White Card for International Students

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For any international student arriving in Australia, the prospect of finding a job can be both exciting and nerve-wracking.

The good news is that there is a healthy job market in every major Australian city, with a wide range of industries currently booming.

However, many of the most common roles require you to have some basic certificates and cards, which allow you to work safely. 

For instance, to work in hospitality you’ll likely need to have an RSA qualification, depending on the venue.

In the construction industry, even the lowliest labourer will need to possess a qualification called a white card

What is a white card?

A white card is a qualification that is required for anyone wishing to access a building site in Australia. This includes international students who might find themselves working as labourers, or for a trade on a construction project. 

The white card is all about safety. During the course, you’ll learn the following crucial requirements:

  • Identifying safety hazards on the building site.
  • How to report these safety problems.
  • How to best reduce the risk of accident or injury.
  • Responding in the proper way to an accident or health and safety incident.

For international students, working as a labourer on a building site is an attractive prospect. The money is good, work is abundant and the flexibility is great. 

However, if you do begin this kind of work without the proper qualifications or certificates, you or your employer could be subject to huge fines by the government. In fact, the fine for an employer for having a worker on-site without a white card is around $11,000.

If that happens, you can kiss your career on any Australian building site, goodbye!

Who needs a white card?

As mentioned above, anyone who sets foot on a building site in Australia must have a white card. This includes international students.

Not only do large financial penalties apply without it, but you are at risk of injury without undergoing the white card training.

This is because the white card course teaches students about the importance of safe practices, and how to conduct themselves on a building site.

In fact, these are all of the people who require a white card (but not excluded to):

  • Construction labourers.
  • Tradespeople.
  • Site managers.
  • Site supervisors.
  • Surveyors.
  • People who access operational construction zones unaccompanied or unsupervised.
  • Workers who routinely enter operational construction zones.

If you fall into one of these categories, it’s essential that you obtain a white card.

How do I get a white card?

The actual process of obtaining a white card is fairly straightforward.

In most states, government-certified providers require you to attend a course in person, which usually spans a single day of classes. For the most part, these classes educate you on proper safety procedures on a building site.

The states and territories that require you to attend a face-to-face white card course are:

  • Victoria.
  • Australian Capital Territory.
  • South Australia.
  • Northern Territory.
  • New South Wales.

However, some states and territories are able to offer white card courses online. The states in which online courses are permitted are:

  • Western Australia.
  • Tasmania.
  • Queensland.

This can be a far more attractive option for busy international students – we understand that you’ve already got plenty of classes to attend.

How much does it cost?

The cost of the white card course varies from provider to provider and depends on whether it’s in person or online.

For example, some providers will offer the online course for as little as $39, whilst others may charge around $130.

Whilst we understand that as a student money is often tight, it’s important to read provider reviews and ensure you are getting a quality course for your money.

Do I have to do anything else?

Once you’ve completed your white card training, either online or in-person, all you have to do is wait for the card to be posted to you. 

In Victoria, you’ll be registered with WorkSafe VIC, whilst in New South Wales it will be SafeWork NSW. These bodies will issue your card within 60 days.

However, you won’t need to wait until this card comes, to work. As soon as you’ve completed the training, you’ll receive a certificate, which announces that you have finished the white card training.

You can show this certificate to any employer (or potential employer) and it gives you the same rights as the white card.

How long does a white card last?

The great news is that you don’t have to renew a white card, ever.

Your white card does not have an expiry date and is, therefore, valid forever.

What should I do if I lose my white card?

It’s common for people to require a replacement white card – we all lose things sometimes!

If this happens, you’ll simply need to contact your provider and order a new one. Some providers may require you to show your statement of attainment to confirm that you completed the course.

Once they’re satisfied, your provider will send your new white card to you in the post

How do I find my white card number online?

To do this, simply check the confirmation emails that your course provider would have sent you after completing the white card qualification.

If you didn’t keep the original emails, contact your provider and they’ll be able to give you the correct information.

White card for international students

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