International students in Perth can work up to 48 hours a fortnight.
The working hour cap has been reintroduced to ensure international students have the time to focus on their studies. The good news is that the cap is now 48 hours per fortnight, as opposed to the previous level of 40 hours per fortnight.
Those working in the aged care sector will be exempt from these conditions until 31 December 2023. This revised cap will help international students to support themselves financially, while maintaining study as the primary purpose of their visa.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why is the Australian Government reintroducing the cap on working hours?
The relaxation of the working hour cap was a temporary measure implemented during the pandemic to allow students to increase their income while addressing labour shortages. The working hour cap aims to strike a balance between your need to support yourself and gain work experience in Australia, alongside the primary purpose of your student visa, which is to study in Australia.
What are my work rights and pay entitlements as an international student?
As an international student who is working while studying, you have the same work rights as any Australian citizen to a safe and fair workplace.
The National Minimum Wage is currently AUD $23.23 per hour or $882.80 per 38-hour week (before tax).Casual employees covered by the National Minimum
Wage also gets at least a 25% casual loading.
The Fair Work Ombudsman website will tell you everything you need to know about your pay, holidays and time off, as well as other entitlements and what to expect when your job ends.
You can also use the Pay Calculator to work out what you can expect to be paid while working in Perth.
Does the cap apply to all international students, or only to students who commence their courses after 1 July 2023?
The cap applies to all international students, regardless of when they commenced their studies.
The only exceptions are those working in the aged care sector (effective until 31 December 2023) and postgraduate research students on a student visa (subclass 500), who have no limit on the number of hours they can work once their course has commenced.
Does the cap apply during vacation periods?
You have the freedom to work without any hour restrictions during designated vacation periods approved by your educational institution.
Does the cap apply if I am completing internships or unpaid work as part of my course?
The 48-hour fortnightly limit applies to all types of work, except for the work that is mandatory for your course or training. In the case of required study or training work, it is not counted within the limit. However, for other types of work, such as volunteer work, you must include those hours when calculating the 48-hour limit.
Does the cap apply to those freelancing under an Australian Business Number (ABN)?
Yes, it does.
My employer has mentioned they can cancel my visa. What should I do?
Employers are not able to cancel visas, even if you have breached your visa conditions. If you are being exploited in your workplace, please contact the Fair Work Ombudsman as soon as possible. The Department of Home Affairs will not revoke your visa if you report workplace exploitation to the Fair Work Ombudsman, even if you have worked beyond the allowed hours within a fortnight.
I feel as if my employer is treating me unfairly in the workplace. What should I do?
As an international student working in Perth, here are a few key things to remember:
- The company you are working for must be a registered business. Not sure? You can use ABN Lookup to check.
- As it stands, the national minimum wage is $23.23 per hour. Use the Pay Calculator to find your estimated rate.
- You should always be paid for hours of work including training and trial shifts. Try to keep a record of your hours.
- You should receive payment at least once a month with a formal payslip.
- Employers are not allowed to remunerate you with goods or services instead of pay.
If you feel that you are being exploited in the workplace, it is recommended that you contact the Fair Work Ombudsman, who will be able to support you.
The Assurance Protocol applies to temporary visas with work restrictions, including the Student visa (subclass 500). This allows you to seek help from the Ombudsman without fear of visa cancellation, even if your visa conditions have been breached.
For more information about international students’ rights in the workplace, consult the Fair Work Ombudsman international students fact sheet.
There are a wide variety of full-time and part-time jobs in Perth for international students.
Did you know Perth has one of the strongest economies in the world with low unemployment rates?
Working while you study is not only a great way to earn some extra money, but it also gives you the chance to make connections, experience Perth’s way of life and practise your English if you are not a native speaker.
Searching for work? StudyPerth has partnered with SEEK to create the JobFinder WA program, which is specially designed to help connect you to Western Australian employers.
The Australian Government has extended post-study work rights for international students.
International student graduates from a Western Australian higher education provider are able to work in the State for:
- 5 years for Bachelor degrees in areas of verified skill shortage
- 6 years for Masters degrees in areas of verified skill shortage
- 7 years for all Doctoral degrees
Here are important things you need to know about working in Perth.
If you are on a Student Visa (a full-time international student), you will have the opportunity to work casually or part-time for up to 48 hours per fortnight (two-week period), and unlimited hours during the semester break. There are many casual and part-time jobs available throughout Perth in the areas of administration, hospitality, retail, aged care and housekeeping or cleaning.
As a casual employee, you have no guaranteed hours of work and do not get paid leave entitlements. To compensate this, casual work will be paid at a higher hourly rate. An adult (aged 18 years or over) can expect to earn a minimum of AUD $20.33 per hour.
As a part-time employee, you will work fewer than 38 hours per week and will have the same leave benefits as a full-time employee, at a rate in proportion to the amount of time you work.
Before graduating, you may also want to consider applying for a Temporary Graduate visa.
Your Tax File Number (TFN) is your personal reference number in Australia's tax system. You can apply for a TFN online once you have your visa and have arrived in Australia. You should apply for your TFN before you start work or soon after.
While it is not a requirement, if you choose to work in Australia you should get a TFN to avoid paying more tax than you have to. It is free too!
Many degrees at Perth’s universities require you to enrol in an internship, practical placement or vocational training as part of your course. You should firstly find out whether the course you are studying requires you to do an internship. Universities have teams to help you find relevant internships and practical placements, so approach your institution for more information about what’s available.
If your course does not require you to do an internship or work experience, that should not stop you from finding one that works for you.
Many online job search sites advertise internship programs, or you can visit Grad Australia to search for internship programs in Perth.
If you are in a creative industry, you might like to attend an event with Guerrilla Establishment, a not-for-profit organisation providing ongoing education, support and personal development to Perth students, graduates and industry members.
Please note that internships and work experience are often unpaid working arrangements, meaning you are expected to experience the work involved as your primary benefit.
Before you commence this sort of work, make sure you have a clear understanding of what the role involves, and your rights as an intern or as a volunteer on work experience. If you find yourself doing work that contributes to the ordinary operation of the business, then it may actually be a job – which means you should receive the same benefits as an employee, such as pay and leave entitlements. Find out more about your work rights as an unpaid worker here.