Working in Canberra

Use your knowledge and skills in Canberra, whatever your field of study. Many of our industries are hiring. It’s time to kick-start your brilliant career.

A centre for innovation

Canberrans love to collaborate. There’s easy access to government and industry leaders in science, research and education. Our city is a hotbed for innovation and business growth. Services that support this include:

Our focus on knowledge attracts an eclectic mix of leaders, innovative thinkers, Nobel Prize winners, artists and researchers. Multi-national corporations, keen to establish and grow their presence in Australia, choose to base here. More than 60% of our jobs, across more than 25,000 businesses, are with the private sector. We are also the base for many of Australia’s leading government agencies which are strongly connected with our educational institutions.

Just a short drive from Canberra, you’ll find the CSIRO’s Deep Space Communication Complex, run on behalf of NASA. Students gain hands-on experience as part of the country’s leading space and spatial sciences degrees.

Our city is also a hub for students studying health and sports sciences. Between our two largest universities, you’ll find the Australian Institute of Sport. It’s where many of our current and future star athletes train to compete on the world stage. Many students choose to stay in Canberra to work after graduation. Our key growth industries are hiring. These include:

Canberra’s key growth sectors include information technology and cyber security

Work while you study

If you’re after a casual job while you study or something more permanent, you’ll find great job options here.

Part-time and casual work

We have Australia’s lowest unemployment rate. Part-time jobs are easy to find if you choose to work while you study. It’s a great way to earn money to help with your living expenses. You’ll also get experience in an Australian workplace.

Students often fill many of our part-time and casual roles. If you work part-time, you’ll have regular working hours and days each week. Casual employees have shifts that might be different each week.

Most student visas allow international students to:

  • work for up to 40 hours every fortnight (two weeks) during course time
  • work for unrestricted hours during scheduled course breaks

Make sure your visa allows you to work. Learn more from the Department of Home Affairs.

Internships and work experience

Many of Australia’s leading government agencies and private companies call Canberra home. They have strong connections with our educational institutions. This means you’ll find a great mix of internship and work experience opportunities in public and private organisations.

Your education provider may offer internships as part of your studies. If not, you can directly approach an employer to ask for work experience. Internships can be a more formal arrangement. They’re sometimes paid. They may even give credit towards your studies. Both options give you an insight into your chosen industry and profession.

Services on and off campus can help you find internships and work experience related to your studies.

Volunteering

Volunteering is a great way to contribute to your community. You’ll meet new people and it will give you hands-on Australian work experience. You’re not paid for volunteer work.

There are a wide range of charities and non-government organisations that offer volunteer work for students. Canberra has the highest rate of volunteering in Australia.


After you graduate

Our graduates enjoy strong employment outcomes. We have Australia’s lowest unemployment rate and the highest average income.

Big things happen here in science, research, education, health, business, politics and the arts. You’ll find broad career options. The unique mix of prominent public and private organisations offers useful internship and work experience options for students.

Your rights at work

As an international student, you have the same workplace rights and protections as all Australian workers. This includes:

  • guaranteed minimum pay
  • protection from unfair treatment
  • access to rest periods
  • a safe working environment

For details about your rights and responsibilities as an employee in Australia, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Tax and superannuation

The tax department may regard you as an Australian resident if you study here for 6 months or more. You might pay tax depending on how much you earn.

If you give your employer a Tax File Number (TFN), you won’t have to pay as much tax. Getting a TFN is free.

The Australian financial year runs from 1 July to 30 June. If your job pays you during that period, you must lodge a tax return with the Australian Taxation Office. This happens at the end of the financial year.

Superannuation, or ‘super‘, is a form of compulsory saving for retirement in Australia. Your employer here may need to pay money into a super fund on your behalf.

If you leave Australia permanently, and you meet certain requirements, you may pay tax. You might also be eligible to claim your super back. Find out about the Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP) at the Australian Taxation Office.

Temporary Graduate visa

If you’ve finished your studies, you may be able to live and work in Canberra temporarily. You’ll need to apply for a Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485). Check your post-study work options with the Department of Home Affairs.

We classify Canberra as ‘regional’ for migration purposes. As an international graduate, you can access an extra year of work here if you meet the criteria set by Home Affairs. This option is open to Bachelor and Masters by coursework graduates. You’ll also find more pathways to permanent migration.

The Australian Department of Home Affairs has more details on regional migration. This includes your eligibility. You’ll also find information about temporary graduate visas.


Migration pathways

Create a future full of brilliant possibilities in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) by moving to Canberra permanently.

To stay in Australia longer term, you need to consider your visa options. The Department of Home Affairs lists the full range of visas. If you’ve finished your course, you may be able to claim points for regional study in the Home Affairs points test.

Contribute to Canberra through highly skilled employment or a strong commitment to our community, and the ACT may nominate you for a visa. There are two options:

  • Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa – permanent residence on visa grant.
  • Skilled Work Regional (provisional) subclass 491 visa program – a 5-year provisional visa.

You can learn more about ACT nomination and view the current guidelines here.

Consider using a registered migration agent if you need help with your ACT nomination or visa application. Only registered migration agents can legally give immigration help in Australia. Check the Register of Migration Agents.

PhD Graduates – Streamlined Nomination for Skilled Nominated (subclass190) Visa

If you’re an international PhD graduate and you wish to live here long term, you can apply for streamlined ACT nomination of your Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa. Streamlined nomination means priority processing and no fees.

Streamlined nomination is also available if you’re a Canberra PhD graduate who has moved interstate or overseas. Your PhD must be from a Canberra university within the last two years. If so, you can apply for ACT nomination of your Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa.

The guidelines for the streamlined PhD nomination are here.

Related Pages

Living in Canberra

Our modern and convenient city offers open spaces, along with vibrant entertainment options. See why we’re considered one of the best student cities in the world.

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Student Visas

The type of visa you’ll need will depend on what you are planning to study, how long you will be in Australia and other conditions.

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Study “perfectly aligns” with a full-time career

Brazil’s Paulo Vasconcelos is making the most of his PhD in Aerospace Engineering at the University of New South Wales (Canberra Campus).

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Interested in studying in Canberra?

Contact the Study Canberra team for information and advice