Cairns has many part-time job opportunities for students who wish to support themselves during their stay in Australia. If you are interested in working, there are several things you should know before you start looking for a job.

Work permission

As a student visa holder, you may work for up to 40 hours per fortnight (outside of school hours) and you don’t need to apply for work permission. More information on visas can be found here.

Tax File Number (TFN)

If you are on a student visa or working holiday visa you are eligible to find work and will need to apply for a TFN for taxation purposes. If you do start work before you get your TFN, you have 28 days to provide your TFN to your employer. Without a TFN you may have more tax withheld than necessary.

Apply for a TFN online with the Australian Taxation Office.

When you stop work, ask your employer for a payment summary (this shows your total income and tax withheld), as you will need this to complete your tax return. You must lodge a tax return before you leave Australia.

For more information please contact us .

Wages and conditions

While wages may vary between workplaces, you can expect to receive anywhere from AU$12 – AU$20 per hour. Most companies pay wages every fortnight. Australian law dictates that you are paid a fair minimum wage.

If you would like more information on fair wages and conditions visit

Where to find work

Your level of English and your availability as you study will affect which jobs will be appropriate for you. Many students secure employment in the hospitality and service industries, for example, as a waitress/waiter, shop attendant, kitchen hand or cleaner.  These industries have a high turnover of staff (resulting in frequent job vacancies); do not always require a high level of English; and offer flexible working hours.

Check out the following places for job advertisements:

  1. The Cairns Post – Wednesday and Saturday
  2. Living Cairns (Japanese) –  print or online
  3. Job seeker websites
  8. Notice boards in shopping centres
  9. Approach local businesses directly
  10. Ask other students

Leave of absence

A leave of absence is only permitted on the following grounds:

  • Illness with evidence of medical certificate, or
  • Exceptional compassionate circumstances, for example, bereavement (death in family)
  • Cancellation of enrolment: If you cancel your enrolment you must leave Australia within 4 weeks or contact DIMIA to discuss visa options. Note that cancellation of your enrolment will result in cancellation of your visa.

Please contact CLC for more information regarding your visa conditions.

Academic progress

Some visa conditions require that you complete your course of study within ‘minimum standard time’. This is usually the period issued on your visa. If you are unsure about your progress or are having difficulties with any of your subjects, you should contact the Director of Studies. The sooner you seek help, the more likely you will avoid problems with your visa. You are entitled to appeal against any academic assessment you receive, and Cairns Language Centre can help you do so.


Attendance records are taken in all courses. You must let your teacher, or our International Student Office know if you need to miss classes due to sickness or other exceptional circumstances. CLC has health and counselling services if you need them.

Notification of address & change of address

Notification details are stated in your visa. Check the details to avoid confusion. Condition 8533 requires that you notify your education provider (Cairns Language Centre administration) of your address in Australia within seven days. You are also required to notify the Department of Immigration Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMA) in writing of a new address two days before you move, according to Conditions 8506.

Also, if there are any problems with your visa the Department will send you a letter, and in some cases, you will only have 28 days to respond. If they do not hear from you within 28 days, they can automatically commence cancellation of your visa. Not receiving the information because you have moved is not considered an excuse.

If you go home during the semester break, make sure you notify the International Student Office at CLC. If you have problems with your visa you need to contact us as soon as possible for legal advice.