Study & work
If you want to immerse yourself in the “Canberra experience” working part-time or casually as a student is a fantastic way to make friends, improve your English, equip yourself with valuable life-skills and workplace experience and help pay your bills! Just check that your student visa conditions allow you to work before applying for jobs.
Working part time
If you’re a student visa holder studying full-time for more than three months, you’re allowed to work once your course in Australia has started: up to 40 hours per fortnight when your course is in session; and unlimited hours when your course is not in session. If you are required to undertake work experience or a job placement as a registered component of your course, this work does not count towards these hours.
Please note that student visa work regulations vary, so always check with Department of Home Affairs before you commence employment.
Getting a job
Whilst it is ideal to find part-time or casual work in your chosen profession to compliment your studies, most students in Canberra find work in retail, hospitality and administration. To get a job, you’ll need to do the following:
- Check your visa status with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to see if you are permitted to work.
- Apply for a Tax File Number by downloading an online application form from the Australian Tax Office website. You must be in Australia to apply.
- Familiarise yourself with our tax system and superannuation contributions, Australia’s version of compulsory pension.
- Find a job. See our job-hunting tips below.
- Write an application letter.
- Provide a resume or CV outlining your previous experience.
- Attend an interview.
Student Services at your place of study will be able to help you with this process.
You are entitled to receive the minimum wage that applies to your age and job classification (find the current minimum wage). Some employers will pay you at a rate above the basic rate. The extra money you earn can assist with unexpected bills or entertainment however you won't be able to rely on this income alone to meet your academic and living expenses.
When your income tax is calculated, you are not taxed on the first $18,200 that you earn (the ‘tax-free threshold’). You can claim the tax-free threshold on the Tax file number declaration that your employer gives you when you start work.
Here are some tips to help you find part-time or casual work:
- Contact recruitment agencies and employers directly.
- Join a professional association or industry group to assist with networking.
- Talk to fellow students as many jobs are filled through word of mouth and referral.
- Go door knocking – employers will warm to you if you show initiative.
- Check job advertisements on campus notice boards.
- Search employer and recruitment agency websites for vacancies advertised online. Check the employment section of Canberra’s local newspaper, The Canberra Times.
- Ask your institution and student association if there are part time opportunities on campus such as in the library, gym and cafe.
Gaining work experience in your field of study, whether paid or unpaid, will greatly improve your career opportunities and help you develop your professional and personal skills. It also enables you to investigate the employment market first hand and will help you decide the best possible career path.
Internships, or unpaid work experience, offer the opportunity to gain Australian work experience in a field that's relevant to your academic discipline and will often include some elements of training depending on the employer. Speaking to a careers advisor within student services on your campus is a good place to ask about internship opportunities. You should check your visa conditions relating to work before undertaking an internship.
As part of your chosen course you may be required to undertake work-based training or a vocational work placement to gain your qualification. These types of placements are coordinated by your education provider.
Volunteer work is a rewarding way to get involved with the local community, make new friends and gain career experience. Volunteering opportunities are available through a range of community organisations and may also be advertised through your education provider.
Volunteering for a not-for-profit organisation is not included in your permitted 40 hours of work per fortnight, assuming it is a designated volunteer position and benefits the community.
Australian National University - Careers centre
Australian Taxation Office
Australian Taxation Office - Tax file number
Cantlie Capital Jobs Career One
Department of Home Affairs - Studying in Australia
Fair Work Ombudsman - Student placements and unpaid work
Go Volunteer Job Hero Seek Student Internships in Australia Study and work Study in Australia University of Canberra - Careers service Volunteer ACT Yellow Pages Directory - Recruitment services