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How to Find Part-Time Work in Australia

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How to Find Part-Time Work in Australia

Jan 13, 2022Date Published
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A frequent concern front and centre in students’ minds when they’re figuring out the logistics of studying abroad? The costs. If studying abroad has been a goal of yours for a while, your parents have likely been saving for years to cover your tuition fees and accommodation costs. And these are hardly the only expenses. On top of necessities like monthly groceries and utility bills, there are irreplaceable experiences you can only enjoy in your study abroad destination. After all, going to a concert or the movies, buying a new outfit or a decadent meal, learning how to surf and hike, hanging out with friends – these are as much part of the student life experience as studying is. And if you’re reading this article, you’ve already started working on an action plan – finding part-time work in Australia. So, without further ado, let’s jump into what you need to know!


Can Students Work Part-Time in Australia?

As long as you hold the Subclass 500 Student visa – yes! When you get this visa, you have the right to work in Australia for 40 hours every fortnight. A fortnight is two weeks – starting from Monday, and ending on Sunday the next week. You can split your hours as necessary between these two weeks. But it’s important to remember not to go over the maximum number of hours you’re allowed to work as an international student. If you do, it’s a violation of the conditions you agree to for your Australian Student visa. And such violation could lead to visa cancellation, and future visa rejections if you try to travel back to Australia.

If you’d like to work more than 40 hours every two weeks, holidays are the right time to do so! As an international student holding a Subclass 500 visa, you can work full-time when your university is on break. Masters by research students and students pursuing doctoral degrees can also work full-time when their classes are in session!


What Steps Should I Take to Work Part-Time in Australia?

Know When You Can Start Working

You can’t start working in Australia until after your session begins! So if you land in Australia a couple of weeks before your semester begins, you can’t work during this time.


Get a TFN

To work in Australia, you need to open up an account with an Australian bank and get your Tax File Number (TFN). Although getting a TFN isn’t compulsory, the pros outweigh any cons you can think of. For starters, Australian banks typically require you to have a TFN to open an account with them. Through an Australian bank account, you can receive international fund transfers, carry out transactions for tuition fees, rent, and other expenses, and – of course – get paid for your part-time work. 

A TFN is also crucial to make sure you don’t end up paying more in taxes than you need to. If you’re staying in Australia for a course longer than six months, you’re automatically considered a tax-paying resident. You pay taxes on your earnings at the same rate as Australian citizens. The plus is that you enjoy the same tax benefits as Australian citizens. These include paying generally lower tax rates compared to foreign residents and tax offsets. You also qualify for the tax-free threshold. This means that for the first AUD 18,200 you earn in each fiscal year, you don’t have to pay taxes. You do pay taxes for your income at or above this threshold.

More About TFN


Be Job-Ready

The reality of the job market is that usually, there are more applicants than there are jobs. The same is the case for part-time work in Australia. To give yourself an edge over the competition, you want to be job-ready. This means that you want to stand out against all the other applicants employers are considering. Here are a couple of tips to make sure you put your best foot forward:

Put together a strong résumé

This is something you’ve likely already had to do as part of your university application. But remember – the purpose of a CV in your university application is different from that of a job application. While employers will typically want to know more about your academic standing – since this lets them know about how hardworking, motivated, intelligent, skilled, etc. you are – they also want to know about what you bring to the job. If you have any existing work experience or skills you picked up relevant to the job, highlight these in your résumé. If you don’t have prior work experience, you can highlight extracurricular activities or community service instead. Highlight any skills you have, e.g. graphic design skills, communication skills, teamwork, and so on.

You’ll usually have a single résumé you’ll share at most of the places you’re looking for work in. If there’s a post you’re really eager to work in, we recommend fine-tuning this document to spotlight specific skills and experience that you have that make you a good match for that employer. You can enlist the help of your university’s careers counselling department to help you draft solid, professional CVs. Make sure they’re written in flawless grammar and English! Australia is, after all, an English-speaking country. And many part-time jobs involve a strong communication aspect. So, employers will want to know that you can conduct yourself well in the language.

