working in australia
Part-time jobs help to reduce the burden of living expenses for international students. Source: Sthanly Estrada/AFP

Studying in Australia is an expensive affair. According to the Australian Government, an international student spends around 21,041 Australian dollars per year on living expenses.

Lucky for those already in the country: you can work part-time while studying in Australia. 

First, however, check your visa status to see if you are eligible to do so. If yes, read and follow the rules to the T. This includes maintaining your academic responsibilities, such as attend all classes and don’t fail. 

Next, know the five facts below before you apply for any part-time job in Australia.

working in australia

Student visa holders are able to sequre a job as part-time workers. Source: Stephen Lam/AFP

Scrutinise your visa 

Before applying for part-time work in Australia, international students must first check their visa status. Each visa will state if a student is eligible to work while completing their studies.

Previously, the regulation states international students could only work for up to 40 hours every two weeks during their semester. This, however, does not apply during holidays where students are allowed to work unlimited hours. 

Recently this regulation has been changed. As an effort to address workforce shortage, the Australian Government has increased the number of hours international students can work. However, this increase in hours does not apply to all sectors. 

Only students working is industries such as healthcare, dissability care, aged care, agriculture and tourism can work unlimited hours during their semester.

Where to find a job?

Many universities provide on and off campus work opportunities. With facilities such as libraries, cafes and gyms, there are many work options for students to choose from.This includes becoming a library assistant, campus ambassador, barista, personal trainer or social media assistant.

Beyond unis, try the food and beverage industry where you can work as a barista, bartender, waiter or even as a kitchen hand. You can also work as a retail sales agent, call centre staff, customer service officer, receptionist or sales representative. 

Need the extra money but don’t have the time? Consider tutoring and baby sitting as they have more flexible hours.

Some part-time jobs have more requirements as compared to others. This includes working as a driver. You would need to have a valid drivers license and own a car to be able to take on this job.

How to apply for a part-time job?

Though there are many jobs to choose from, applying for them can seem overwhelming when you’re new to a country. Don’t worry, though as there are plenty of places to seek help from.

Your university should be your first stop. Head to the career centre — this is where there are dedicated professionals who can lead you to the right job openings, help you create a resume and even prepare for the interview. 

Alternatively, check sites like Indeed, Seek, and Jobactive. These were created by Australian Government’s Department of Education, Skills, and Employment. They list over a thousand part-time jobs available for international students to choose from. 

working in australia

International students have many options for part time jobs on and off-campus. Source: Roy Rochlin/AFP

Minimum wage for students 

Here’s an upside: Australia is known for its high minimum wage. Every year, the Australian Fair Work Comisson reviews the national minimum wage. As of July 2022, the national minimum wage is set at 21.38 Australian dollars per hour. Jobs that require additional skills may pay more, up to A$50 to A$80 per hour.

It’s important to know your rights and benefits as an employee. Students with lack of knowledge or language skills may be taken advantage of and be underpaid. 

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) was formed with the goal of providing free advice and information on the Australian national workplace relations systems. Established by the Government of Australia, international students can contact FWO for information or help when working part-time in Australia.

Benefits you will receive

In Australia, all employees are entitled to benefits. The amount of benefits received depends on the terms of employment. A permanent part-time worker is eligible to all the same benefits as a full-time worker. This includes four weeks of annual leave, 10 days of sick leave or carer’s leave, long-service leave and 18 weeks of paid maternity leave or two weeks partner leave.

However, casual part-time workers do not get leave. Due to this, employers usually compensate them with a higher hourly rate as compared to permanent part-time workers. 

Both permanent and casual part time-workers are entitled to receive overtime pay if they have worked more than the maximum number of hours specified in a day or week. The amount received varies depending on each industry.