the topics including study, life in Melbourne and work.
- How to succeed in your first year as an international student
- International Students Work Rights Legal Service