A backpacker’s guide to employment!

As a backpacker travelling around Australia money can often be a little tight - even if you are staying in a budget hostel, make your own food and all the other money saving tricks you pick up along the way!

One option is to get a job while you travel. And yes, we are indeed talking about becoming a working holiday maker! Urban Central Cheap Accommodation’s quide to employment is here to help you along the way, because there are a few things you need to know before you can get cracking!  


Working Holiday Visa

Firtsly, you have to make sure you are eligible to work in Australia. Australia offers Working Holiday visas and Work and Holiday visas (Yes, these are two different visas). Check out which one you are able to apply for. It must be approved before you enter Australia.

Find more information on the Australian Immigration’s website: http://www.immi.gov.au/Visas/Pages/417.aspx


Travel and Health Insurance 

You should have travel insurance when coming to Australia. In fact, medical insurance is strongly reccommended by the Australian Immigration when you are on a Working Holiday visa.

The Australian Government has signed Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA) with the governments of the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Malta, Italy, Republic of Ireland and New Zealand which entitles you to limited subsidised health services for immediately necessary treatment while visiting Australia. Find more information here: http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/medicare/reciprocal-health-care-agreements

If you don’t organise the insurance in your own country, BUPA sells health insurances to overseas visitors in Australia. Read more about it here and get a quote: http://www.bupa.com.au/health-insurance/cover/overseas-visitors


Bank Account

When arriving in Australia, you need to open up an Australian Bank account. The biggest banks in Australia are:

  • ANZ
  • Commonwealth
  • NAB
  • Westpac

To open a bank account you need your passport and proof of address. Urban Central Hostel will help you out with the latter!


Tax File Number

A Tax File Number (TFN) is a unique nine-digit number issued to individuals which allows you to work and pay taxes! There are a number of situations where you will be asked to provide your TFN, such as when you start work or change jobs.

In order to get a TFN you will need your passport and an Australian postal address.

Find more information on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website: www.ato.gov.au/individuals/tax-file-number/


Tax Return

You are also able to apply for a tax return when you’re on a Working Holiday Visa. You can apply online (E-tax) or paper application.

For more information on Tax Return visit: www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Lodging-your-tax-return/


A Guide for Young Workers

There are of course certain rights and entitlements you have in Australia while working. You also have responsibilities in Australia as an employee.

Here is a link with an overview and heaps of handy information for young workers: http://www.fairwork.gov.au/about-us/policies-and-guides/best-practice-guides/a-guide-for-young-workers


Typical Backpacker Jobs

There are of course a number of different jobs a backpacker can get in Australia. However, there are some typical backpacker jobs out there: 

  •  Working in Hostels
  •  Hospitality: As a bartender you have to get an RSA certificate (Responsible Serving of Alcohol)
  •  Retail
  •  Fruitpicking
  •  Data Entry

Within these industries companies are often actively looking for backpackers to hire, so keep your eyes open!


Job Search Databases

Below we have listed the most general job search databases in Australia. Have a browse through them and see if you find something interesting!



Gumtree is the biggest website in Australia for local community classifieds including jobs, stuff for sale, cars, flat share, flat rentals in Australia. An extremely handy website for all backpackers: www.gumtree.com.au


Backpacker Job Board

On the Backpacker Job Board you can find listed jobs for backpackers in Melbourne, or somewhere else in Australia for that matter. The page also has an interesting blog for backpackers traveling in Australia: http://www.backpackerjobboard.com.au/jobs-in/melbourne/


Write a Resume

Writing a resume can always be challenging, and especially when you’re in a foreign country! Here is some advice on what to include in your Australian resume: http://career-advice.careerone.com.au/resume-cover-letter/resume-writing/resume-writing-the-basics/article.aspx


Dress Code

Deciding what to wear before an interview can be quite difficult – First impressions count and they usually last! You have to try to interpret the job interview dress code depending on what kind of job you are applying on. In general, you should always dress to impress. No matter what level of position. However, if you are  applying for a fruitpicking position there is no point in wearing a suit!


Getting To Your Interview

Finding your way in a big city like Melbourne can be challenging. With the Journey Planner you can find the way from A to B and not be late for your interview!

The webpage gives you all the information about public transport, timetables and how to get around:  http://www.ptv.vic.gov.au/journey#jpsearch%5Baction%5D=showPlanner


Be Contactable

Get an Australian mobile number! That way employers, family and mates can get hold of you while you’re Down Under. Pre-paid SIM cards are both cheap and easy to find. The biggest companies in Australia are:

  •  Optus
  •  Telstra
  •  Vodafone
  •  Virgin


We hope this information was useful and wish you good luck during the job hunting! Remember, Urban Central Accommodation is always here to help and our aim is to enhance your experience of Melbourne.