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Your guide to working in Australia as an international student

06/10/2023 |

Are you wondering what job opportunities are available for international students studying in Perth? Can you even work in Australia as an international student? The short answer is yes. There are endless opportunities on offer when studying in Perth. Whether you are looking for a part-time, casual, or volunteering position, Perth truly has it all.  

To help answer all your employment-related questions, here is our guide to everything you need to know about working in Australia as an international student: 

Before applying for a job in Australia

Double-check your conditions  

Before applying for a job in Australia, you should do a bit of housekeeping to ensure you are applying for a role that suits your circumstances. Check your visa or scholarship conditions to make sure you meet all requirements.

Understanding hours of work

Under the terms of a student visa, once you have commenced your course as an international student, you can work up to 48 hours per fortnight (2-week period) while your course is in session and unlimited hours during scheduled course breaks. You must not work in Australia before your course of study commences.

Apply for a tax file number 

Once you arrive in Australia, you can apply for a Tax File Number (TFN) through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Your tax file number will be your unique numerical identifier for all tax purposes while you work. If you live in Australia longer than six months, you will be considered a resident for tax purposes, be required to pay income tax and be eligible to submit a tax return at the end of the financial year. 

Understand your working rights 

It is also important that you understand your working rights in Australia. As an international student, you will have the same workplace rights and protections as everyone else working in Australia. You can find out more about your rights on the Fairwork Government website. 

It’s time to apply

Prepare your documents

To start applying for jobs, you will need an up-to-date resume or CV that lists your skills and experience to date. Many jobs will also require you to submit a personalised cover letter or selection criteria as part of the application process. It is important to take time writing and proofreading to ensure you make a good first impression and to place yourself in the best possible position against other candidates who may be applying for the same role. 

Types of employment for international students 

Working casually or part-time is a great way to generate some extra income while you study. Casual employment does not require you to work a certain number of hours per week and can often be flexible around university study. As a casual employee, you are not entitled to any paid leave, including sick and annual. As a part-time employee, you have a permanent position where you will be required to work a set number of hours per week, with paid leave entitlements. This type of employment can also work well with university study, as you can schedule your shifts around your semester timetable. 

Full-time work is not permitted as an international student studying in Australia, as you will exceed your fortnightly number of hours. 

Types of jobs for international students 

So, now you know exactly how many hours you are permitted to work, it’s time to investigate the types of jobs or industries you can consider. Here are a few industries that are popular amongst university students: 

  • Retail – includes working in supermarkets and clothing stores.
  • Hospitality – includes waiting in cafes, restaurants, or bartending. 
  • Admin – includes reception work, data entry or secretary. 
  • Services – including tutoring, babysitting, cleaning or dog walking.
  • Freelance work in line with your personal skills.

You could also consider getting a role on campus at UWA!

Volunteering and work experience 

Volunteering is also a great way to boost employability and gain work experience in your field of study before you graduate. The good news is that in Australia, volunteering work does not count towards your permitted working hours. 

Finding the perfect job for you 

There are plenty of ways for you to find a job that will suit your needs and schedule while studying at university. Here are a few avenues to get you started: 

  • SEEK and Indeed – these are online career portals that hiring companies list open job opportunities on.
  • LinkedIn – this is a business and employment-focused social media platform that is great for networking and discovering new roles.
  • UWA Careers and Employability Centre – we can help you find the perfect job to suit your lifestyle and give you advice on how to apply. Drop-in sessions run from 9.30am to 12.30pm (Monday to Friday) at Student Central. 
  • Uni Hub – this is your one-stop online careers shop that lists both employment and volunteering opportunities, plus workshops and other helpful tools.

More information about jobs while you study 

International student from Hong Kong, Abby, will take you through some of the options available to international students in Perth.



Job opportunities after you graduate 

Perth is a city of opportunity and a great place to launch your career in your desired field. If you are approaching your graduation, here are 5 reasons to launch your career in Perth after you graduate.

Want to know more about studying at UWA? Visit the international students page on our website, contact our Future Students Centre by submitting an online enquiry through askUWA or chat to a current international student


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