White Card For International Students In Australia: Explained

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International students want to know how to get a white card for foreigners in Australia.


The construction sector is one of the most promising sectors for overseas students. However, securing a job in this sector requires completing basic training and gaining a few permits and certifications to ensure safe working.


A White Card certificate is an essential requirement to work in the construction field in Australia. You get it after specialized training introducing you to the construction industry and focusing on workplace health and safety.


Read on to get a comprehensive overview of the White Card – what it is, its relevance, what the white card training includes, top training providers in Australia, and tips for nailing a white card test on the first attempt in Australia.



1. What Is A Student White Card?


Considering workplace safety to be the top priority in Australia, having a White Card has become a legal requirement for those working on construction sites.


It is an Australian credential enabling cardholders to operate in construction projects throughout Australia. Having a White card confirms that the individual has undergone the essential safety training to take on various roles in construction.



2. What Is A White Card Course?


To secure a White card, students must complete a white card course, also called a General Construction Induction course.


It equips them with the necessary health and safety skills in the workplace to help them:


  • Comply with construction health and safety regulations,

  • Identify workplace risks, 

  • Mitigate workplace accidents, 

  • Manage workplace injuries, and

  • Respond to workplace emergencies.


Before commencing work, construction workers must complete this course. Consider only an accredited RTO to complete a construction induction training or White card course.



3. Who Needs A White Card In Australia?


A White Card or a general construction induction card is a legal requirement for anyone working on or near a construction site.


According to the National Code of Practice for Induction for Construction Work, a White Card is a mandatory qualification for the following:


  • Self-employed people such as contractors, builders, site managers, supervisors, surveyors, and other industry experts 

  • Employees who often enter operating construction zones

  • Anyone who requires entering (unsupervised or unaccompanied) operation construction sites, including migrant labourers.

  • Apprentices / Trainees

  • Tradespeople


To qualify, overseas students looking to enter a building site must complete a one-time health and safety training. It grants you the construction safety card certification to work legally in the construction industry. The law mandates you to carry this construction safety card at your workplace.



4. Who Doesn't Need A White Card?


The general construction induction card is only meant for workers who want to access operational construction zones (unaccompanied or not directly supervised) or perform construction work.


So, those not meeting the above criteria do not require a White Card in Australia.



5. What Documents Do I Need To Take A White Card Course?


Everyone employed directly in Australia must obtain a white card, irrespective of how experienced a migrant construction worker they are in their home country.


You must be 14 or over and produce the following documents to enrol in white card training.


  • Citizenship certificate

  • Australian birth certificate

  • Student Visa (for international students)

  • Current passport

  • Photo Identification proof includes an Australian driver's licence, Medicare card, ATM card, etc. 

  • Credit card

  • Utility bills such as water bills, and electricity bills to verify your existing residential address



6. What Should I Study For A White Card?


The White Card test aims to ensure that workers in the construction industry showcase a basic understanding of the principles and practices that must be followed while working in construction.


This basic construction safety training covers vital topics to help students familiarise themselves with risk evaluation, hazard identification, and safe work procedures.


Some of these areas include:


  • Identify Occupational Health and Safety legal requirements

  • Gain familiarity with applicable rules, statutes, and codes of conduct

  • Follow safety protocols and work practices

  • Read and interpret Safety signs

  • Work with safety equipment

  • Manage environmental issues throughout the construction

  • Recognize Construction Hazards such as an accident, a fire, etc.

  • Acquire knowledge of the proper methods to deal with construction hazards

  • Understand OHS Incident Response Procedures

  • Risk management

  • Workplace communication to effectively deal with superiors, co-workers, and other stakeholders

  • Selection, usage, and upkeep of Personal Protective Equipment



7. What Is A White Card Test?


To acquire a white card in Australia, you must complete an Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) authorized general induction training course (CPCCWHS1001 – Prepare to work safely in the construction industry).


ASQA, Australia's vocational education and training regulator, has officially recognized the White Card Test. It is a multiple-choice test comprising questions that check the applicant's familiarity with health and safety regulations and skills to work safely and effectively on a construction site.


The White Card test covers a range of topics, including:


  • Occupational health and safety regulations, 

  • Recognizing and mitigating potential hazards, 

  • Selecting and using appropriate personal protective equipment,

  • Following established protocols for ensuring worker safety, 

  • Fostering open lines of communication on the job and minimizing environmental impact.



