One of the hardest things to do in University in general, let alone as an international student in Australia, is to get real world job experience. The rigors of full time university studies as well as the opportunity to explore amazing cities like Sydney and Melbourne are alluring, and there are a number of restrictions and requirements for students from overseas seeking employment in Australia.
As a student in Australia, your student visa permits you to work up to 20 hours while school is in session and full time during school breaks. Keep in mind that work cannot begin until after classes have begun though, even if you arrive a couple of months beforehand. Additionally, volunteer and unpaid work counts towards your 20 hour limit so it’s important to track these things carefully.
Permission to work can be acquired at the time of a student’s visa grant for both the student and any family members who will be traveling with the student. Again, this requires acceptance and enrolment at an Australia university before you can do anything. Once you have a job in Australia, you must also acquire a Tax File Number (TFN) and file a tax return each year.
The above option allows for any form of traditional employment while you are a student in Australia, but there are other more specific programs that allow you to gain additional experience while in the country.
One of those programs is the Professional Year Program. This program lasts for 44 weeks and allows you to earn credit toward your degree as you build on your overall soft skills in the workplace. The program also includes a three-month internship in your area of study which will further help you toward application of what you are learning in an active workplace in Australia. Eligibility for the program requires you to have Temporary Resident status with 10 months or more of validity, an IELTS certificate, and a Skill Assessment Certificate.
Your University’s guidance department can help you to prepare for and take the next step in joining this program if you are interested.
If you are interested in staying in Australia after you acquire your degree, there is a Visa program for this. Through the Graduate Visa 485, you can stay on and work full time in Australia for 2-4 years (depending on the type of degree you received). You’ll need to have completed a health assessment, police certificates and have current OSCH health insurance coverage at the time you submit your application. The coverage you need for this visa is different than when you were a student so you’ll need to change your coverage before applying.
If you are interested in working in Australia while you study or staying on after you graduate to continue working in the country, there are a number of options to do so. The key is to follow the procedures put in place and start networking early and often so you can find a position that best fits your interests and expertise.