General information about working in Australia

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General information about working in Australia

If you want to work while you are traveling in Australia, you may be able to do this if you meet certain requirements and are from one of the eligible countries.

You will also need an appropriate working visa if you want to be paid for work. If you don't have the appropriate visa and you get caught working for money, you can be expelled from the country and put on a banned list for several years to prevent you from returning.


Types of employmentTypes of employment

Work and Holiday visa holders are permitted to do any kind of work of a temporary or casual nature. Common types of jobs backpackers usually do while they are in Australia include:

  • Working in backpacker hostels

  • Labouring

  • Building and construction

  • Hospitality work such as bar tendering, waiters and kitchen hand

  • Nanny work, Au Pair

  • Collecting for charities

  • Casual teaching (for qualified teachers)

  • Nursing (for qualified nurses)

  • Secretarial and data entry positions

  • Cleaning

  • Fruit picking/harvesting work


Job regionsRegions where backpackers generally find employment

Jobs could be available anywhere in Australia, but most employment for backpackers tends to occur in:

  • Capital cities - Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Darwin, Hobart, Canberra.

  • Major tourist destinations such as Cairns, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Whitsunday Islands, Byron Bay, New South Wales and Victorian ski resorts, Alice Springs, Broome and other smaller resort towns.

  • Popular places for fruit picking and harvesting work (refer fruit picking/harvest work section of this website).


RegistrationRegistration & licensing

If you intend to work in your occupation in Australia, you should be aware that registration or licensing might be required. This applies particularly to the health professions and the construction sector. You should contact the relevant assessing body to ascertain if you need to obtain registration or licensing in Australia.

Certain occupations may require workers to undertake health and character checks as well as registration, such as jobs that involve working with children.

Jobs on a construction site require occupational safety training. For further information contact the relevant State or Territory safety authority.

Australian Skills Recognition Information (ASRI)

© Commonwealth of Australia 2006, Department of Immigration and Citizenship


Employer obligationsEmployer obligations

People working in Australia on a Working Holiday visa are entitled to the same pay and work conditions as Australian residents and citizens. There are a number of obligations that employers in Australia must be willing and able to meet.

Employers must:

  • Ensure that the employee is paid the salary specified for the nominated position.

  • Deduct and make tax payments for the employee while employed by the business.

  • Make superannuation contributions for the employee while employed by the business.

  • Comply with all relevant workplace relations laws and any employee workplace agreements.

  • Ensure that the employee holds any license, registration or membership that is mandatory for the performance of their work.

  • Comply with responsibilities under Australian immigration laws.

  • Not employ a person who would be breaking Australian immigration laws by being employed.

Note: The employer must be lawfully operating a business that is actually and actively engaged in business activities.

Example: A business that exists on paper only (for example, a shelf company) is not acceptable.

© Commonwealth of Australia 2006, Department of Immigration and Citizenship


Work conditionsWorking conditions

Australian law sets pay rates and conditions of employment, which cannot be undercut through informal agreements or unregistered contracts. If you have concerns about your pay and conditions, you can contact Fair Work Online or the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).


Fair Work Online

Department Employment

© Commonwealth of Australia 2006, Department of Immigration and Citizenship