Working Part-Time to Pay off Student Fees in Australia

studentA question I am often asked by international students thinking of studying in Australia is, ‘Can I work part-time to help pay off my student education fees in Australia?

The costs

moneyThis isn’t a complete budget, it’s very rough, but it gives you an idea of the problem you will face if you are hoping to earn enough money to pay for your education as you go.

Cost of education

educationTuition fees vary quite massively depending on the subject and the university. A basic English language course can cost around $300 per week. According to university reviews, the lowest yearly fee you can expect to pay at a university would be around $20,000, but that would not be in a major city. Expect to pay more for Sydney or Melbourne.

That’s at the low end, an expensive course at a top university could cost you double, treble or even four times that amount. For the sake of this experiment though, let’s go for one of the cheaper courses and budget $400 per week for the cost of education.


Cost of accommodation

HouseI had a look online for rooms to rent in Melbourne for students. The very cheapest I found was $80 per week, but that was sharing one room with four other people in it. That’s to say it was a dormitory style bedroom with five single beds.

If you want a room on your own, expect to pay between $200 and $250 per week. So, like the cost of education, accommodation costs can also vary wildly. For the sake of our budgeting, we are going to assume $150 per week for accommodation.

Cost of food

So what’s the minimum amount of money one student would need to spend on food each week? That’s a tricky one to answer, because as attractive as going cheap may seem, there is the small matter of your ongoing health.

Eating cheap and rubbishy food over a long period of time would be a bad idea. So it’s not good to skimp on the food. According to Study in Australia, a government run website, the cost of groceries and eating out for a student range from between $80-$280 per week.

The same website also quotes average costs for other living expenses, so it’s well worth taking a look. They also quote similar fees for accommodation, with prices varying from $85-$280 per week.

For the sake of our experiment here though, for food, again we will go low at $120 per week


So, what have we got so far?

Barest minimum costs per week

  • Cost of education: $400 per week
  • Cost of accommodation: $150 per week
  • Cost of food: $120 per week

Total so far: $670 per week, that’s almost $35,000 per year.

When I say barest minimum though, it really is that. You will have extra costs on top of this, for example, public transport, entertainment and bills (shared house bills, mobile phone, internet).

Cost of everything

According to an article a couple of years ago, Australia was the most expensive place for international students to get a university education. They ‘estimated an international student in Australia would spend more than $42,000 each year on fees and supporting themselves.‘ – Source: ABC News

That estimate is backed up by the already mentioned Study in Australia website, they quote the minimum cost of living for one year in Australia (excluding tuition fees) of $19,830.

So, with all these figures and estimates, I think it’s more than fair and reasonable to say that you will not be able to study here and survive for less than $40,000 a year.

Potential earnings

International students are only allowed to work 40 hours per fortnight. Some websites quote it as 20 hours per week, but officially it is 40 hours per fortnight, which is slightly different. This is exactly how it is worded on the government’s immigration website:student work40 hours per fortnight gives the students more flexibility. For example, you could have a week off of work and the following week work 40 hours to catch up. If it was 20 hours per week, you wouldn’t be able to do that. That said though, it still only adds up to 1040 hours of work per year, plus whatever you can get during those ‘not in session’ times.

Current minimum wage rates in Australia:

  • 18yo – Base: $12.09 Casual: $15.11
  • 19yo – Base: $14.60 Casual: $18.25
  • 20yo – Base: $17.29 Casual: $21.61
  • 21yo – Base: $17.70 Casual: $22.12


So, with our fictitious budgeting, you will remember that we went low-cost pretty much all the way through it. Even if you didn’t incur any extra costs for entertainment, even if you kept your bills to the absolute minimum, and even if you didn’t get a mobile phone and walked to and from your place of study every day.

Even if you did all that, you are still in for at least $35,000 per year.

Now let’s assume you are over 21 years of age and you managed to secure a casual job at the current minimum wage. You are also able to work the full 1040 hours per year.

Total annual earnings = $23,004.80

As you can see, it’s about $12,000 short of what you need, that’s about $230 per week.

Even if you do work extra long hours when your course is not in session as the rules allow, you would still not make up that shortfall. It can’t be done.

The reality

The reality, it appears, is worse.

The reason I am writing this today is because last week there was a news item on ABC about how shocked international students are at the low pay and long hours they have been expected to work here.

According to a report by ABC’s Story Hunters, many international students are being massively underpaid. The chances of actually securing a job on the minimum wage are very remote.

