Are you a student planning to embark on a whirlwind adventure to the magical city of Melbourne? With its diverse culture and unique lifestyle, Melbourne continues to be one of Australia’s most sought-after study destinations for students all over the world. Home to six of the world’s highest-ranked universities, along with plenty of globally renowned academics and researchers, it comes as no surprise that students are flocking to Melbourne for not just undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, but also short courses in Australia.
However, as the saying goes, every rose has its thorns, and one of the downsides of moving to Melbourne has got to be its ranking as the second-most expensive city in the world. Thankfully, if you are an international student looking to supplement your education with some side income, the good news is that you’re well within your rights to work under your student visa, and there are many jobs out there for you to choose from.
In a bid to help make your adventure to Melbourne as exciting and stress-free as possible, we’ve put together a guide to living and working in Melbourne for international students. If you are curious about living in Melbourne and the opportunities for work in one of the world’s most liveable cities, sit back, relax, and read on to find out more!
Here Are 5 Of The Best Suburbs To Live In For Students In Melbourne
- Carlton —Several universities, notably the University of Melbourne and RMIT University, are accessible on foot from Carlton, which is situated close to the north of Melbourne’s central business district. For students who want to live close to their university and be a part of a lively student community, this makes it the perfect place to reside. Carlton is renowned for its exciting cuisine and cultural scenes. The Lygon Street sector is renowned for its Italian restaurants, cafes, and gelato stores. The suburb has a significant Italian heritage. The Melbourne Museum and the Carlton and United Breweries Museum are only two of the many museums and galleries in Carlton. Public transport in Melbourne connects Carlton with the rest of the city easily because of the area’s numerous tram and bus services.
- South Yarra — The University of Melbourne, RMIT University, and Monash University are all within close proximity to South Yarra, which is located immediately south of the CBD. For students who wish to live close to their college, it is the perfect location. For college students who like to have fun on the weekends, it is the ideal place to live. It is extremely well-liked because of its vibrant shopping, café, and nightlife culture, and its excellent accessibility by tram or train is the cherry on top. With numerous tram and train lines passing through the neighborhood, South Yarra is well connected to the rest of Melbourne by public transport. Students can easily navigate the city and explore other areas because of this.
- St Kilda —Students who want to live in a vibrant, varied community with quick access to institutions, amenities, and entertainment opportunities can choose St Kilda. Due to its broad population, it serves as an inclusive and friendly suburb for students of all backgrounds. The exciting nightlife and upbeat atmosphere of St Kilda are well recognized. The area is a wonderful choice for students who want to socialize and have fun outside of class because it contains a variety of bars, clubs, and live music places.
- Brunswick — Due to its unique and diverse populace, active ambiance, and close proximity to multiple colleges, Brunswick is a well-liked neighborhood among Melbourne’s students. This community-oriented neighborhood is renowned for its multiculturalism and bohemian atmosphere. Brunswick is a terrific destination for students to explore and learn new things because it has so many independent stores, cafes, and restaurants. For students who want to get involved in Melbourne’s arts and cultural scene, the neighborhood is also home to a number of music venues, art galleries, and cultural events that add to its bustling environment.
- Southbank — Due to its close proximity to the city center, ease of access to public transit, and abundance of amenities, Southbank is a fantastic neighborhood for students in Melbourne. The University of Melbourne and RMIT University, among other educational institutions, are located in Southbank, which is immediately south of Melbourne’s central business district. As a result, students who opt to reside in Southbank enjoy quick access to their campuses and are able to take advantage of all the city has to offer in terms of social, academic, and cultural activities. With numerous tram and train stations nearby, Southbank has excellent public transport access to the rest of Melbourne. Students can conveniently tour various areas of Melbourne because of this.
Student Accommodation Options In Melbourne
Short Term Accommodation
When it comes to choosing the ideal type of student accommodation, there are a number of options available. Unless you manage to secure accommodation before touching down in Melbourne, we always recommend booking short-term accommodation before you arrive in Australia and looking for longer-term options when you arrive.
Popular short-term accommodation options include hostels, budget hotels, AirBnB short-stays, and more.
Generally, most universities in Melbourne offer housing officers or residential services to help you assess all of your on-campus accommodation options. It is highly recommended that you contact them before you leave for Melbourne, or as soon as you arrive. University accommodations provide a range of options for students, including high-quality, secure, apartment-style lodging that is often a mere minute away from campus.
Renting An Apartment In Melbourne
If you would rather rent your own apartment in Melbourne, you have the opportunity of choosing from a wide number of accommodation options available all over the city. Depending on your financial situation and needs, you can choose to live in a shared house or simply rent a property of your own. Do note that renting a property on your own will cost significantly more. You may have to fully furnish the property yourself, and you will be required to sign a fixed-term lease and put down a security bond of at least 4 weeks’ rent.