Add on a cover letter

If you want to go the extra mile, drafting a cover letter doesn’t hurt either. This lets you go into more depth and detail about your suitability as an applicant than the more restrained format of a résumé. If you don’t have any work experience, a cover letter lets you spotlight the skills and motivation you do have to be an asset at the job! 

Buckle up for the interview

Most employers considering hiring you are going to ask you in for an interview. This is usually the deal-maker – or the deal-breaker – of getting any job, be it part- or full-time. Make sure to dress smartly and to mind your manners. Don’t wander into the interview room in a plain t-shirt and shorts. Keep your attitude polite and respectful instead of casual and overly familiar. A couple of things to always keep in mind before stepping into that interview room:

  • Research the establishment

If you know anyone already working there, that’s great! You may also often find online forum or social media posts with tips on the types of questions you might have to answer for specific companies or establishments. Expect the unexpected – for example, a café might ask you to describe your favourite dish off their menu, to see how familiar you are with their business.

  • Be honest 

You might feel as though you need to embellish your skills and experience to impress a potential employer. We urge against this. A false claim or fabrication is automatically a strike against you. If you feel you don’t have the right skills and experience, emphasise your willingness to learn and your dedication to doing a good job instead. Highlight any experiences which do demonstrate those qualities in you. This is also why you need to be upfront in your CV and cover letter. Employers will often ask you to elaborate on the information you included in your application. It’s better to be honest than sully your chances by exaggerating or misrepresenting information. Plus, your employers likely already have specific expectations given that you’re a student – they’re not going to be expecting years of work experience from you.

  • Communicate clearly and confidently 

Your communication skills will be one of the key points the interviewer will take note of. Practice common interview questions to get the hang of answering with clarity and confidence. A lot of part-time jobs involve a strong communication aspect, so employers will look out for proficient English speakers and confident communicators. Your university’s career counselling services may offer interview coaching and advice – definitely look into this to maximise your chances of success!

Looking for Part-Time Jobs in Australia

Now that we’ve got all that groundwork ready, let’s get to the main matter at hand – getting part-time work in Australia. 

What part-time jobs can I do in Australia?

  • Retail: working as shop or store assistants, cashiers, customer service, etc.
  • Foodservice: baristas, bartenders, waiters/waitresses, store clerks, cashiers, kitchen assistants, delivery persons, dishwashers, etc.
  • Service industry: cleaning services, movie theatre worker (concessions worker, ticket seller, usher), hotel attendant (bellhop, housekeeper, server), customer service, delivery person, etc. 
  • On-campus work: library assistant, teaching assistant, tutor, student helper, admin support, etc.

A couple of avenues exist to seek part-time work in Australia:

  • Job portals: Online job portals are always a great place to check out up-to-date job openings. Searching keywords like “part-time jobs in Sydney” or “part-time jobs in Australia Melbourne” can bring up dozens of results. Subscribing to a couple of job portals delivers recent job postings matching what you’re looking for directly into your inbox!
  • Apply in-person: Some places might be hiring even though they haven’t set up a job opening online. A popular means of looking for part-time work in Australia is visiting an establishment in person and applying. Make sure you’re dressed well and ask for the manager at the restaurant, store, or establishment you’re looking for work in. Inquire whether there are any openings, and express your interest in joining. Be sure to carry copies of your résumé! If any of the places you go to is looking to hire, give them a copy, complete with your contact details. If they tell you they’re not hiring, ask to leave the résumé there with them anyway, in case they hire in the future!
  • Apply on-campus: When thinking of university, you might be picturing yourself sitting in lecture halls, and walking in-between classes. But there are plenty of departments and services beyond the classroom that keep a university running! And a lot of the time, libraries, administrative offices, student support centres, etc. are happy to have a helping hand from students. Ask your student union or student support help desk for possible job openings on campus. You can look into the internal job postings by your university, too!   