If the students they spoke to are representative of what’s really going on, then students are actually more likely to earn $8 to $12 per hour. In order to survive, many students are breaking the terms of their student visas by working more than the allocated 40 hours per fortnight.

Their employers are paying cash and not keeping accurate records to allow this to happen. International students are being exploited by employers and have become a form of cheap labour here in Australia.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James explained the four key reasons international students were so vulnerable to this exploitation:

  • Youth
  • Language barriers
  • Loyalty to their employers
  • Fear of losing their visas

These four factors combined are preventing exploited workers from complaining to authorities, but they are not the only reasons. As one restaurant employee who worked with 17 other exploited international students explained, complaining will just get the business closed down and then everybody will lose their jobs, including the boss.

That explains why there are so few complaints being made about this at all.

We’ve seen this kind of work exploitation before, just over a year ago I wrote about this sort of thing in the post called 417 Visa Working Holiday Holders (WHV) and Slavery in Australia. Seems it’s not just 417 visa holders, but also student visa holders that are being exploited.

On top of that, generally speaking it is more difficult to land a job of any nature in Australia at the moment, I spoke about that in my post called What’s It Really like Trying to Find a Job in Australia? – 2015.

So that’s a very long answer to the question ‘Can I work part-time to help pay off my student education fees in Australia?‘ If you are looking for a shorter answer though, may I suggest…

It is highly unlikely.

For the full story and to watch the videos by Story Hunters on international student exploitation, visit ABC News: High fees, low pay.

Visa Assessment Service
{ 101 comments… add one }
  • Favour July 12, 2020, 9:32 am |

    Hi, I’m from Nigeria and I’m planning on studying in Australia, I have a relative there, can I pay for my tuition fee with my part time job
    Note* I’m coming there for diploma, so can I pay my tuition fee with part time job , though I have a relative?

    • BobinOz July 13, 2020, 4:40 pm |

      It has always been very difficult to pay for your tuition fees with part-time work here in Australia, but now, with Covid 19, it’s even harder to do this.

      There are lots and lots of casual workers and part-time workers who are out of work at the moment, so there are really no guarantees that you will even get work, let alone enough to pay your fees.

      In my opinion, it would be too risky to even try.

  • hansraj November 7, 2019, 9:59 pm |


    i’m just 18 and i want to study and work part time in australia and i’ve my on year fees so just tell me if i work part time for a year will it possible for me to get enough paid from which i can pay my tution fees and my other expensives?

    • BobinOz November 8, 2019, 3:57 pm |

      Please read the article above, it explains my thoughts on this entirely.

  • anon October 24, 2019, 5:19 pm |

    Hi Bob!
    My husband is applying to continue undergraduate degree in Perth and I’m going with him. As I’ve read from the T&C of working in Australia, both of us can work 40hrs per fortnight. The annual fee is around 31.000AUD and if both of us work part-time, do you think that we will be able to pay for our tuition fee for the second year? (we’ve had some working experiences and both of us in early 30s). Many thanks for your advice.

    • BobinOz October 28, 2019, 5:20 pm |

      Yes, it is possible. If both of you work the full 40 hours per fortnight for the entire year, between you you would earn enough to cover the $31,000 annual fee.

      So yes, it is doable, but it is not guaranteed. If one or both of you struggles to find regular work, it will be difficult or maybe even impossible to reach your financial target. So it is risky.

      Also, what about all your other expenses like accommodation, travel and food?

  • krishantha July 17, 2019, 6:17 pm |

    Hi bob,
    I am planning to study master degree in perth. cost for a semester is approx Aud 11,000. my wife also going with me. she could work full time & I could work 20 per week. in that case can I cover my living expenses & education fees if both of us get a part time job.

    • BobinOz July 18, 2019, 6:16 pm |

      I suppose it’s possible, but it’s definitely not guaranteed, is not always easy to get a job here as a new migrant, whether part-time or full-time.

      I think your wife would need to work full-time to cover all these costs and it would depend on whether she could get work and also how much she would be able to earn. You working part-time would also help.

      It would be risky though because, as I say, there are no guarantees that either of you will find work.

  • Pratap July 3, 2019, 4:45 pm |

    Hey bob !
    i am under 18 ,should i apply for a college or university ?
    and i also wanted to know ,can student under 18 do jobs and can handle the expenses ?
    my hostel fee is $250 per week/

    • BobinOz July 4, 2019, 5:02 pm |

      There are some quite specific rules about international students coming to Australia when they are under 18, so I think you should look into this in greater detail. The following link will help…

      Hopefully somewhere in there it will tell you if you are able to work as an international student under 18, because I don’t know the answer. Even if you can work, I think you would struggle to earn enough money to pay all your expenses if, by that, you mean also the student fees.

