Why your student visa shouldn’t stop you from pursuing a job in your field!

You may be an international student living in Australia and working in something out of your field for a reason. 

You may still need some time to improve your English skills, or you think you are not ready to take your career to the next level yet. Or, you are waiting for the time when you will be able to apply for a visa that allows you to work full-time hours. 

If you are not looking for a job related to your qualifications because of your student visa, you’re not the only one. 

“As international students, we are many times conditioned to thinking that when we first arrive in another country, we can only do certain kinds of jobs that do not attract the locals,” said Marcelle Batista. 

According to her, “because of this belief, many people find jobs out of their fields. And while they’re making money, they don’t want to go back, or even don’t believe they can do it after some time.”

Student and working in the Industry 

Currently studying Civil & Structural Engineering Design and Drafting at TAFE SA, Marcelle is also working as a Draft Person at an Engineering firm on a casual basis.  

She got the position three months after settling residence in Adelaide. But her job search had started months early when she was still living in Perth. Marcelle was already an architect in Brazil when she moved to Western Australia in 2017. 

Although communicating in English wasn’t a problem, she was not confident about pursuing a job in her field at the beginning. 

“I looked for other kinds of jobs and ended up in retail for more than a year. I started looking for a job in architectural practices four months after I had arrived,” she declared. 

It took her eight months to find her first opportunity to become a volunteer in an office. The two months Marcelle spent there were essential for her to build networking, gain local experience, and learn how to improve her portfolio.

It was not about a visa 

While visiting companies to drop off her resume, the first question employers used to ask was about her visa. Though it happened most of the time, it didn’t keep her from trying.

 “When I started my job search, I thought that my visa limitations could be a hindrance. However, this never stopped me from searching,” she said. 

 “I have always believed that employers think differently. They have different needs, and at some point, I would find one that would give me the opportunity. And I only needed this one chance to show that my visa restriction didn’t mean much compared to the good work I could do,” she added. 

Knowing the options 

Before beginning the job search, Marcelle was aware of the alternatives she had. By being able to work 40 hours in a fortnight, she knew that her choices would be casual or part-time employment. 

“I realised that although many employers see this condition as a limitation, uncountable others open their doors for international students,” she said. 

Within Australia, there are three different contract options. Companies may offer full-time positions for those willing to make 38+ regular hours a week. They can also employ people to work fewer hours on a casual and part-time basis. 

The Lynx recruitment specialist Shania George explains that both full-time and part-time workers can have a permanent or temporary contract. However, full-time will usually have a salary negotiated with their employer, while part-time and casual employees normally receive payments according to their award rate. Visit the Fair Work Australia website to learn more. 

Hospitality may be one of the industries with the highest number of casual positions available. As stated by the specialist, “it allows employers the flexibility to utilise their employees on a needs basis.”

In other areas, it may not happen as often. But, there are other possibilities. 

“It is uncommon to find casual positions in engineering, business, and IT, though, it is not unheard of. Employers usually do not require employees to be as flexible, so part-time and full-time positions are most common,” Shania said. 

An extra help 

According to the specialist, international students should look for part-time positions if they want to gain local experience. They may also decide to pursue their career if they wish to remain in Australia. In this case, they may be eligible to obtain sponsorship.

“That’s where Lynx People come in! We can assist international students in getting a part-time or casual job in their field by negotiating with Australian employers on their behalf. If you are looking for a full-time job, we can assist you in finding an employer that is willing to sponsor you,” she declared. 

To increase your chances of landing a job related to your qualifications, Shania gives the students some suggestions: 

  • Know your visa restrictions;
  • Research your job/industry in Australia;
  • Consider consulting with a migration agent to determine the visa(s) you could be eligible for, as well as what your pathway to a PR will look like (if you wish to stay in Australian permanently). 

“International students should keep in mind that there are opportunities for everyone. There will be an employer who will be able to hire an international student regardless of how many hours they can work. I tend to think that big companies approve and encourage diversity, as this is a big deal in Australia. Therefore, we do have equal opportunities,” said Marcelle. Would you like to learn how Lynx People can help you? Move on to this page.