Work while you study

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Working while you study in Australia can help complement your study and living experience. There are a number of reasons you might want to undertake part time work while studying in Australia, including assisting with living expenses and gaining work experience in your study area.

Most student visas allow you to work for up to 40 hours every two weeks while your course is in session, and unrestricted hours during any scheduled course break, but before you undertake any paid work you need to make sure your visa allows you to work. Find out more at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection(opens in a new window) website or contact IEAA ( sydney@inteducation.com 02-92327055 ).

There are plenty of casual and part-time jobs available for students. While studying can be demanding, the reality is that students often have flexible hours and some free time available. If you’re reliable and want to work, many employers will be interested in hiring you.

Although many course advisers wouldn’t recommend working more than 15 hours a week, you can choose to work in quiet times and holidays to save for the things you love or need, like travelling or a car.

Paid work

Australia has a wide range of industries and many have part time employment opportunities, including:

  • Retail – supermarkets, department and clothing stores.
  • Hospitality – cafes, bars and restaurants.
  • Tourism – hotels and motels.
  • Agricultural – farming and fruit-picking.
  • Sales and telemarketing.
  • Administration or Clerical roles.
  • Tutoring.

If you have existing qualifications and/or professional work experience, you may be able to secure casual or part time work in your field.

Part-time or casual work?

  • Casual and part-time jobs are considered part of the package for most people who are studying, whether it’s to gain experience or to get more cash
  • Part-time work gives you fewer hours than a full-time job, with a regular weekly schedule of work. It also includes basic entitlements like superannuation and holidays, outlined in individual employment contracts
  • Casual work means you work irregular hours without entitlements. Casual work is meant to offer better hourly rates of pay to compensate for the lack of entitlements

Finding a job

There are plenty of ways to find work that suits you, including:

  • Newspapers and online job sites.
  • Some institutions provide job notice-boards on campus and online. Contact your institution’s international student support staff to find out what options your institution offers.
  • Register your details at a recruitment firm; many of them help place people in casual or short-term work.
  • Most universities and TAFEs have an employment office advertising jobs in retail, hospitality, building, customer service, administration, telemarketing, delivery, bar work, labouring and more
  • Apply for part-time work in your area of study. For example, working in an architect’s office, accountancy or law firm will help you acquire useful professional skills, look good on your resume and give you some great references for the future
  • Check the bulletin boards at university and ask around on campus
  • Walk in off the street and ask restaurants and hotels if they need staff. It’s one of the most effective ways of securing a job

Internships

Paid or unpaid internships can be a great way to get exposure to the professional, financial and creative industries. Learn more about getting an internship on the Internships page in the Education System section of this website.

Volunteering

There are many charities and non-government organisations (NGOs) in Australia and they always need volunteers to help out. It can be a great way to meet friends, get some hands on work experience and give back to the community. To find out more about volunteering, start your search at: http://www.govolunteer.com.au/(opens in a new window)

Your rights

Everyone working in Australia, including international students or those on working holiday visas, have basic rights at work. These rights protect entitlement to:

  • A minimum wage.
  • Challenge of unfair dismissal from the job
  • Breaks and rest periods.
  • A healthy and safe work environment.

Most employers in Australia are covered by an ‘award’, which sets minimum wages and conditions for a given field of work or industry. To find out more about your work rights visit the Australian Government’s Fair Work(opens in a new window) website.

You will also need to get a tax file number to work in Australia. Visit the Australian Taxation Office(opens in a new window) website to find out more information on getting a tax file number, as well as information about paying taxes in Australia.