      I couldn’t say whether college or university would be best for you, but whichever it is, my personal view is that you should arrive here with at least enough money to cover the student fees and then hope you can earn enough money to pay for your living expenses.

  • ANONYMOUS May 22, 2019, 3:35 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    I want to apply for a 3 years degree course in melbourne.
    Tuition fee per year is AUD15,500
    I will pay tuition fee for 2yrs in advance and accommodation of AUD300/week for 6months in advance as well.
    Question is, will i be able to pay my tuition fee for the last year and accomodation + other expenses after 6 months?

    • BobinOz May 22, 2019, 8:55 pm |

      Have a look at the maths above in this article, it explains how much you can earn as a maximum, and the likelihood is that you will earn less. By the time you get to that third year, you’re going to need to find another $15,500 tuition fees, and if your rent remains $300 a week, another $15,600 for that.

      You can’t possibly earn that much, and you haven’t eaten anything yet. So you’d be relying on saving money in your first couple of years to pay for the third year, and I don’t think that’s likely to happen.

      So I think it’s unlikely, and certainly very risky, but who knows, maybe you could make it work somehow.

  • Fizz April 20, 2019, 6:11 pm |

    Hi BobinOz, I am enrolling in an Automotive Certificate 3 and 4 courses plus a Diploma in Automotive Technology in Perth as an international student for 2 years with a total cost of AUD $36,382 tuition fees for July 2019 intake. I already make the first payment of AUD $10,132 to confirm my placement in the course with the remaining amount to be pay in 3 installments. The question is am I able to earn the remaining amount to pay may tuition fee as well as to cover my expenses?

    • BobinOz April 23, 2019, 6:56 pm |

      No, I don’t think you can. Read the article in full above, it’s all explained with precise amounts. By my calculations you’d be lucky to earn $23,000 a year, although there are no guarantees you could do that, but you need $26,000.

  • jason bautista February 28, 2019, 2:57 pm |

    hi im planning to go to melbourne Australia as an international student with a course of Certificate III in individual support for 50 weeks due time and Certificate IV for 32 weeks Due time..a total cost of AUD $20,500..i will pay the 2500 as initial question is am i able to earn such amount to pay may tuition fee?.

    • BobinOz March 1, 2019, 7:32 pm |

      It is possible, but not guaranteed. What are you going to live on though? You will still need to pay for accommodation, food, transport and other stuff.

  • Dharuv February 25, 2019, 4:35 pm |

    Which field is best for a maths and science student (information technology,mechanical engineering) in Australia

    • BobinOz February 25, 2019, 7:25 pm |

      Sorry, I have no idea.

  • Anonymous February 17, 2019, 6:35 pm |

    I am planning to do a 2-year master’s program in gold coast. My first year tution fees and accomodation expenses will be provided by my parents. Can i finance my education and accomodation for the 2nd year?

    • BobinOz February 18, 2019, 6:43 pm |

      Impossible for me to say, you haven’t told me the cost of tuition fees or your accommodation. I’d suggest you have a good read of the information above and also read some of the comments already made, because in most cases, it’s highly unlikely that you will earn enough to pay for both tuition fees and accommodation while studying here.

      There are not even any guarantees that you will find regular work, so it is a high risk strategy.

  • Amp February 11, 2019, 2:49 pm |

    Pretty detailed and straight forward article! Kudos!

    Looks like you are still answering queries. thought I could askfor suggestions on my situation.

    I am already in Perth(on PR) working full time and my wife is presently looking for full time job too( got some good prospects). got admission in UWA in masters. The course is pretty expensive (56k over two years) and is in a completely new field. I can pay off the first semester only (14k). the course class distribution is all around the place and requires daily uni visit.
    This leaves me with two options

    1. I quit my job..start masters full time in july 2019… let my wife take care of the day to day expenses as a primary source of income and i supplement it with UberX.

    2. i continue my job(in a field which i do not wish to pursue after masters) .. start masters part time in March 2019…take 1 or 2 units each semster… wish that the lectures are all squeezed between 1 or 2 days only and work the rest 3 days (given my employer agree to that) but this would increase the 2 years obiously as i will not be able to take 4 units each semester.

    there are multilpe suggestions i have heard like the fact that going to uni is not compulsory (so i can go for option 1 without leaving job) or things like i can earn enough on uberx to support us and pay the bills (since i have no working restrictions)..

    which one would you recommend?

