Maximize Your Earnings as an International Student in Australia:

Thursday 14 September 2023
In 2023, international students in Australia have the perfect opportunity to balance their studies with work, thanks to the revised work permit regulations. Our comprehensive guide delves deep into the potential annual earnings a student can expect abiding by the laws that allow 48 work hours per fortnight during the academic semesters and full-time work during the academic breaks.
Maximize Your Earnings as an International Student in Australia:

A Comprehensive Guide to Working While Studying

In the land of unparalleled opportunities that is Australia, international students not only experience premier educational opportunities but can also benefit from a healthy work-study balance. The Australian government permits international students to work up to 48 hours per fortnight during the academic semesters and full-time during the breaks, which sets the stage for an enriching student life brimming with professional experiences. In this guide, we bring to the fore various scenarios to help a typical 22-year-old international student navigate through the available opportunities and optimise their earnings while conforming to the current legislations.

Understanding the Fundamentals

The Australian Minimum Wage

As of July 1, 2023, the minimum wage in Australia is AUD 23.23 per hour. International students are encouraged to stay informed about the wage rates to plan their finances during their studies.

Work Rights for International Students

International students are permitted to work 48 hours per fortnight during the academic semester periods, which translates to an average of 24 hours per week. During the recognised academic breaks, they can work up to 44 hours a week, resulting in a surge in their earnings.

Potential Earnings: Scenarios and Calculations

Let us delve deeper into various scenarios to calculate the potential earnings of a 22-year-old international student, keeping in mind a two-semester academic year and a full-time work schedule during the academic breaks.

To calculate the total potential earnings over the year, we need to add the earnings during the academic semesters and the earnings during the academic break:

Semester Earnings

  • Hours per Fortnight: 48 hours
  • Hourly Wage: AUD 23.23
  • Weeks per Semester: 17 weeks (one semester)
  • Fortnights per Semester: 17 weeks ÷ 2 = 8.5 fortnights

Total Semester Earnings

= 48 hours/fortnight × 8.5 fortnights/semester × 23.23/hour = $9,471.12 per semester

Annual Earnings During Semesters

  • Semesters per Year: 2

Annual Earnings During Semesters

= 9,471.12/semester × 2 semesters/year = $18,942.24 per year

Earnings During the Academic Break

  • Hourly Wage: AUD 23.23
  • Hours per Week: 44 hours
  • Weeks of Academic Break: 18 weeks

Earnings During Break

= 44 hours/week ×18 weeks × 23.23/hour = $18,398.16

Total Annual Earnings

To find the total annual earnings, we add the earnings during the semesters to the earnings during the breaks:

Total Annual Earnings

= 18,942.24 + 18,398.16 = $37,340.40 per year

It is important to note that these calculations represent a approximate potential earning scenario and actual earnings may vary based on individual circumstances and work experience.

Widening Horizons: Job Opportunities

Australia boasts a vibrant job market with opportunities spanning various sectors including retail, hospitality, administration, and more. Venturing into these domains allows students to augment their earnings while garnering invaluable practical experience.

Tax Implications

Being gainfully employed brings the students under the tax net. Students should acquaint themselves with the Australian tax rules, including the tax-free threshold and the provisions for claiming the tax back at the financial year-end, which can substantially enhance their take-home earnings.

Budgeting and Financial Planning

Balancing earnings with educational expenditures demands good financial planning. Students are encouraged to budget their expenses well to maintain financial stability.

Rights and Responsibilities

International students, like all Australian workers, are entitled to a safe working environment and fair wages. Being aware of one’s rights and duties should result in a good work experience.


In conclusion, understanding and adapting to the work regulations can pave the way for an enhanced work-study experience in Australia. While the scenario presented is theoretical and based on the maximum allowed work hours, individual earnings may vary. Nonetheless, it paints an optimistic picture, promising substantial earnings for international students willing to fully utilise the work opportunities available while pursuing their studies in Australia. Working part-time not only alleviates financial constraints but also provides a rich and varied experience for international students giving them skills and experience for a bright future.


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