Engaging with international


What opportunities can you provide?

Engaging international students and graduates is easier than you might think.


In fact, there are many options to discover new talent and provide students and graduates with valuable experience in the Australian workplace.



Mentoring is a great way to connect with international students to share your insights with the next generation of employees. It is also a valuable opportunity to reflect on your own experience and improve your leadership, communication and coaching skills.


Most universities and other education providers run mentoring programs for both local and international students. Contact the careers and employment office at your local education provider or university.

Work-integrated learning


Employers are increasingly looking for graduates with industry experience. Work-integrated learning (WIL) aims to build the capacity of Australia’s workforce, improve graduate job prospects and meet the skills needs of employers.


WIL combines academic learning with practical experience directly related to students’ course of study. It can include work placements such as internships, shadowing programs and practical projects with industry and community organisations.


Contact the careers and employment office at your local education provider to find out about opportunities for becoming a WIL host.



Internships are a great opportunity to provide students with hands-on experience in their area of study. They can be paid or unpaid depending on the industry and the length of placement.


Employers looking to engage with international students as part of an internship can do so, as long as students abide by the conditions of their student visa (subclass 500).


Many institutions have internship programs, so check with your local education provider. There are also private recruitment and internship placement firms that help international students find internships.

Unpaid internships


Employers can offer unpaid internships if the placement is a formal part of the student’s course or training program, such as a Professional Year Program or a Vocational Education and Training (VET) course.


Students should not be engaged to perform ‘productive’ work that would otherwise be done by a paid employee. The main beneficiary should be the person undertaking the placement, rather than the employer.


Most universities and other education providers run mentoring programs for both local and international students. Contact the careers and employment office at your local education provider or university.

Part-time and casual work


International students are eligible to work for up to 40 hours per fortnight during study periods, and unlimited hours during study breaks (as per the conditions of their student visa).


This not only supports their living expenses while in Australia, but provides them with valuable opportunities to enhance their English, gain experience in the workplace and become more involved with the local community.

Post-study work arrangements


Recent international graduates can apply for post-study work arrangements with the Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485) scheme. Graduates can gain valuable experience and showcase their skills in the Australian workplace for 2–4 years, depending on their highest educational qualification:


  • Bachelor / masters by coursework – Two years
  • Masters by research – Three years
  • Doctoral degree – Four years


There are no costs for employers when recruiting applicants who hold these visas.

Graduate programs/or other permanent, paid employment


Employers wanting to hire international graduates on a permanent basis can do so if the international student has permanent work rights.
If they don’t yet have permanent work rights, you may offer employment on a fixed-term basis commensurate with the length of the international student’s visa, until they obtain permanent work rights.

Employer sponsorship

When there is a genuine and systemic shortage of skilled workers, and there are no suitably qualified Australian workers available, eligible employers may consider options that involve either temporary or permanent sponsorship. There are also concessions for regional employers to help supply their skill needs.


These options can be explored especially when graduates are unable to obtain a permanent visa on their own, after working for the employer part-time or full-time, under other visa categories that have full work rights such as a student visa, temporary graduate visa or bridging visa.


​If you are an Australian employer and want to employ a foreign national, it is important that you become familiar with Australia’s obligations.

State (or Territory) sponsorship


Some state and territory governments sponsor international candidates to help fill skills shortages. These schemes are not designed to displace local Australians or push wages down by undercutting local labour market, but to support employers in regions where the required skillsets are in short supply. Find out more at:

> Northern Territory
> Queensland
> South Australia
> Tasmania
> Victoria

This page provides general information about providing workplace experience and employment opportunities for international students/graduates. It does not constitute legal or migration advice. Check the weblinks provided for up-to-date information and seek legal or migration advice from a lawyer or registered migration agent.
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The material contained on this website has been developed by the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) with the support of Australian Government’s Enabling Growth and Innovation program. The views and opinions expressed in the materials do not necessarily reflect the views of or have the endorsement of the Australian Government or of any Minister, or indicate the Australian Government’s commitment to a particular course of action.