    • BobinOz February 12, 2019, 7:39 pm |

      If only I knew the answer, but I just don’t. I think this is something you need to sit down and work out for yourself, there will be pros and cons with each solution you come up with, it’s a case of choosing which one suits you best.

      Whichever choice you make, I hope it’s the right one for you and your family.

  • Vin January 28, 2019, 10:43 am |

    Hi bob ,I’m planning to do a 2 years masters degree program but my parents will pay my 1st year tuition of 20000usd,can I work and pay for my 2nd year fees while in Australia ?

    • BobinOz January 29, 2019, 4:13 pm |

      If all your parents are going to pay for is your first year tuition, then I would imagine any money you might earn in that first year will be needed to pay for your accommodation, food and other living expenses for that first year. I do not believe you would additionally be able to save enough money for your second year fees.

      Have a good look at the figures I have posted above in the article, and also read all the comments and replies here, and you will get a good idea of the situation.

  • Dorjee Wangdi December 25, 2018, 6:09 pm |

    I am planing to study Mphil at the university of sydney. Tuition fee is 37500$. My wife and I can work unlimited. Can we cover my tuition fee and living expense.

    • BobinOz December 27, 2018, 5:40 pm |

      I’m not sure how you can work unlimited? My understanding is that students can only work 40 hours a fortnight. If you can both work full time though, then yes, it is possible, but it is certainly not guaranteed that you will.

  • Riz October 5, 2018, 6:18 pm |

    If I get a fee waiver, can I work to meet my expenses?

    • BobinOz October 8, 2018, 4:19 pm |

      Yes, I suppose it is possible, but it is also very risky and unlikely. To be able to meet all your expenses (except for tuition fees) you would really need to be working every hour that you are able to do so as a student and at the regulation wage.

      This would basically mean always being employed by a good company for the full 40 hours per fortnight. There is certainly no guarantee of that happening and I would say it’s probably unlikely that you would be able to do that.

  • Dulsara August 22, 2018, 10:51 pm |

    I would like to ask if I stay in my Uncle’s home, and all accommodation and food will be covered by him, I only have part time job with student visa, is it still possible to pay my own education which cost about $30200/ year?
    I’m planning to go for Installment payment.
    Thank you.

    • BobinOz August 23, 2018, 9:13 pm |

      According to my figures above, you would struggle to earn all of your education costs each year. My calculation suggests you will earn about $23,000 at best, which will leave you $7000 short.

      It’s risky, especially as there is no guarantee you’ll find a part-time job anyway.

  • Boddepalli Venkatesh August 9, 2018, 3:28 pm |

    Excuse me sir i am going to do my masters in agriculture, do you have any about the maximum salary jobs i could be paid by the part time jobs related to my studies.

    • BobinOz August 9, 2018, 7:29 pm |

      Sorry, I have no idea, but I would suspect the minimum wages posted in the article above would be a good guide. It may be more, but it could actually be less.

  • Parisa July 29, 2018, 7:18 pm |

    Hi.My parents are gonna pay my first tuition and I’m gonna live my aunt do you think I can pay my tuition? wich is about 12500 fro each semester?

    • BobinOz July 30, 2018, 7:31 pm |

      I think you could have a pretty reasonable chance of earning $12,500 to pay for one semester, but I think you would struggle to pay $25,000 for two semesters. Please check my figures above to see what I mean.

  • luobin July 23, 2018, 12:19 pm |

    I would like to ask if I stay with a friend, and all accommodation and food will be covered by my friend, I only have part time job with student visa, is it still possible to pay my own education which cost about $7000/ semester?
    If you could give me any suggestion on how to get a part time job with student visa holder would be appreciated.
    Thank you in advance

    • BobinOz July 23, 2018, 7:07 pm |

      Assuming your course only has two semesters a year, then yes, it is possible to cover your education costs providing you don’t have any other major outgoings.

      As I have said above, if you are fortunate enough to get a regular job working 40 hours a fortnight for the whole of the year, then you could potentially earn $23,000. But that is a big assumption to make, there aren’t any guarantees of getting a job at all, so it is still a bit risky.

      I can’t help you get a job though, that’s down to you being persistent, a good worker and in the right place at the right time.

