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3 things you need to do before you apply for a job in Australia

Your guide to visas, your rights at work and insurance

A young woman sits next to a window while typing on her laptop
A young woman sits next to a window while typing on her laptop

Getting Australian work experience is a great way to gain new skills and improve your employment prospects internationally.

Whether you worked part-time while studying or you’re about to begin your first job after graduation, there are important things to know first about visas, your rights at work and insurance.

1. Update your visa

While you can work up to 40 hours a fortnight on your student visa (and unlimited hours during holidays), you must apply for a new visa once you are no longer a student.

In order to legally work in Australia (and to ensure you receive the proper pay and benefits) you must update your visa before you begin applying for jobs. For more information on your visa requirements, visit the Department of Home Affairs or the Fair Work Ombudsman.

2. Know your rights

Sadly, there have been many cases of unethical employers underpaying international students. The best way to protect yourself from being ripped off is to know your rights. If something doesn’t feel right, you can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman anonymously. In some cases you may even be entitled to back pay.

The best way to protect yourself from being ripped off is to know your rights

  • Pay: There are minimum pay rates and leave entitlements (including breaks during the workday) for all employees regardless of citizenship status. To find out the minimum pay rate for your job, check the Ombudsman’s Pay Calculator. The Ombudsman also has information on unpaid trials, work experience and internships, so be sure to check whether your job, or intended job, meets the minimum legal requirements.

  • Tax: In order to work legally in Australia, you’ll need to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN). If you can’t provide this to your employer, 45% of your pay will automatically be deducted for tax. Be sure to indicate that you wish to claim the tax-free threshold when you provide your employer with your tax file number.

  • Superannuation: Your employer may be required to contribute some of your pay into superannuation. To find out how to claim back your super once you leave Australia (if you are a temporary resident) check this page on the Tax Office website.

3. Check your insurance

As you transition from student to worker, you’ll need to change from student health insurance to overseas working visitor’s health insurance to make sure you meet your new visa requirements. Fortunately, nib can help you make the seamless transition. Contact us now and one of our experienced team members can arrange the switch for you.

Although beginning work after graduation can be a daunting prospect for any student, it can be even trickier for international students with the extra paperwork and visa requirements to deal with. The good news is that once you know your rights and have complied with the legal obligations, you can rest assured you’ll receive fair pay and employment conditions - and that makes work a whole lot more enjoyable!