The national minimum wage in Australia is currently $22.33 per hour (before tax as at July 2022). If you are a casual employee, you also get at least a 25% casual loading. The Fair Work Ombudsman has an app to record your hours, to check you are correctly paid. Check your agreement with your employer to see you other conditions, and if you aren’t receiving fair wages, you have the right to make a complaint to the Fair Work Ombudsman.
If you work for services like Deliveroo, Uber, 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 may need to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN), available for free through the Australian Tax Office. Any payments you receive are considered income and must be declared on your tax return. Please note that tax law works differently for rideshare (e.g., Uber) than it does for people delivering food (e.g., Deliveroo). If you are rideshare driver, you may need to also register for Goods and Services Tax (GST). If you only deliver food and earn less than $75,000 per year, you do not have to register for GST (but you must have an ABN). Check these conditions with your tax consultant.
If you have worked in Australia and earned money, including tips and unrecorded wages, you will probably need to lodge an income tax return. Lodging a tax return allows you to pay the correct amount of tax and may consider work related deductions such as union fees, car expenses, and uniform cleaning allowances. If you have a “simple tax return” (earned less than $50,000 and were not self-employed), you can use the free ATO’s TaxHelp service. Others can consult an income tax consultant for help, however, their fees vary greatly, so check at the time of booking.
What is superannuation?
Superannuation is a way of saving for retirement. Your employer may have made legally required superannuation payments into a ‘super’ fund on your behalf if you earned more than $450 in the year. Because many international students are here on temporary visas and will not retire in Australia, you may be able to take your superannuation once you leave Australia permanently. This is called a Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP).
To claim the DASP your visa needs to be cancelled or expired, and you have left Australia. If your visa is still active, but you have left Australia you can apply to the Department of Home Affairs to have it cancelled. If you apply within six months of leaving Australia, you can submit your claim online or on paper. If you apply after more than six months, your superannuation fund will forward your money to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), where it will become “ATO-held money”. You can only claim this online. If you have more than one superannuation fund you will need to submit a separate claim for each one. Australian or New Zealand citizens, or permanent residents, are not eligible for the DASP.
You will normally receive an electronic funds transfer to an Australian bank account, within 28 days of your superannuation provider receiving all the required information. There may be some circumstances where you could receive your payment as a cheque or international money transfer.
Everyone has a legal right to join a union, including international students. Unions fight for better pay and conditions collectively, and provide free individual advice and advocacy through their professional industrial officers. Their fees are very affordable and tax deductible.
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 26 July 2022