      Good luck, Bob

      • luobin July 23, 2018, 10:13 pm |

        Hi Bob,

        Thanks for your info.
        I am still in the process to apply the student visa. Before making big decisions so I need to make sure lot of things first.
        What I understand from your article, worst case if I only get a part time job which can make me earn about $17/hour with the maximum 40hours fortnight, I would get the minimum $16.000/ year?
        Am I correct?
        Once I get the student visa I will try to reach you.
        Thank you so much in advance Bob

        • BobinOz July 24, 2018, 7:33 pm |

          No, you misunderstand, the worst case is you don’t find any part-time job at all! As I keep saying, there are no guarantees that you will get work at all.

          What you are looking at there is pretty much the best case scenario, the only way to make it better would be to earn more than $17 an hour and still work the maximum hours allowed.

      • Haider August 10, 2018, 5:00 am |

        Hi, I am planning to study Master of Accounting from Macquarie University.Annual fees are $34400 and it is 1 to 2 year course depending on RLP.Accomodation and food is not a problem as I will stay with my uncle.I will have to pay all study expenses without any support.Guide me whether I should study in Australia or not?

        • BobinOz August 10, 2018, 7:17 pm |

          Please check out the figures I have included in the above article which will show you that you will almost certainly be about $12,000 a year short.

          So no, I don’t think you should study in Australia, there simply are no guarantees you will be able to earn enough money to pay all of your tuition fees, in fact it’s highly unlikely you will.

  • Vinod July 1, 2018, 6:22 am |

    Hai i wanted to do mechanical masters in Australia ..which college is more preferable. To get good placement … I can’t effort more money

    • BobinOz July 2, 2018, 5:45 pm |

      Sorry, I have no idea, I know nothing about colleges or their costs.

  • Ron July 1, 2018, 2:16 am |

    Somebody told me that for doing nursing the college arranges for work for the student for the legal limit of 20 hours per week. Is it true or not ? Kindly help.

    • BobinOz July 2, 2018, 5:44 pm |

      I don’t know if it’s true or not, I’ve not heard of that one, it sounds highly unlikely though.

  • Dipendra June 23, 2018, 11:10 pm |

    I am applying for undergraduate degree in australi being international student can i pay my education cost working part time job and during vacation?

    • BobinOz June 25, 2018, 4:15 pm |

      It is highly unlikely; please read the above article in full for details and also read some of the comments and replies here.

  • Jade June 6, 2018, 12:38 pm |

    Hi, I’m 18 years old (no experience in work) and I have just got my letter for enrolling at a university in Melbourne, my Uni annual tuition fee is roughly about 39000. Is it possible for me to work part-time and also doing some cash in hand jobs (maybe 1 or 2 jobs more) to earn enough money to pay for my tuition fee including money for buying stuff that needs for studying like textbooks and so on + cost for public transport, mobile phone, internet. (I live with my relative so I don’t have to worry about cost for accommodation and food).

    • BobinOz June 6, 2018, 7:25 pm |

      Unfortunately, I think that would be somewhere between incredibly difficult to totally impossible. By my calculations above, if you work every hour you are legally allowed to work each year, and if you were to get the minimum hourly rate for a 21-year-old, even though you’re only 18, you’d still only earn $23,000 a year.

      From what you are saying, you will need to earn at least double that to cover what you need to cover, and I really don’t think that would be possible. There’s not even any guarantees you’d find regular work of any kind, and if you do extra jobs for cash over and above what you are allowed to work, then you are breaking the law and that is often when you start to get ripped off my unscrupulous employers.

      I think you need a different plan.

      • Jade June 6, 2018, 11:05 pm |

        What if I try my best and get a scholarship and reduce my tuition fee to 13000 per year, then only work for 20 hours per week according to my visa, can I make enough money for the expenses I list above?

        • BobinOz June 7, 2018, 8:45 pm |

          Yes, that would be much more doable, but of course, still no guarantees. If you’re confident of finding regular work though, because you’ve never had problems getting part-time work before, then you should be okay.

          • Jade June 7, 2018, 8:49 pm |

            Umh, Thank you for your help, I’m very appreciated.

  • Jesvin George May 8, 2018, 1:25 am |

    I’m planning to study BSC.nursing in Brisbane, can I pay my fees which is almost 16000 per semester. My parents will pay out my first years fees and the next two years I have to pay…. Will be able to pay my fees working as Assistant nurse?

    • BobinOz May 8, 2018, 7:10 pm |

      I don’t know, but if I were you I would research exactly what your qualifications need to be to work here as an assistant nurse. If you can get a job in that field, then maybe you would earn $25 or $30 an hour, so let’s say $600 a week.

