Today, we are going to provide you with some basic introductions into working in Australia, such as visas, salary, tax, working hours, holidays, how to get a job in Australia, and more.
The information is general and it's not legal advice.
Get a Visa with Work Rights
Ensure you have a valid visa that allows you to work. Note that visitor visas generally do not grant work rights. Many Australian visas do permit you to work with some having restrictions on the number of hours to work. For example, a student visa currently only allows you to work for 48 hours per fortnight in most cases.
Use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) to check when your visa expires and what conditions your visa has in terms of work rights.
Tax File Number (TFN)
To work in Australia, obtaining a Tax File Number (TFN) is crucial. Your TFN is your number for dealings with the Australian Tax Office. Without it, the tax office may withhold your tax at a higher rate, which is approximately 50%.
Full-Time, Part-Time, and Casual jobs
Understand the nuances of full-time, part-time, and casual employment. Each comes with its own set of benefits and conditions.
- Full-time employees work 38 hours per week with benefits like paid annual leave and sick leave.
- Part-time employees work regular hours but less than full-time, with benefits on a pro-rata basis.
- Casual employees have irregular hours, no paid sick days or annual leave, and can be terminated at any time.
Awards and Minimum Salary
Many occupations have awards that dictate the minimum pay and conditions for that job. You can check for awards on the Fair Work website. You can also call Fair Work if you are confused by the many different awards and classifications. And I certainly do call fair work fairly regularly because it's a very complicated system.
Some jobs do not have a relevant award. They are covered by the national minimum wage, which is currently $23.23 per hour, starting from the 1st of July 2023. This amount has annual updates.
Employees must be paid at least monthly, with most employers paying fortnightly or weekly.
All employees, regardless of employment type (Full-time, Part-Time, and Casual), are eligible for the super guarantee. Currently at 11%, super must be paid by your employer. Accessible between ages 55 to 60, it's designed to support you in your later years.
Visa holders can claim their super if exiting Australia permanently.
In certain circumstances, independent contractors may not be required to be paid super, but if an independent contractor is being paid mainly for providing labor, they may be entitled to super. Check with Fair Work Australia to determine the entitlement.
A lunch or dinner break in Australia can vary from 30 minutes to one hour depending on your agreement with your employer or relevant award.
If you work on a tax-taxable number, you should be entitled to having a break before plating six consecutive hours of work.
Full-time and part-time employees get four weeks of annual leave based on their ordinary hours of work.
Public holidays can vary depending on your state and territory, with potential benefits like extra pay or pay on your day off on a public holiday.
Paid sick leave
Full-time employees are entitled to ten sick days per year. The leave is pro rata for part-time employees as unused leave can be carried over. Casual employees don't get paid sick days.
Probation periods typically last for 3 to 6 months and are determined by the employer when you start working and should be in your contract.
Who can I ask when I've got questions about working in Australia?
You can contact Fair Work Australia.
What if I've been underpaid or exploited on a visa?
You can contact Fair Work Australia. Additionally, you can report the employer to the Australian Border Force, and the employer may face fines, sponsorship bars, cancellation of sponsorship, and even criminal liability.
If you haven't been paid properly or have been exploited, you might also want to consider contacting an employment lawyer. Reach out to the Law Society in your state or territory to obtain details of employment lawyers.
Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory
Law Society of New South Wales
Law Society of the Northern Territory
Queensland Law Society
Law Society of South Australia
Law Society of Tasmania
Law Society of Victoria
Law Society of Western Australia
Do I need a degree or English test result to work in Australia?
You don't need a degree or an English test result to work in Australia. Many professions require only experience or technical qualifications. However, having more experience, qualifications, and higher English proficiency can lead to better job opportunities in Australia. Some occupations, like being a registered nurse, have a minimum English requirement for registration.
Nevertheless, English test results are often necessary when applying for skilled work visas.
For 482 visas:
- Short-term stream: IELTS 5.0 with a score of at least 4.5 in each of the test components or PTE of at least 36 with a score of at least 30 in each of the test components.
- Medium-term stream: IELTS 5.0 with a score of at least 5 in each of the test components or PTE of at least 36 with a score of at least 36 in each of the test components.
For visas such as 189, 190, and 491, competent English is required, which means achieving IELTS 7.0 or PTE 50.
ABN (Australian Business Number)
You can do work in Australia with an ABN which is an Australian Business Number used for business dealings. The ABN doesn't give you the benefits of a tax file number. Getting an ABN is free, and you can make a running application through the ATO.
You can apply for an ABN and it makes running your business easier.
To determine whether you require an ABN or TFN. It all depends on the job you are doing. If you are operating a business, you require an ABN, but if you're an employee then you will need a Tax File Number. You can apply for both a TFN and an ABN online, and you can have both simultaneously.
There is also a business called ABN Australia, which could help.
At the end of each financial year, declare your tax return. The government reviews it to ensure correct tax payments. If you've overpaid tax, you might receive a tax return.
How can you find work in Australia?
You can also directly contact employers depending on your profession. Networking is also a fantastic way to get a job in Australia.
Need Help Applying for a Work Visa?
Work Visa Lawyers can assist you in applying for a visa with work rights. As one of Australia's largest immigration law firms, our professional team can guide you through the process.
Based in Adelaide South Australia, we provide Australian Immigration advice to people and businesses from all over the world.
You can book an appointment online or call us at (+61) 8 8351 9956.