Work Rights

We find that many international students do not know the amount of money they are entitled to as an employee in Australia. The national minimum wage is currently $18.29 per hour (before tax)[as at July 2017]. If you are a casual employee, you also get at least a 25% casual loading. Check your agreement with your employer to see if you are also entitled to extra pay on public holidays, or an extra day off if you work on a public holiday. If you aren’t receiving fair wages, you have the right to make a complaint to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

For more information on your work place rights, check out the Fair Work Ombudsman factsheet for international students: Fairwork Ombudsman – International Students

Talk with the SRC caseworkers or lawyers if you think this fits your circumstances by calling (02) 9660 5222 for an appointment or emailing help@src.usyd.edu.au.

It is also important to know that joining a union can ensure you receive fair wages and in fact higher wages. Everyone has a legal right to join a union, including international students. Unions make sure that if your employer creates changes, these can be negotiated rather than forced on you. Unions can also give you advice and representation if you have issues with your employer.

Being Your Own Employer

Did you know that if you work for services like Deliveroo, Foodora, Uber, Uber Eats, or other similar delivery services, you are considered a contractor for tax purposes? This means you are considered to be your own employer ( not an employee) and you need to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) with the Australian Tax Office. Any payments you receive while working with these companies are considered income and must be declared on your tax return. Applying for an ABN is free via the Australian Business Register website: Australian Business Register – Applying for an ABN.

Note; tax law works differently for ridesharing than it does for people delivering food. If you are an Uber driver, you need to also register for Goods and Services Tax (GST). If you only deliver food and earn less than $75000, you do not have to register for GST (but you must have an ABN).

Income Tax refunds

If you worked in Australia and had income tax deducted from your wages, make sure you apply for an income tax refund before you leave Australia by lodging a Tax Return. You can also apply for a refund if you’ve had tax withheld on bank account interest because you didn’t supply your bank with your Tax File Number.


Important Notice and Disclaimer: This information does not constitute Legal advice. Seek qualified professional advice before making decisions about educational, financial, migration or legal matters. This information can change from time to time. Check for the most up to date information.

Information current as at February 2018