      But even if that could happen, you’d still be a bit short of your target of $16,000 for each semester. It’s very close though, but it’s also very risky, as there is no guarantee that you will be able to get regular and ongoing employment all the time.

  • Sophak San April 23, 2018, 3:07 am |

    Hi Bob,
    I’m thinking of getting a scholarship from Australia Government to undertake Master in Adelaide. The scholarship, of course, offers monthly stipend to the max. period of study in Australia. Will I classify under the same terms and conditions of student visa? Is it easy to find a part time job in the city?
    Thank you.

    • BobinOz April 23, 2018, 7:02 pm |

      Sorry, I don’t answer any questions about visas and terms and conditions, I have to leave that to MARA agents and/or the government. If you Google the type of visa you will be getting, then go to the government’s page about it, you should see the full terms and conditions.

      As for a part-time job, if you check out the comments on my main page about Adelaide, then you will find that the biggest gripe is how hard it is to find a job. I believe that is also the case for students as well.

  • Fatima April 16, 2018, 8:02 pm |

    Hi Bob! I applied for the july intake and now I have recieved the offer letter. Im going for the bachelors degree in CS. Now I already have a place to live and the food will also not be an issue for some time. The problem that im facing is that will I be able to earn enough to cover my tuition fee only or not?? That is around 12000 after every 5 months aprox. Plus its Sydney!

    • BobinOz April 17, 2018, 7:27 pm |

      I think it would be difficult. Even if you worked the full 40 hours a fortnight and got a regular job paying $20 an hour, you will only be earning around $1600 a month, that’s $8000 every five months.

      So even if you have a really good run of continued employment at pretty good money, you would still struggle, but what if you don’t find work so easily?

      Yes, you might be able to earn more when college is in session, but for you to get near your target you will need to have every single piece of luck working your way, and then some. It’s risky my view.

  • Ram Singh April 8, 2018, 9:46 pm |

    Thanks for this informative article. I am planning to move to Melbourne from New Delhi. My wife will be on Student Visa and I’ll accompany her on spouse visa. I’ll have unlimited working rights as she’s enrolled for a post graduate course. I am from IT background and my wife is from Accounts background. I have calculated and is it achievable for both of us to earn together AUD6000 every month to cover our expenses?

    • BobinOz April 9, 2018, 7:31 pm |

      Yes, it is possible that together you could earn that amount each month, but that assumes that you are both successful in finding work and that isn’t guaranteed. Melbourne is better than most places for job opportunities though, so you have a chance.

      Do your research though, my page Getting a Job or a Sponsorship will help with that.

  • chhayla April 6, 2018, 1:38 am |

    Hello Admin, i am wondering if you could work without time restriction on weekend like saturday and sunday under the student visa since there is no class on sat and sun ?

    • BobinOz April 6, 2018, 5:43 pm |

      If you Google ‘Australian student visa working hours’ you will find the governments page explaining the rules. I think you will see that it’s pretty clear that the weekend is not regarded as ‘out of session’, and therefore you would not be able to work without time restrictions.

  • Brao March 15, 2018, 1:56 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    I am international student planning to come to aus to study. well it was my dream to study there. thinking of coming with my family. me & my spouse are from IT/engr background with experience. Is there a chance of getting good high paying part time jobs( like 30-40 $ / hour) ? also Is there any restriction/limitation on how much we should earn while studying. I heard that it is govt policy that we can’t earn more 18000 $ /year even though we get a good high paying jobs, is it true ? Since its very big decision obviously I am under tension. please guide me?

    • BobinOz March 15, 2018, 7:38 pm |

      Well, I’ve never heard of this wage limit, and I did some looking around, found a page that helped. If you Google “Work conditions for student visa holders’ and look for the home affairs website of the government, you will see it doesn’t mention any wage restrictions.

      You are limited to 40 hours a fortnight though whilst your course is in session, but unlimited hours when not.

      I think it would be incredibly hard to get a high paying job as a part-time student, I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I wouldn’t rely on it if I were you. In Adelaide for example, somebody recently commented that it was impossible to even get a low paid job as a student in that city.

      It might be a different story in Sydney and Melbourne, but then accommodation costs are through the roof in those places.

      • Chittaranjan Sharma March 31, 2018, 7:17 pm |

        Hi bob
        Is it possible to start doing part time job as i started first say of my university.
        My intake was july 2018
        Please provide me any address so that i can earn soem money
        I am an international student.