How Much Do Part-Time Jobs Pay in Australia?, one of the leading job search portals worldwide and in Australia, rounded up some of the highest paying part-time jobs in Australia, several of which international students can qualify for.

Job Post
Average Pay
Necessary Qualifications
AUD 25.75 per hour
Responsible Service of Alcohol certification; Responsible Service of Gambling certification
Bank Teller 
AUD 388 per day
Basic math abilities; bachelor’s degree in relevant discipline
Tour Guide
AUD 29.49 per hour
Driver’s license
AUD 30.40 per hour
Driver’s license
AUD 32.01 per hour
Certificate in Pathology Collections
Bus Driver
AUD 29.71 per hour 
Driver’s license
AUD 27.94 per hour
Working with Children clearance; experience working with children
Nursing Assistant
AUD 65,374 per year
Certificate in Health Services or higher; First aid certification
AUD AUD 62,072 per year
Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting or related field
Brand Ambassador
AUD 28.06 per year
High school education or equivalent
Makeup Artist
AUD 78.79 per hour
Beauty therapy diploma or certification
Personal Trainer
AUD 41.67 per hour
Certificate in fitness; First aid certification
AUD 42.92 per hour
Certification in Electrotechnology; Electrical apprenticeship; Electrician’s License
Freelance Writer
AUD 38.69 per hour
Strong grammar and writing skills; bachelor’s degree in journalism, communication
AUD 24.92 per hour
Responsible Service of Alcohol certification (if the establishment serves alcohol)
AUD 31.68 per hour
High school education; Bachelor’s degree; Working with Children clearance
Massage Therapist
AUD 45.51 per hour
Diploma or certificate in massage therapy; First aid certification; Membership of an Australian massage association; insurance
Casual Teacher
AUD 62.41 per hour
Necessary certifications may be different across each state
Library Assistant 
AUD 29.32 per hour

Security Guard
AUD 27.70 per hour
Valid security license; First aid certification; Responsible Service of Alcohol certification

From the list above, you can see that some posts require a higher degree of qualification compared to others. If you don't have these qualifications, you can always work up to them! If you plan on working in Australia after graduating, you can opt for the Subclass 485 visa. This is the Post-Study Work stream, qualifying you to continue living in Australia, with part- and full-time work! 


Our Concluding Thoughts on Part-Time Work in Australia

One of the preconditions for getting a Student visa to Australia is proving you have the finances to cover your tuition and living costs. But the additional income from a part-time job can go a long way in extending your financial wiggle room. Not only does it make it easier to cover bills and have enough left over to enjoy your stay in Australia without worrying about your budget, but it’s also great work experience. Employers always value applicants with some measure of experience on their résumés. The skills you pick up through hands-on experience working with supervisors, colleagues, and customers go a long way in preparing you for full-time employment after graduation. Given all that, we hope this guide answers all your questions about part-time work in Australia! 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the minimum hours for part-time work in Australia?

Part-timers in Australia work less than 38 hours a week.


What are the maximum hours for part-time work in Australia?

Students on masters by research courses or pursuing doctoral degrees don’t have a limit on the number of hours they can work. All other international students holding a Subclass 500 visa can work up to 40 hours a fortnight. Over the holidays, they can work full-time!


What is the best part-time job in Australia?

Some of the popular part-time jobs for students in Australia include:

  • Bartenders
  • Baristas
  • Servers
  • Store assistants/clerks
  • Tutors
  • Library assistants
  • Customer service representatives
  • Delivery persons
  • Drivers


How old do you have to be to work part-time in Australia?

There is no minimum national age for part-time work in Australia. Some states and territories have their own minimum age requirements, and these vary across the country. Nonetheless, as long as you’re of or over the age of 18, you’re eligible for part-time work in Australia.