Visa holders & migrants
Migrant workers and visa holders, including international students, have the same workplace rights as all other workers in Australia. We provide free advice and assistance to all workers to help them understand these rights.
Myth: The minimum wage doesn’t apply to people from overseas
Fact: Overseas workers in Australia are entitled to the same minimum pay rates, conditions and workplace rights as Australian workers.
The first step to avoiding exploitation is to know your entitlements and how to seek help if something’s wrong.
Find out what you need to know about working in Australia.
If you're having an issue at work, you can contact us anonymously to help us keep workplaces fair. You can make an anonymous report to us in your language using our translated Anonymous report form in multiple languages.
Translated information is available in multiple languages in our Language help section. If you or someone you know needs an interpreter when contacting us or the Department of Home Affairs, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.
It's important to know the rules for your visa. Your visa may limit the type of work you can do in Australia. Some visas have rules about how many hours you can work (eg. international students), or what job you can do (eg. a seasonal worker).
The Department of Home Affairs can give you information about:
- which visa to apply for
- your rights and responsibilities under a visa
- how to change and cancel your visa
- how to apply for permanent residency.
Visa holders can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) to check current visa details and conditions or contact the Department of Home Affairs for more help.
Your employer can't cancel your visa, even if it's been breached. Only the Department of Home Affairs can grant, refuse or cancel visas. We've set up an arrangement with the Department of Home Affairs to support and encourage migrant workers to come forward to request our assistance and provide us with 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 educate employers and employees about entitlements and obligations.
We've come to an agreement with the Department of Home Affairs 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, the Department of Home Affairs will consider the case on its merits.
Read more about Workplace rights for all visa holders working in Australia on the Department of Home Affairs website .
Paying for visa sponsorship
It is illegal for someone to ask for, receive, offer or provide a benefit in return for visa sponsorship or employment that requires visa sponsorship. This is called 'paying for visa sponsorship.' Examples of this include:
- an employer makes someone pay them money in exchange for sponsoring them on a 457 visa
- an employer makes someone pay back some of their pay each week in exchange for a visa.
If you think your employer is engaging in 'paying for visa sponsorship' activity you can contact the Department of Home Affairs .
It could also be a 'cashback' scheme or an unreasonable requirement to pay money. Read more about this on our Deducting page and overpayments page. You can Contact us about deductions, cashback schemes or if an employer is asking for payment of any kind as a condition of a job offer.
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 page.
Pay and conditions
There are minimum pay rates that employees have to be paid, based on the work they do. Use our Pay Calculator to find out the minimum pay rates for your job.
Employees also have other minimum conditions at work. These are set out either in an Award or agreement, or come from the National Employment Standards.
If you're here on a 457 visa, your employer can't pay you in cash. Your minimum pay rates need to be paid by electronic funds transfer or cheque. For more information read our fact sheet on 457-workplace rights and entitlements.
A payslip needs to be provided each time an employee gets paid. Visit our Pay slips page to find out what should be on a pay slip.
Watch our short video for information about Working in Australia.
Case study: Jessica's story
International students can come to us for help if they're having workplace issues, without fear of their visa being cancelled.
Read Jessica's story (DOCX 129.1KB) (PDF 439.1KB) to see how we can help you sort out workplace issues to do with your pay and conditions.
Visit our Language help page for information in multiple different languages to help you understand what your rights are when working in Australia.
Tax and superannuation
The minimum pay rate is the gross pay (the amount of pay before tax is taken out). The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) gives advice about tax and superannuation. You need to give your employer your Tax File Number (TFN) so that they do not have to take the highest rate of tax from your pay. For more information about tax, visit the ATO website .
If you're a temporary resident working in Australia, your employer may also have to pay super for you. Find out more about Super for temporary residents leaving Australia on the ATO website .
You can keep track of the number of hours you've worked easily with our Record my hours app. This app is available in multiple languages.
Help with workplace issues
We are here to help you. An employee can't get into trouble or have their visa cancelled for contacting us to ask for information about their pay or other entitlements.
Tell us about your workplace issue by making an online enquiry in My account. If you already have an account with us, go to the enquiries form now.
Don't have an account yet? Register for My account now.
If you think your employer has made a mistake with your pay or entitlements, visit Help resolving workplace issues for practical steps on how to fix the problem.
You can also contact us anonymously to help us keep workplaces fair. You can make a report in your language using our translated Anonymous report form, which is available in multiple languages.
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