      • Chittaranjan Sharma March 31, 2018, 7:19 pm |

        Hi bobin
        Is it possible to start doing part time job as i started first say of my university.
        My intake was july 2018
        Please provide me any address so that i can earn soem money
        I am an international student.

  • Suravya March 3, 2018, 1:05 pm |

    So, i am applying for the july intake in diploma of IT and afterwards for bachelors. what kind of long breaks between the semester and during will students get.(Could u please specify the duration of the breaks?)

    • BobinOz March 5, 2018, 5:34 pm |

      You would need to check this directly with the college or university to get an accurate answer on this.

  • Samassa Moussa March 3, 2018, 9:39 am |

    Hello sir.I am an international student from Mali(west africa) how can I get a visa to go abroad and study in Australia.
    Thanking you.

    • BobinOz March 5, 2018, 5:31 pm |

      You need to apply to the Australian government, for more information about that, see my page about Visas.

  • Neem Rehman February 19, 2018, 1:03 pm |

    I do have plan to study in Australia at sydney.Can you suggest me the very lowest tution fee university ,for doing Bachelor in Computer science or IT .And by doing part time job can i afford my yearly coast my university,living,food etc ?

    • BobinOz February 19, 2018, 5:35 pm |

      Well, as it says in the above article, it is highly unlikely you would be able to fund everything by doing a part-time job here. So as far as I’m concerned, the answer to that is a definite no.

      I have no idea about the cheapest university, you would have to check their fees and compare.

  • Carolyn January 19, 2018, 12:14 am |

    Ws interested in studying in Australia but the comments are discouraging.

  • Marisa January 16, 2018, 10:15 pm |

    I always love to live in Australia. I’ve read most of your articles. So now I need an advice.
    I’m planning to come as an international student for Masters too.
    If my University tuition fee will be 30.000 AUD, and I bring 40.000 AUD totally. as I pay by each semester like 10.000 AUD and if I work as a Barista in a coffeeshop Victoria in Melbourne, Will I be able to keep up living like this for 2 years and cover my expenses?

    • BobinOz January 17, 2018, 12:08 am |

      This is a really tricky one for me, I don’t think I can answer it. If I understand your situation correctly, you will bring enough money to cover all of your tuition fees over the two years, plus an additional $10,000.

      By my calculations above, if you are over 21 the most you will be able to earn each year will be around $23,000. With your extra $10,000, you can add $5000 to that each year meaning you will need to survive on $28,000 a year. That’s assuming you find constant ongoing employment at the full minimum rate if you’re over 21, and there is no guarantee that’s going to happen.

      Can you do that?

      I don’t know, if you can share a room on the cheap, maybe $100/150 a week for that, then that will leave you max $400 a week to get by on. Getting a job isn’t easy though, and that’s the problem.

      I suspect it’s possible, but I would love to hear what other students think about this, students who have tried to survive on this kind of money while staying in employment.

      Any other students got any advice on this?

      • Marisa January 17, 2018, 5:35 pm |

        Hey Thanks for the answer.
        Well, I’m 24 I have no problem on living in shared student house , I have just heard that there are many coffeeshops in Melbourne and I wont have difficulties to find a job in coffeeshop as a barista or simillar. Heard that there are many casula jobs on boards in Universities. but as you said heard tht finding real jobs are tough.

        Yeah I’d be thankful if I hear other comments too.

  • NamgyelR January 8, 2018, 6:45 pm |

    Your yearly university expense is too low. Now days it’s anywhere between $13,000 to $17,000 per semester on average. That amounts to $26,000 to $34,000 a year just on tuition fees. My tuition fees is almost $17,000 a semester. I don’t know how I am going to make that.

    • BobinOz January 9, 2018, 8:25 pm |

      Yes, I know the university fee I have quoted is way too low, I mention it in the above article and I also say it could be two, three or even four times the amount I have used, depending on the university.

      The point is I deliberately chose a very low tuition fee so I could illustrate how impossible it is to work here in order to pay your fees as you go. If your fees are almost $17,000 a semester, I don’t know how you are going to make that either.

      That’s why I wrote this article, to try and warn people of the dangers of thinking they can cover the costs by working part-time.

  • Alleakim Bautista December 5, 2017, 9:04 pm |

    what will happen to the employer if he/she get caught from allowing her student visa worker to work more tjan 20 hours per week? and he is only paying this studeny on cash basis everyday?

    • BobinOz December 6, 2017, 12:39 am |

      Who knows? Who cares? I’m sure this isn’t an unusual occurrence though, every country has its black economy. Australia’s is said to be worth around $40 billion.

