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An open letter to international students from the Fair Work Ombudsman

September 28, 2017 by Curtin CEL Team

An open letter to international students from the Fair Work Ombudsman

If you’re studying and working in Australia you may wonder what workplace rights you have. Natalie James from the Fair Work Ombudsman has recently written an open letter to all international students in Australia to set the record straight. The letter is also available to read in both Chinese and Vietnamese via the Fair Work website:

Do you know that international students have the same workplace rights as all other workers in Australia?

My name is Natalie James, and I am the Fair Work Ombudsman. The Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman is a government agency that can provide free help to international students working in Australia.

You may have a part-time or casual job while you study in Australia. Depending on the job, most people should be paid at least $18.29/hour; and over $22.86/hour if you are a casual employee. You may be entitled to even more than this depending on the industry you work in, or if penalty rates apply to your shifts. If you need help checking your pay rate, or if you have concerns with your hours of work, please contact us or use our Pay Calculator.

I encourage you to visit our website to get informed and, if you are unsure, seek our help. We have information about work entitlements in multiple languages. We also have an App called ‘Record My Hours’ for your smartphone that records your hours of work for you. It’s available for both Apple and Android phones.

If there’s a problem with your pay or if other issues arise at your work, I encourage you to speak to us. Under an arrangement with the Department of Immigration Border Protection and my agency we can offer you some protections even if you’re in breach of your visa conditions.

“International students have the same rights as all workers in Australia.”

We help international students like you every day. So call our Infoline on 13 13 94 or call 13 14 50 for our Translating and Interpreting Service. If you have an issue at work but don’t want to tell us who you are, you can tell us anonymously through our website in English or in one of 16 other languages.

Protections exist for all workers and you can’t be paid below the minimum pay rates. Please seek our help if you think something doesn’t seem right.

Natalie James

The Fair Work Ombudsman
Facebook –
Twitter – @fairwork_gov_au
Natalie James – @NatJamesFWO
YouTube  –

Curtin’s international students are reminded that the Careers, Employment and Leadership team is available to support them. We host Workplace Rights & Responsibilities workshops throughout the year, or you can complete an online module on the subject via Curtin Challenge. Our support also includes online job application reviews, drop in support, our international jobs board Global Careers, and country by country career guides via GoinGlobal.

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