8. How Can International Students Get A White Card?


To complete a White Card course, overseas students must attend a short white-card course, "CPCCWHS1001 – Prepare To Work Safely In The Construction Industry," from an accredited RTO.


As the delivery format of White Card training varies from state to state, check with your state/territory's training provider to learn the acceptable delivery format for the test.


  • New South Wales: Training can be completed in self-paced online and classroom formats. 

  • Victoria: Only classroom training is permitted.

  • Queensland: Training can be done in a classroom or online. 

  • South Australia: White Card training is only available face-to-face.

  • Western Australia: Training can be completed online or in a classroom.

  • Tasmania: Both online and classroom training is acceptable.

  • Australian Capital Territory: You must complete the training in the classroom. Online training is not allowed.

  • Northern Territory: Training must be done in the classroom.



Steps to Obtain A White Card In Australia:


  1. Find a registered training provider offering White card training in your state/territory.

  2. Register with them to do the course.

  3. Wear safety shoes and bring a PPE kit and a photo identification document (from the above list) on the training day.

  4. During the one-day course, you will learn about workplace safety through presentations, case scenarios, videos, practical demonstrations, and class activities. 

  5. The course ends with a test that you must pass to obtain a White Card. In some cases, you may receive a statement of attainment on the course completion day and a White card within 60 days of passing the test. 

  6. You can start working by showing the statement of attainment to your employer without waiting for the plastic White card to arrive.  


Once you obtain the card, it is indefinitely valid in all states and territories of Australia for as long as you work in the construction industry. If you have worked in this industry for less than two or more years, you must retake the test to keep your certification active.



9. How Long Does A White Card Course Take?


The White Card course is a short course that takes at least 6 hours, including registration and breaks.



10. Is the White Card Course Easy?


Yes. White Card Training is designed to be quick and easy. Applicants get two options to take the course.


  • Sit an Online Test - the online White card course is self-paced and can be completed in multiple sittings on almost all devices, including tablets, laptops, phones, and desktop computers. You can switch devices, stop, and resume anytime, 24/7, and your progress gets automatically saved. After course completion, you download your certificate online.


  • In-Person Classroom Training - It takes 6 hours to complete the face-to-face training. After completing this 1-day session, you will get your diploma at the end of the day.



11. How Long Is The White Card Test?


The duration of the White Card test in Australia varies based on several factors, such as:


  • The training provider 

  • The test delivery format (in-person or online)

  • The number of questions


If you wish to take the in-person White Card exam, you must attend a training session that often lasts between 4 and 8 hours, followed by an exam that takes between 1 and 2 hours to complete.


However, in the case of an online White Card exam, the time required to complete the exam depends on the training provider. There may be between 30 to 50 questions, and the time allotted to answer them is usually between 60 and 90 minutes.



12. How Long Does It Take To Get A White Card In Australia?


After completing the 1-day White card test, your white card will arrive within 30 days. If it doesn't reach you within this time, then call 13 10 50. You must note that you must participate in a safety induction every time you work on a new construction site.



13. Where Can You Take the White Card Course?


Students often struggle to find the right institute to gain a White Card certificate. Only a handful of training organizations are approved to impart White card training in Australia.


Whether you obtain your white card by enrolling in a bachelor's program or taking a 1-day course, you must ensure that your RTO is CRICOS registered.


We have a list of state-wise course providers and TAFE institutions that would work for you.




14. How Much Does A White Card Cost In Australia?


The cost of white card training varies based on the mode of delivery (online or face-to-face), the state where you take the course, and the course provider— generally, the course cost ranges between $35 to $200.



Online Course


Though several websites and companies deliver this training online, Express Online Training (RTO 40592) offers the White Card online training from $59 to $35 for WA and TAS. The course is also available for NSW and QLD at higher costs.



Classroom Course


Classroom courses are costlier than online courses. Edway (RTO 91401) is an excellent institute to consider if you choose classroom training. You can complete the course in Sydney and Melbourne at $110 and $149, respectively.


Upskill Institute offers the White Card course for international students at just $109.



15. When Do You Get Your White Card?


Once you complete the one-day course, you get your White card by post, usually within two weeks.



16. Does A White Card Expire in Australia?


So, how long does a White Card last? Once you get your white card, you do not need to renew it. It is valid throughout Australia if you stay in the construction industry for over two years.


In other words, your white card becomes void if you have not worked in the construction industry for two or more years of your training. In that case, you must undertake a new course and refresh your knowledge.



