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!
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Suburbs To Live In Melbourne
- 2 Student Accomodation Options In Melbourne
- 3 Help For Renters
Best Suburbs To Live In Melbourne
Once you’ve acquired your student visa and a Confirmation Of Enrolment Request (CoE) from your chosen university, one of the most important things to consider is where you are going to live in Melbourne. Many students choose to live as close to school as possible for easy travelling, but there are also a certain few suburbs that are incredibly popular with international students.
Here are 5 of the best suburbs to live in for students in Melbourne:
1. Carlton — Carlton has long been one of the top destinations for student accommodation, due to its proximity to a number of different prestigious universities including The University of Melbourne, RMIT, Victoria University and more. It is also home to a bustling stretch of Italian restaurants, supermarkets and the CBD shops, making it a highly popular suburb amongst international students.
2. South Yarra — South Yarra is one of the best locations to live in for students who enjoy letting loose on the weekend. A thriving shopping, café and nightlife culture make it incredibly popular, and its high accessibility via tram or train is just the icing on the cake.
3. St Kilda — Close to the beach and with no shortage of restaurants, cafés, live music, cinemas, festivals and more, St. Kilda is one of the most colourful suburbs in Melbourne. This suburb is a great place to live, and is easily accessible by a variety of trams that go into the city and beyond.
4. Brunswick — Often referred to as Melbourne’s hipster capital, Brunswick is a hub for young art creators and artists alike. If you want to get away from the hustle and the bustle of the CBD, finding accommodation in Brunswick is a great way to get away from the craziness of the city, without being too far from a number of different universities.
5. Southbank — Southbank is no stranger to international students, thanks to its plethora of skyscraper apartment buildings. Located a stone’s throw away from the city, Southbank is also home to one of Australia’s most popular entertainment destinations – Crown Casino. There are numerous apartments available for rent, and this suburb is easily accessible via tram or train (nearest stations: Flinders or Southern Cross).
Student Accomodation 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 look 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 minutes 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 payment 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 travelling, 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 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 taxi, 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 you 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 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 workers 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 to the relevant award and minimum wage guidelines;
- Your employer takes tax out of your wages;
- You are covered by employer’s workers compensation in the case of an accident;
- You receive a pay slip to prove their earnings and the amount of tax taken out; and
- You are provided with a payment summary at the end of the year detailing your ull 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.
And there you have it – everything you need to know about living and working in Melbourne as an international student. Are you planning to travel to Melbourne for study sometime in the near future? Have some burning questions regarding topics we haven’t touched on in today’s article? Be sure to share your questions, thoughts, ideas and comments in the comments section below!