      • Jon February 20, 2018, 3:00 am |

        And there you have the explanation as to why nearly every small business you walk into appears entirely staffed by Asians. I always imagine 20 hrs on the books and the rest cash in hand.
        And in time they get their qualification and apply for residence.

        • BobinOz February 20, 2018, 9:29 pm |

          Payments for cash has been going on since tax began, nothing unusual about it here in Australia or any other country in the world.

          Interestingly, the reason you see more Asians is apparently because unscrupulous bosses know that they can exploit them more due to their (sometimes, not always) difficulty with the English language.


          For my source on that one.

          • Jon February 21, 2018, 3:57 am |

            I think we are talking about the student visa to PR here, although I have come across Brits who built up from their working holiday visa in the past.
            The Asians I have met have seemed content rather than exploited and are usually working in Asian owned small businesses. I have no experience of the fruit picking racket.

  • NR November 27, 2017, 4:11 pm |

    I can hardly make tuition fees and this is what happens.

  • NR November 27, 2017, 4:09 pm |

    Got charged with an infringement worth 1 whole week’s pay!!!!! This is depressing.

    • BobinOz November 27, 2017, 8:43 pm |

      Well, yes, since I’ve been here I’ve had one parking fine and one speeding fine, and they do tend to hit you quite hard.

      $60 (2009) and $168 (this year) respectively. I suspect we all break the rules every now and then, and mostly we get away with it, but when we get caught it costs. Hopefully, as a student, you have learnt a lesson.

      No point in being depressed about it, move on, have fun and try not to do it again.

  • Ozimandias October 15, 2017, 2:29 pm |

    It depends on your other costs. Will you be living in Melbourne or Sydney?

    It is possible to share a room with 7 others in Melbourne but my experience is that there are sleazy and unscrupulous people who take advantage of students, so be careful, especially if you are female! I would not do it, personally, but when you are young, adventurous and desperate, you are adaptive to almost anything!

    There is a limit to the number of hours that a student can work per week, under current Australian rules.

    I knew an Asian woman in Melbourne, who is now doing very well, but she was exhausted by the work and study after a few years. She did an Australian nursing degree – which took four years from diploma to bachelor degree. Under new rules, a nurse now works for peanuts for a year, on top of the four year diploma/degree.

    During the degree and diploma, she worked as a nurse at night and on the weekend up to the maximum number of hours allowed, which I think was 20 per fortnight. It was still not enough. She had to borrow money on top of that, quite a lot. On a positive note, she was far more experienced as a nurse when she graduated than her Australian colleagues in the class.

    Even then, it was NOT enough money. Be aware of costs, unless you have highly paid work per hour. If you are waiting tables in a restaurant or driving taxis it will not be enough, usually.

    It might be possible in our online world to work via your computer with a business.

    • Anonymous October 18, 2017, 3:14 pm |

      are there any kinds of student loan available for international student in australia?

      • BobinOz October 18, 2017, 9:09 pm |

        I don’t think so, not from the government anyway. Check out for more information.

  • anonymous October 14, 2017, 10:58 pm |

    If i pay the first years fee and for second and third year will i be able to pay my fees?
    My university fee is about 19700AUD.And, won’t i be able to pay up my fees during my holidays by working full time?

    • BobinOz October 16, 2017, 8:51 pm |

      It is unlikely, in my opinion. At best you would probably be able to earn $20 an hour and you are only allowed to work 40 hours a fortnight. That would give you a maximum income of $20,000 a year which would just about pay your fees, but what about your living expenses? What if you don’t find work? Or your pay is less than $20 an hour?

      It all sounds very risky to me.

      • anonymous October 16, 2017, 11:33 pm |

        what about my earning during the holidays?

        • BobinOz October 17, 2017, 7:14 pm |

          Well, I have already included 20 hours per week during holiday periods in the above calculation, how many extra hours do you think you can work? An additional 20? An additional 40? How many weeks holiday a year do you get? Will you find the extra work during these holidays? Will you find any work at all? Will that work only pay $12 an hour?

          I still think it’s risky.

          • Anonymous October 18, 2017, 3:11 pm |

            But i will be able to work ful time during the vacation, won’t I?

            • BobinOz October 18, 2017, 9:07 pm |

              As it says above in the article, you are allowed to work unlimited hours when your course is not in session, but that doesn’t guarantee you would be able to find work for those extended hours.

Leave a Comment

If your comment doesn’t get answered, find out why…..
FAQs and Comment Policy.