A major drawcard for international students looking to study in Australia is the freedom to work while you’re studying. The minimum wage in Australia is almost double that of both the USA and the UK, there are fewer restrictions on where you can find work, and you can work 40 hours per fortnight during the semester and unlimited hours during breaks. But, can you get part-time work in regional areas (in other words, everywhere aside from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane)? The answer is yes!
Here is our guide to part-time work in regional areas around Australia.
Jobs on offer
The jobs on offer in regional areas don’t differ too much from those in the biggest metropolitan areas.
Smaller cities, such as Adelaide, Perth and the Gold Coast are all classified as ‘regional’ areas, and the most popular jobs here for international students include working in retail, hospitality, administration, and at your education provider.
In popular tourist hotspots, such as Byron Bay and the Sunshine Coast, international students will find plenty of work in hospitality, to help businesses manage with all of the extra visitors to the area.
In other regional centres, like Wollongong, Ballarat and Armadale, you’ll find plenty of jobs in hospitality, retail and possibly even in agriculture or tourism.
Many regional areas have a lot of seasonal work available, such as fruit-picking, farm work and tourism. It’s worth researching your study destination to see which industries are most prominent. For example, Orange in New South Wales is a wine-producing region, meaning there may be opportunities to work part-time at a winery.
Types of work
While you’re studying, the two major options for work are ‘casual’ and ‘part-time’.
A part-time worker will work less than 38 hours per week (remember, the maximum for international students is 40 hours per fortnight) in a regular pattern of hours. Part-time workers get entitlements such as annual and personal/carer’s leave on a pro-rata basis – this means that it is based on how many ordinary hours they work.
Casual workers are not guaranteed a certain number of hours each week, but will usually get a casual loading (an extra percentage added to their rate of pay) instead of entitlements.
Where to look for jobs
Utilise your education provider’s careers support services. Most providers will have a dedicated page on their website advertising jobs that are designed for students, such as tutoring.
You can also visit various businesses with physical copies of your resume. Approaching employers in-person and introducing yourself makes a good impression, and they are more likely to remember you.
The minimum wage in regional areas is exactly the same as in metropolitan areas – $19.49 per hour, or $24.36 per hour for casual employees. Because of this, tipping is not mandatory in Australia; workers are paid a liveable wage without having to work for tips.
Best of all, the cost of living in regional areas tends to be lower than in Australia’s major cities, which means while you’re making the same amount of money, your earnings will go further and it will be easier to save.
Things to note
- Public transport: Transport to and from your place of work can be a little more difficult than in metro areas, as public transport may not run as frequently. If you know that you will be working at night, make sure you have established a safe way to get home.
- Seasons: Many regional Australian workplaces, particularly in retail, work in ‘seasons’. So, if you are a casual worker, during busy periods (national holidays, summer and school holidays) you are likely to be working more hours, while you should expect fewer hours during slower times.
- Rights: You have exactly the same rights in regional areas as works in metropolitan areas. For details on your rights as an international student, check the Fair Work Ombudsman website.