23 May 2008

Student Jobs and Finances

How much is the basic pay of a student who is doing a part time job?

Ahmad: The FairPay Commission has set $12.5 per hour as the minimum wage.

Rajan added:

We also know that a lot small business owners take advantage of overseas students and lure them into cash in hand jobs where they pay them about $8 per hour or so. It is better to look for a job which sticks to the Government Regulations.

You can't do much about it if your cash in hand employer decides not to pay you at all.

How much time it would take to find a job after reaching Australia(by student visa)?

Ahmad: Depends on how hard you look...

Q: Is there any placement agencies who assist to find part time jobs?

Ahmad: Yes. The majority of job-searches are done online though.

Q: Is it possible to earn some money during the course by doing part time jobs? Is it possible to save at least 300AUD per month?

Ahmad: Yes. 20 hours of work a week is allowed during semesters...How much you can actually work depends on your timetable.

Q:Is it possible to save at least 300 AUD per month?

Ahmad: If you are looking at paying your fee, living expenses and still having $200 left, I would say probably not.

You should be able to break even and perhaps save some money provided you live in relatively cheap accommodation, work a substantial portion of the 20 hours allowed, and don't spend extravagantly.

Michelle: Earning money to pay full fees and living costs by working 20 hours per week during semester is very unusual & probably not feasible.

Ahmad & Rajan have been posting answers to questions in the Melbourne Community on orkut. Reproduced with permission.

08 May 2008

How to find a house to rent for six people

I received the following email yesterday:

Hi, my name is S. B. I saw the blog and understand that you have some knowledge about renting houses just walking distance from the Caulfield campus? I am going over at the end of June 2008 and I am in need of a big house. There are at least 6 of us. Is it possible if you could kindly provide any information to us regarding any house with 5 or more rooms available? We prefer taking the whole house. Your help would be much appreciated.

From Michelle:
Its good to hear you're getting organised early, by getting together a group who will live together. Its more difficult to actually rent a house before you get here, and you should be careful to thoroughly inspect any house before renting it. Beware that some of the rental accommodation in Melbourne is not very well maintained.

If you are sure that you want to live within walking distance of Caulfield campus, you will have only a limited number of houses available to rent. You will have many more accommodation options if you are prepared to take a train or tram, or cycle to the University. I have to admit the transport would be expensive, at $28 for a week if you confine yourself to "Zone 1", but rents can be cheaper a little further from the city centre. Rents for a 4 bedroom house within walking distance of the campus in Caulfield and Malvern are advertised as high as $1000 per month, but search more widely down the train line in Carnegie, Murrumbeena, Hughesdale or Oakleigh and you could find a house like this one for only $450 per week.

One thing many students do to reduce costs is share a room, and there are a few houses and flats set up for high density student living (for example, see this ad on Looking through the rental advertisements on and I can see that there are very few houses for rent with more than 4 bedrooms. To fit 5 people, you may have to rent a 3 or 4 bedroom house, and convert a living room or garage to living space, or share bedrooms. Many 3 or 4 bedroom houses will have a large living room (with chairs, TV etc) which some people convert to 2 bedrooms.

While you can contact advertisers on websites like and before you arrive, I don't think you will get very far. My suggestion is that one or two of you arrive a couple of weeks early to find a house for the rest of you to live.

I hope this advice proves useful.

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