Employment and career opportunities

The Queensland Government and Tourism Tropical North Queensland are offering you the chance to get paid to work and play in one of the most diverse and beautiful destinations on earth, Cairns & Great Barrier Reef – where summer never ends.

With a fun laidback lifestyle, a vibrant nightlife, pristine beaches, unique wildlife and a wide range of inspiring activities to keep even the most adventurous entertained.

The incentive begins on 1 July 2021 and applies to job seekers who start work from 20 May 2021. The program is open for 12 months but you need to apply as soon as possible, so jump in quickly.

You could qualify for a $1500 incentive and a $250 travel bonus. Eligible jobs include bartender, cook, kitchen-hand, tour guide, wait staff and chef. Australian residents and eligible international visa holders can apply – click on Register Your Interest above!

Study Cairns ‘Business Projects’ & ‘Launch U’ employability programs


Study Cairns CONNECTS provides globally-relevant 21st-century skills development for students in Cairns to enhance their employment prospects in Australia and abroad.

The Business Projects is a 3-week program where students work collaboratively to deliver a consulting project for a Government Agency, Corporate, Start-up or NGO. Student teams deliver real value for an Australian client while expanding their social connections and gaining project management and coordination skills. Learn more.

Launch U is powered by Study Queensland and the Queensland Government and gives students access to online and face-to-face experiences designed to develop their professional capabilities and workplace skills. Students log their own experiences or choose from the talent and employability experiences available in Queensland. Students will develop these skills and showcase their ability to future employers. Learn more.

Work in Cairns

Cairns offers attractive work opportunities across many industries, in particular the tourism, hospitality and retail sectors. With an international and domestic airport connecting Cairns with the rest of the world, the city is a dynamic regional hub that continues to grow.

Tourism is a significant industry in Tropical North Queensland with 2.4m visitors annually creating a strong employment demand. Employment opportunities abound in hotels and resorts, on cruise boats to the islands and Great Barrier Reef, at tourist attractions as well as complimentary businesses such as restaurants, bars, tour booking agents and retail outlets.

Agriculture is another strong industry in the Cairns region. Sugarcane plantations surround the city and the Atherton Tablelands, approx. one hour west of Cairns, is considered the area’s food bowl. Mango, banana, pineapple, avocado, macadamia and tea crops thrive in the hinterland, creating a need for seasonal harvest work.

The mining industry has a strong foothold in north Queensland too with national and global mining corporations represented in Cairns.

How to find work in Cairns

Before you start work it is important that you have an Australian visa that allows you to work (see below).

There are plenty of online job sites in Australia such as Seek, CareerOne and Jobsearch which allow you to search by location, job type or your skill set. The local newspaper The Cairns Post has a Job Vacancy classified section, with Saturday being the most popular day for job advertisements.

Contact the Cairns Local Job Program for employment opportunities.

Other options include recruitment agencies, notice boards at education institutions or by connecting with social media groups. Word of mouth is another common way to find part-time work so don’t be shy in letting people know what sort of work you are looking for.

Also visit the Cairns Student Hub for advice and to see what jobs are posted on the noticeboard!

Working in Australia

Working conditions throughout Australia are of a high standard with employees treated fairly and with respect in the workplace. Award rates and work conditions must comply with mandatory requirements that are made freely available to every employee.

International students must comply with relevant visa regulations and it is essential that you know the conditions regarding employment that relate to your Australian visa.

The Fair Work Ombudsman can assist with information and advice about your rights and entitlements when working in Australia.

Migration and Visas

There are several visa options that may be applicable for international students coming to Cairns to study. The appropriate visa is determined by each students’ circumstances when travelling to Australia for study purposes. There are important things you should know before applying for, or being granted, an Australian visa. This includes:

  • applying for the right type of visa
  • application requirements
  • your obligations while in Australia
  • the importance of complying with visa conditions.

Please ensure you arrange your student visa with an Australian registered migration agent or institution prior to leaving home. Reputable migration agents recommended by Study Cairns and with offices in Cairns include Immigration Gurus, Lanza Legal and Migration Plus. Contact these immigration specialists to discuss all your international student visa and immigration requirements.

NOTE: Information provided is of a general nature and should be used as a guide only. For the latest information relating to Migration and Visas visit the Department of Home Affairs website for further information.

Course Guide for studying in Cairns

Studying & Living in Cairns

Study Cairns Brochure

My Cairns App