Visa holders & migrants
Find out what visa holders and migrants need to know before they start working in Australia.
Visit our Language help page for workplace information translated into a variety of languages.
If you need an interpreter when contacting us or the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.
Working in Australia
All workers are entitled to Australia's minimum pay and entitlements, including workers who are on a visa. We work together with the DIBP to help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities when working in Australia.
Check your visa
If you’re here on a visa, make sure your visa allows you to work in Australia and check for any conditions like the number of hours you are able to work.
Your employer can’t cancel your visa, even if you've breached it. Only the DIBP can grant, refuse or cancel visas. When temporary visa holders with an attached work entitlement may have been exploited and are actively helping us in an investigation, we’ve agreed with DIBP that those individuals will not generally have their visa cancelled. Find out more below about our agreement with DIBP and about getting our help with pay and entitlements.
The DIBP can give you information about:
- which visa to apply for
- your rights and obligations under a visa
- how to change your visa (eg. change your sponsor)
- how to cancel your visa
- how to apply for permanent residency.
For help with visas contact the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
Get a Tax File Number
To get paid correctly you’ll need a Tax File Number (TFN). You need to give your employer your TFN so you don't pay the highest rate of tax.
To apply for a TFN, visit the Australian Taxation Office website.
Know your workplace rights
For a brief overview of your workplace rights and entitlements, download a fact sheet:
From 14 December 2015 a 'paying for visa sponsorship framework' was introduced. The framework has been set up to prevent a person from asking for, receiving, offering or providing a benefit in return for visa sponsorship or employment that requires visa sponsorship. To find out more about the framework and related penalties, visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
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If your visa allows, you may get a part time or casual job to help pay for your living expenses while you study in Australia. It’s important to know your rights in the workplace.
For an overview of your basic rights in the workplace, download our International students fact sheet.
Learn more about your rights and responsibilities regarding:
People from the Pacific region and Timor-Leste can work in Australia in certain industries as seasonal workers. To find out more visit the Seasonal Worker Programme.
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Minimum wages and conditions in Australia
Everyone working in Australia is entitled to basic rights and protections in the workplace.
All employees in the national workplace relations system are covered by the 10 minimum entitlements of the National Employment Standards:
Minimum wages and other conditions for your job may be contained in an award, registered agreement and/or an employment contract.
Ask your employer or visit our Awards and agreements page to find out what your job is covered by.
Learn more about Employment contracts.
Find out about Pay including:
Your employer should give you a pay slip every time you’re paid. Visit our Pay slips page to find out what should be on it.
You can also record your hours of work easily with our Record my hours app.
Find out about Leave including:
Find out about other Employee entitlements including:
Find out what happens if you’re Ending employment:
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Workplace health and safety
Your employer must make sure your workplace is safe. They have to give you safe equipment, safe ways of working, supervision and training so you know how to work safely.
You must follow your employer’s workplace health and safety rules and tell them if you need more training. Tell your employer immediately if you find safety problems at your workplace.
What to do if your workplace is not safe
If you think your employer is not providing a safe workplace, contact your local workplace health and safety body for help. To find your local workplace health and safety body visit our Related sites page.
What to do if you’re injured at work
If you’re injured at work, or get sick because of your work, you could be paid workers’ compensation payments, as well as have your medical expenses covered. To find out who to contact for help, go to our Workers’ compensation page.
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Where to get help
Help with pay and entitlements
All workers are entitled to Australia’s minimum pay and entitlements, including workers who are on a visa. This applies even if they’ve breached their visa.
We encourage anyone with information or evidence of worker exploitation to Contact us. We understand that sometimes this can be difficult for migrant workers and other vulnerable workers.
We’ve set up an arrangement with DIBP to support and encourage migrant workers to come forward to request our assistance and provide us any evidence or information about exploitation. This will help us to better understand the issues faced by visa holders and migrant workers so that we can better educate employers and employees about entitlements and obligations.
We’ve come to an agreement with DIBP that a person’s temporary visa will not be cancelled if they:
- had an entitlement to work as part of their visa
- believe they have been exploited at work
- have reported their circumstances to us
- are actively assisting us in an investigation.
This applies as long as:
- they commit to abiding by visa conditions in the future
- there is no other basis for visa cancellation (such as on national security, character, health or fraud grounds).
For temporary visa holders who don’t have work entitlements attached to their visa, DIBP will consider the case on its merits.
If you think your employer has made a mistake with your pay or entitlements, visit Help resolving workplace issues. This page will give you practical steps on how to fix the problem.
Read more about Workplace rights for all visa holders working in Australia on the DIBP website.
Help with discrimination issues
It's illegal for an employer to discriminate against you because of your race, religion or national extraction.
Find out more about Protection from discrimination at work.
It's also illegal to treat people unfairly on the basis of their race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin in other areas of public life. Find out more about racial discrimination at the Australian Human Rights Commission's website .
Help with visa issues
If you think your employer isn't following the rules of your visa or is engaging in 'paying for visa sponsorship' activity you should contact the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
If you need an interpreter when contacting Department of Immigration and Border Protection or us, phone the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.
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Subclass 457 visa monitoring
We work with the DIBP to monitor certain subclass 457 visa arrangements. Our Fair Work Inspectors have been appointed as Migration Inspectors.
We check that 457 visa holders:
- are being paid the market rate specified in their approved visa
- are doing work which matches the job title and description approved in their visa.
We also make sure that employers who sponsor 457 visa holders are cooperating with us and DIBP so that we can monitor the arrangements effectively.
The information we collect is passed on to DIBP for further investigation and enforcement, as required.
It’s not our role to respond directly to complaints about subclass 457 visas. For complaints and more information about 457 visas, contact the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
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