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Last Updated: February 22, 2021

International Students - Getting Part Time Job in Australia

Despite Australia being a very attractive destination for students due to high standards of education, good infrastructure, and high quality of life, the average cost of living in the country is quite high in comparison to the rest of the world. GQ magazine rates Australia as the 16th most expensive country to live in. Maintaining regular and unavoidable expenses such as rent, food, internet, and transport may prove difficult for many students who wish to study there.

To manage such expenses, students are suggested that they augment their daily budget by working part-time jobs and positions. These jobs allow students to have a degree of financial flexibility and may even help support their education. Some part-time jobs may even provide valuable experience to the students, which may end up benefitting their resumes.

Am I Eligible for a Part-Time Job?

Having a student visa, which you will require to study in Australia, will allow you to work for up to 40 hrs a fortnight (a fortnight is considered to be a period of 14 days commencing on any Monday and ending on the second following Sunday). This will equate to 20 hours a week which is enough for most part-time jobs. The Australian government imposes this limit so that students have time to study and attend classes, which is the primary reason why students are granted the visa. However, this 40 hr per fortnight restriction is removed during semester breaks and vacation periods. This allows optimal utilization of one’s time during breaks.

(Note: Students are strongly advised not to accept employment work that exceeds the 40-hr limit, as their student visas may be subject to cancellation.)

Your eligibility for specific jobs will depend on the position you are applying for, jobs requiring specific skills and specialization require more qualifications and will typically pay more. Unskilled jobs will be easier to apply for since they mostly require very basic qualifications and accordingly pay less.

What Kind of Jobs Can I Apply For?

Part-time jobs can be of all types and be offered by all kinds of industries and institutions. The part-time jobs which are most common amongst students are as follows:

How Do I Apply for Jobs?

There are a variety of ways in which you can look for part-time jobs. The best way to get a job suitable for you is to be proactive and always be ready to show some initiative when the opportunity arises. Use the following steps as a beginning and try to build from there:
  1. Make sure to prepare your Curriculum Vitae (CV) or resume. A proper CV will include your academic qualifications and achievements, skills, work experience, and your interests. These details will need to be formatted in a way that looks professional and is free of any errors, either factual or grammatical. A proper CV is a must if one is to be taken seriously.

    (Note: Most institutions or firms will consider resumes and CVs to be the same thing. However, some may distinguish between the two, generally by considering the CV to be more in-depth and exhaustive.)
  2. Create profiles in job search websites like Seek and ApplyDirect. These websites will allow you to interact directly with companies and firms looking to hire.
  3. Newspapers, although considered archaic by some, are still very useful (especially local newspapers). They usually have a number of adverts for job vacancies and other employment opportunities.
  4. Personal interaction with local stores and other retail outlets is a good way to keep track of any jobs which may come your way.
  5. Several educational institutions have programs or initiatives directed towards helping students find part-time jobs. Some employers may have direct contact with the institution in question, so best be aware of that.
  6. Networking and getting references from fellow students, teachers, or alumni. These people, in particular, will have in-depth knowledge of your skills and it is possible that they may recommend industry contacts or be aware of other relevant information which may help you get a job.

How Much Can I Earn?

The Australian government mandates that all employees be paid a certain minimum wage, which would depend on a variety of factors including the type of employment and services rendered. The minimum wage for part-time workers like students will typically work out to around 18-19 AUD per hour. Whatever kind of work you are employed in, it is safe to say that you will be paid at least that minimum amount. However, more typically for the types of jobs listed above, the average pay-checks normally range from AUD 20 to AUD 40 per hour. The general rule of thumb is, the more skilled and specialized a certain occupation is, the more salary the employee is usually paid. If the work is unspecialized and unskilled, the wages veer towards the government-mandated minimum.

Do I Need to Pay Taxes?

Although it is compulsory for all students working in part-time jobs to pay tax on their income, the taxable amount is usually deducted directly by the employer as Pay as you Go tax (or PAYG tax). This amount is then directly deposited to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). Despite this, part-time workers are required to submit their tax returns. Filing one’s tax returns is usually done online through the ATO website. The employee will provide a tax slip that should cover the most required details. It is strongly advised that a student create a savings account in an Australian bank before opting for a part-time job. However, if the total salary received in one financial year is less than AUD 18,200, the employee has the option to get a complete tax rebate, which means all tax deductions made in that fiscal year are returned to him/her. If the employee chooses not to do so, any work-related expense such as transit and equipment is eligible for tax deductions.

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