One of the many advantages of studying in Australia is that international students are able to work part time while completing their studies to support themselves financially.
Your employment rights in Australia
Your student visa enables you to work up to 40 hours per fortnight during semester, which allows you to earn an income to cover your living expenses while still leaving plenty of time for your studies. During semester breaks you are allowed to work unlimited hours.
To make the employment process as easy as possible, you should open an Australian bank account so that your employer can deposit your earnings. You should also apply for a Tax File Number (TFN) from the Australian Taxation Office to ensure that you are not taxed at a high rate (your employer will provide you with a TFN declaration or you can obtain one online or by phoning 13 28 61).
It is important that you are aware of your employment rights. You should be paid a fair wage for any work you do, so beware of employers who insist on paying you ‘cash in hand’ or those who ask you to complete unpaid work on a ‘trial’ basis. You should also be familiar with the pay and conditions for your area of employment — known as an ‘award’ — and carefully read any employment contracts you sign. See the Fair Work Ombudsman website for details.
Where you can find work
This all depends on your own personal strengths and interests. The main thing is to find a job that is convenient for you — one that is located on or near your campus or in your local area. Popular part-time jobs for students include the following:
- Retail — any kind of store that sells goods to customers, from clothing to electronics. It could be a small store, a chain of stores or a large department store.
- Hospitality — employers include cinemas, restaurants, bars, hotels, takeaway food stores and sporting venues.
- Services — employers include supermarkets, petrol stations, call centres and various businesses requiring administration work.
- Industry — if you are lucky, you might be able to gain employment that is related to the field you are studying (for example, a media student might be able to work part time assisting at a local television or radio station).
How you can find work
Before you start searching and applying for jobs, you need a résumé. Many institutions have a careers service that will be able to assist you with writing and formatting a professional résumé that lists your education, skills, interests and previous employment experience. It is important that your résumé is free of errors, so you might want to ask someone who is a strong English speaker to check it before you start searching for jobs.
Once you have a résumé it’s time to search for a job!
- You can go to a local shopping centre or shopping strip and hand your résumé into stores. Ask the manager whether they have any positions available — if they don’t you can ask to leave your résumé with them to keep in mind for future vacancies. It is important that you wear nice clothes to make a good first impression.
- You can search the ‘careers’ section on employer or industry websites to find vacancies. Many of these websites will allow you to apply online.
- You can use an Australian job search website to search for part-time jobs in your area. The main job-search websites are Seek, MyCareer, CareerOne and ApplyDirect.
- Your institution might also have a careers service that can put you in touch with employers or have a job search page on their website that lists available part-time jobs.
- Tax File Number application — Australian Taxation Office website
- Banking in Australia— Studies in Australia website
- International students: know your workplace rights — Fair Work Ombudsman website