Where to go for legal help as an international student

Did you know that international students are protected by Australian law? Below are some useful resources* that will help you understand your entitlements.

Written by Editor Medibank

*    This resource is intended to provide general information and a list of external resources to international students. While we’ve prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee it’s accurate, complete, or up to date.  And while we may mention services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them. This information is not intended to constitute legal advice. Please seek legal advice if necessary.

Australia has strong protections for its citizens that cover every aspect of day-to-day life. These laws and regulations protect international students, too. 

Here’s some useful information.

Tenant issues (rental issues)

If you rent accommodation in Australia, your landlord must follow certain rules. Generally, you cannot be evicted at short notice and your landlord cannot enter the premises without warning. 

However, tenant rights vary in each Australian state and territory. You can learn about how your rights vary in different parts of the country by visiting the Tenants Union ACT online. 

Workers' issues

International students have the same rights at work as Australian citizens (please also check your visa conditions).

Employers are not allowed to treat you differently because you are an international student. For example, an employer cannot pay you less than your Australian colleagues or provide you with fewer benefits (e.g., superannuation). 

If you believe your rights have been violated, you can speak to the Fair Work Ombudsman or visit the Department of Home Affairs for more information.

Visa conditions

A visa can only be cancelled by the Minister for the Department of Home Affairs, or their authorised delegates. Employers and landlords cannot cancel your visa.

Although visa holders have the same basic rights as Australian citizens, your visa will have conditions attached, for example, the number of hours you are entitled to work per fortnight. Ensure you are familiar with your visa conditions. 

Changing your course may impact your visa, so make sure you get advice from the Department of Home Affairs or your education provider before switching.

It’s a good idea to visit the Department of Home Affairs website for further information on visa conditions.

24/7 Student Health and Support

If you’re a member with Medibank OSHC or ahm OSHC, you can also phone the 24/7 Student Health and Support Line for emergency legal support. Where you require emergency legal assistance, you can be connected you to a lawyer or expert in the relevant area of law. For example, help with landlord issues, infringements, rental agreements and more.

24/7 Student Health and Support Line

Need support? Medibank Overseas Student Health Cover members can call anytime for health advice from a registered nurse, counselling services, emergency legal advice, travel document assistance, interpreter service and more.

Written by Editor Medibank

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