Alternatively, expect to pay between $175-400 a week for a room in a sharehouse, depending on how many people you share with and where you live. It is also important to be aware of the fact that rent payments in either of these arrangements usually do not include any bills such as water, electricity, gas, and internet.
Help For Renters
If you are an international student living in Melbourne and paying for rental accommodation, you have the same rights and obligations as everyone else living in Victoria. Some of your rights include:
- What you need to do when it comes to paying a bond;
- The minimum standards to expect of a rooming house and its rooms; and
- What to do if there is a problem with where you are staying.
In the event of an issue or need for help, Study Melbourne offers a free, confidential, and independent legal service for students.
Transportation In Melbourne
When it comes to transportation and traveling, you’re in luck — Melbourne happens to be one of the best-connected cities in Australia. With its extensive tram network, reliable buses, and trains, there is always an option for students looking to get from point A to point B.
If you are living within metropolitan Melbourne, the best way to get around Melbourne is by tram or Metro Train. You will need to purchase a Myki travel card for your wonderful trips, and the fare you pay is determined by: where you travel, including the zones you crossed. Thankfully, you receive unlimited travel in Zone 1+2 for $9.20 full fare on weekdays. On weekends and public holidays, your daily Myki Money fare is capped at $6.70 (half-price for concessions).
Other travel options in Melbourne include rideshares (Uber, Ola, Didi), standard taxis, rental cars, and the V/Line passenger trains and coaches to towns and cities in regional Victoria.
Working In Melbourne As An International Student
Last but not least (and what you’re probably here for), let’s touch on the topic of working in Melbourne as an international student. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, student visa holders were only allowed to work in Australia for 40 hours per fortnight. However, to address workforce shortages, student visa work hours restrictions have been temporarily relaxed. This will end on 30 June 2023.
Until 30 June 2023, all ongoing students as well as new student arrivals and secondary applicants are able to work more than 40 hours a fortnight in any sector of the economy and work before their course of study commences. However, students are expected to balance study and work commitments despite the flexibility in the number of hours they can work.
Students are still required to:
- maintain their course enrolment
- ensure satisfactory course attendance, and
- ensure satisfactory course progress.
Student visa holders who cancel their enrollment and stop attending classes, or fail to meet satisfactory course progress, may be in breach of their visa conditions.
Ideal Jobs For Students
As a student, you are not restricted by specific categories for paid work — you’re free to take up any job you’d like, provided that it meets the conditions of your visa.
However, the flexible hours and a large number of opportunities in certain industries make for ideal student jobs, including:
- Retail – supermarkets, department stores, boutiques
- Hospitality – cafes, bars, restaurants, food delivery
- Farming and fruit-picking – seasonal work
- Services – childcare, aged care, and cleaning
- Administration and clerical work
Your Work Rights In Australia
As a student in Australia, you are entitled to the same workplace protections as anyone else working in the country. If you’re unsure about these, you are encouraged to approach your university or institution for more advice on your rights in the workforce.
It is also important to note that you are guaranteed to earn at least a minimum rate of pay per hour, regardless of your job title. Familiarising yourself with your worker’s rights and workplace standards now can help you work with confidence upon finding your first professional role in Melbourne.
Is It Illegal To Accept A Cash-Paying Job?
Lastly, it is important to fully understand the legalities surrounding how you are paid when working as a student in Australia. Contrary to popular belief, accepting cash compensation for a job is not illegal, as long as employers carry out their responsibilities.
Cash in hand is legal in instances where:
- You are being paid the correct amount in wages, in accordance with the relevant award and minimum wage guidelines;
- Your employer takes tax out of your wages;
- You are covered by the employer’s worker’s compensation in the case of an accident;
- You receive a pay slip to prove your earnings and the amount of tax taken out; and
- You are provided with a payment summary at the end of the year detailing your full earnings for the year and the amount of tax deducted.
In the event that any of these obligations are not met, a cash-in-hand job is considered to be unlawful and you are strongly advised to seek out alternative employment.
Students who desire to live, work, and study in Melbourne will find a multitude of opportunities in this dynamic city. Melbourne has something for everyone, from its top-notch educational institutions and colleges to its thriving arts and entertainment scene. Plan ahead, do your homework, and be open to new experiences if you want to get the most out of your stay here. Melbourne offers something for everyone, whether you’re looking for reasonably priced housing in one of the city’s hip areas, looking for part-time work to finance your studies, or just enjoying the city’s many parks, amazing cafes, and attractions. You can make the most of your time as a student in Melbourne and develop experiences that will last a lifetime with a little bit of planning and a willingness to embrace the city’s broad and cosmopolitan community.