17. Can You Do Your White Card Online?


Yes. You can opt for an online White card course if your chosen training provider is nationally recognized.


  1. Edway Training offers the "Prepare to Work Safely in the Construction Industry CPCCWHS1001 course" in Melbourne and Sydney.

  2. EOT is another popular training provider (RTO 40592) registered with all relevant state and government bodies, such as WorkSafe, SafeWork, and ASQA. It offers self-paced white card online training in TAS, WA, QLD, and NSW.

  3. Express Online Training also offers the White Card online course discounted for applicants in WA and TAS. 



18. Is It Worth Getting The White Card?


Each year, construction industries report several fatalities due to accidents, such as workers falling from the height (ladders or buildings) or getting hit by objects and vehicle collisions.


The White Card course aims to educate workers about the best construction practices to prevent risks causing workplace injuries and fatalities.


That is why White Card or general construction induction card is mandatory to work in the Construction Industry. You must complete a short White Card Course as CPCCWHS1001 – Prepare to work safely in the construction industry before they enter the construction site.


Overseas students on a student visa are permitted to undertake White Card Courses in Australia. However, their course must be registered on CRICOS (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students).


It is because only CRICOS-registered institutes can deliver the course to international students in Australia.


Moreover, the CRICOS-certified white card will help you find more job opportunities in the growing construction industry in Australia.



19. What About Damaged Or Lost White Cards?


If you mistakenly lose or damage your white card, you can order an online card replacement by paying a certain fee. If your details match those on your card, you can get a new card without retaking the online course.


If your contact details get changed, you must get your contact details updated before replacing your card online. Once done, your replacement card will arrive at your postal address.



20. Are Online White Card Courses Legit?


In most Australian states and territories, White Card training is mainly conducted in a classroom setting, and examinations occur face-to-face.


Obtaining the white card via face-to-face training is mandatory in New South Wales, Victoria, Northern Territory, South Australia, and most of Queensland. The presence of invigilators during in-person examinations helps prevent cheating by test takers.


However, the Australian white card online course and the test are acceptable in rural Queensland, Western Australia, and Tasmania as they provide more freedom to test takers regarding schedule and location. Usually, proctors monitor the tests remotely, which helps prevent students from cheating on online exams.


Earlier, overseas students were legally required to attend face-to-face training in a CRICOS-registered training organization. As per the new update, international students can also complete the short White card course from non-CRICOS providers.


It is best to check with your state/territory-level regulatory body to find an accredited RTO and the acceptable delivery format of the White Card test in their area.



21. How Hard Is The White Card Test?


The white card test is not very difficult if you have completed the training and preparation properly. Online training sessions and study materials are two primary sources to prepare for the test.


There could be a few reasons that could make the test challenging:


  • Inadequate Preparation, Knowledge, and Experience - The test may be challenging based on how much you know about workplace health and safety. The test may be simple if you have previous work experience in the construction industry. However, it may be difficult for those who want to get more familiar with health and safety procedures in the workplace.


  • Insufficient Language Abilities - People who are not native English speakers may find it harder to take the test and answer the questions correctly. So, you need to be fluent in English to achieve a good score on the test. 


  • Nervousness and Anxiety - The White card test has a multiple-choice Q-A structure that may pose difficulty for students to comprehend the questions. On top of it, the time limit is another hindrance that can make things stressful for applicants who suffer from test anxiety or lack knowledge of workplace health and safety regulations.



Overall, students should pass the test with minor trouble by putting in time and effort to study and understand workplace health and safety procedures.



22. Tips To Succeed In A White Card Test


To pass the white card examination, you must focus on understanding the construction sector. Sufficiently prepare and understand the subject to answer maximum questions correctly.


Here are a few tactics to improve your chances of passing the test:


  • Study thoroughly to get a clear understanding of the concepts on which you will get assessed in the exam. 

  • Practise answering sample questions to familiarise yourself with the test format.

  • Plan how much time you will assign each test component, and try your best to keep to the schedule.

  • Practice taking White card practice tests online to gain confidence, learn time management and attend to all questions within the time limit.



23. Conclusion


The white card is compulsory for international students intending to work in the construction arena in Australia. It proves that you have undergone the necessary training and possess a basic knowledge of occupational health and safety practices. 


We hope the above guide has helped you with clarity and direction in preparing to work in the construction industry.


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