Working in Australia while studying
As an international student in Australia, it can sometimes be difficult to maintain basic living costs unless you also have a part-time job. Living in Australia can be expensive when you take into account costs such as accommodation, meals, tuition, and other expenses. Changes implemented in April 2008 to the regulations governing student visas have made it much easier for international students to gain work in Australia. Since then, any student granted a visa has also automatically received permission to work.
Remember that as a student there are restrictions on the number of hours that you can work per week. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) specifies that international students are only allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week during the semester. This is so you can focus mainly on your studies.
While it would obviously be preferable to find work within a field which is applicable to your studies, this is not always possible — especially if you are studying in a field such as medicine! It is primarily for this reason that many international students tend to work in industries such as retail or hospitality, which have a high demand for part-time workers. Many jobs in these areas may require you to work irregular or night shifts. These kinds of jobs can be very beneficial as you get the opportunity to practice your English language skills in an environment outside of your educational institution. You can also learn to understand Australian culture through interacting with your employers, colleagues, and, in many cases, the general public.
You should also be aware of the rights that you have as a worker in Australia. Visit www.fairwork.gov.au and familiarise yourself with Australia’s laws regarding workplace rights, and important facts such as rates of pay and working conditions.
What about working after studying?
You can continue to live and work in Australia after completing your studies by applying for permanent residency. There is a specific permanent residency visa for international students who have graduated from the Australian study. Remember though that permanent residency regulations and eligibility criteria often change, so you shouldn’t rely on your study as being a direct path to permanent residency.