International Student Services

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Reconciliation Week

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) has been held in Australia every year between May 27 and June 3 since 1996. It provides the opportunity for all Australians to reflect on the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

May - Jun

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Working in Australia

If you are after some extra cash or would like to gain some work experience, you might wish to find a job while studying in Australia. Your work rights depend on your visa type and you should always refer to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) for up to date information specific to your visa.

In general, your student visa allows you to work up to 40 hours per fortnight during the academic year and full-time during official university semester breaks. If you work more hours than this, you will be in breach of visa conditions and your visa may be cancelled.

If you are a full-time research degree student it is recommended you work only up to 8 hours per week, or for a total of the equivalent of 8 hours per week over a twelve month period.

Find more information about your right to work in the FAQs below. For information on the new permission to work arrangements for student visa holders, please refer to the DIBP website.

Tax file number

Before you work in Australia you will need to be issued with a Tax File Number (TFN) from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Find more information in the FAQs below, or from the ATO.

Find a job

Explore UniSA Careers, where you will find great services and resources to help you find work. And before you start work in Australia it’s good to understand your rights. For more information about salary and working conditions in Australia refer to the Fair Work Ombudsman.


Frequently Asked Questions


If I am eligible, how many hours may I work?

You may work in a paid or voluntary capacity for up to 40 hours per fortnight during teaching times (when your course is in session) and unlimited hours during scheduled university breaks. If you work more hours than this, you will be in breach of visa conditions and your visa may be cancelled. This rule applies to paid and voluntary work.

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How many hours should I work if I am a Higher Degree Research (HDR) Student?

If you are a Higher Degree Research (HDR) student on a 574 visa, you will be able to work an unlimited amount of hours once your program of study or course has commenced. However, the University's Research Degrees Committee recommends that full-time research degree students undertake paid employment for no more than 8 hours per week or for a total of the equivalent of 8 hours per week over a twelve month period. The hours of employment include marking and preparation associated with part-time teaching duties.

  • Research degree students will require the approval of the University through their supervisor and, where hours exceed the recommended 8 hours, approval must also be provided by the relevant Dean Research. HDR students shall notify the Graduate Research Centre (GRC) of any work undertaken and any change in employment details.
  • Employment cannot be grounds for an extension to scholarship or application to go overtime.
  • The University may not require HDR students to undertake employment at the institution.

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Are my dependents eligible to work?

If you were issued with a student visa, you will have permission to work included in your visa which will apply to any family members travelling with you on your student visa.

Dependents (or family members) are not allowed to work until you, as a student, have begun your program and course sessions. Your dependents may not work more than 40 hours per fortnight at all times. If you have started a masters or doctorate program, your dependent (or family member) may work unlimited hours.

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Do I need to show my employer my work right entitlements?

No. Your visa information is held electronically by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and you can access it at any time using the Visa Entitlement verification (VEVO) system. Employers, banks and government services can also check details about your visa entitlements on VEVO once they have your consent to do so.

It is important that you advise any potential employer of your visa status so that they can complete a VEVO check and verify your visa entitlements before you commence work.

Information on how to access VEVO

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Where can I go for more information?

Questions can be directed to Campus Central on your home campus

If you have concerns about any employment related issues such as your rights and obligations in the workplace, please contact the Young Workers Legal Service. The service is located at 46 Greenhill Road, Wayville SA 5034, (08) 8279 2233, ywls@saunions.org.au.


The Young Workers Legal Service provides confidential and free advice to young workers in a range of areas including:

  • Unfair dismissal
  • Workers Compensation
  • Underpayment of wages equal opportunity/discrimination
  • Trainee and apprenticeship issues and
  • Workplace dispute resolution.

The following web resources may also be of interest:

For more information on part-time work while studying and working in Australia please visit Careers.

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What is a Tax File Number?

A Tax File Number (TFN) is a unique number issued to you by the Australian Taxation Office to administer tax and other Australian Government systems. It is one of your most important forms of identification in Australia. Your TFN is valuable. Don't share it with friends and do not provide it on the internet when applying for work. Keep it secure.

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Why do I need a Tax File Number?

A TFN is not compulsory. However, if you intend to keep money in a bank account, it would be to your advantage to have a TFN, because you may be required to pay tax on the interest. Similarly, if you intend working in paid employment, you need to have a TFN, because your employer is required to deduct income tax from your wages. If you do not have a TFN, you may:

  • pay more tax than necessary, or
  • not be able to get government benefits you are entitled to receive.

A TFN will help you:

  • lodge a tax return
  • ask the Tax Office about your tax affairs
  • start or change jobs
  • limit the amount of tax you pay on interest of dividends earned if you have savings accounts or
  • investments that earn income.

For further information visit the Australian Taxation Office website or telephone 13 28 61 between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday.

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Is any of the money I pay in taxes refundable?

In Australia, you are required to lodge an annual taxation return at the end of each financial year. The financial year runs from 1 July to 30 June. Taxation returns must be lodged by 31 October. Your taxation obligation will be calculated by the Australian Taxation Office. If you have paid less than the appropriate amount, you will receive an invoice for the balance. If you have paid more than the appropriate amount, you will receive a refund.

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Who else needs to know my Tax File Number?

Your financial institution (bank, credit union, etc.) needs to know your TFN. You may also inform your employer of your TFN.

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Do I need to apply for a Tax File Number each year?

No. The TFN is a unique number. Once it is issued to you, it will remain with you always. As it is yours for life, you must keep it secure to protect against identity theft.

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May I work in paid employment without a Tax File Number?

Yes, however, without a TFN, tax will be deducted from your income at the maximum rate. You can claim this back later once you submit a tax return, but it is more convenient to have a TFN and have the correct amount deducted from the start. It is illegal to work in paid employment without paying income tax. Your employer is legally required to deduct the appropriate amount of tax from your salary and to forward this to the Australian Taxation Office.

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How do I apply for my Tax File Number?

Complete an application form and take it, with your passport, to the Australian Taxation Office, 26 Franklin Street, Adelaide. Application forms are available from Campus Central on your campus.

Alternatively, you may apply online for a TFN after you arrive in Australia from the Australian Taxation Office website and completing an Online Tax File number (TFN) application. When applying online, you do not have to provide proof of your identity.

Applying for a TFN using false or other people's identity details, or misusing your TFN, can have legal consequences and may mean heavy fines or jail.

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When will I receive my Tax File Number?

You will receive your TFN by mail within 28 days. TFNs are not given out by telephone for reasons of confidentiality.

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Do I need to lodge a tax return for each financial year?

For answers to frequently asked questions about tax including information and help with lodging your income tax return please visit the Australian Taxation Office website.

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