We have some Good News for you!!  

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. 

After 30 June 2023, the Australian government will again limit international student working hours. The decision is to ensure that students who come to Australia on a student visa focus on getting a high-quality education and qualification.   

It is a must for overseas students to be aware of changes to their visa conditions, including their work rights. Students should stay up-to-date on any changes that might affect them, so they can keep complying with their visa conditions.  

What were the previous working restrictions for international students?  

Knowing the student visa restrictions before they’re updated can help prevent shocks or misunderstandings, even though the new restrictions may differ from the old ones. Before the recent change that relaxed the restrictions on working hours, most international students were only allowed to work for a maximum of 40 hours every two weeks. Additionally, students were not allowed to work before their course started, but during breaks from school, they could work as much as they wanted. Only PhD and Master’s in Research students have always had unlimited work rights once their course started. 

What are the current working restrictions for international students?  

There are no restrictions on student visa working hours. The Department of Home Affairs has decided to relax the restriction on working hours in January 2022 so that students can work more hours in any industry.  

For more information, please refer to the Department of Home Affairs website.  

What do international students think about unlimited working hours?  

The reactions were mixed when international students were surveyed about unlimited working hours! Some students welcomed the change and appreciated the ability to choose their working hours and earn more money. Others were concerned about distractions that might lead students to believe that studying should precede. However, there was general agreement that when choosing working hours as an international student, the decision should be left up to the individual, as they know best how to balance their schedules.  

Information for students  

Although there is flexibility in the number of hours you can work, you must maintain a balance between your studies and work commitments.  

Students must:  

  • Keep their course enrolment up-to-date  
  • Maintain satisfactory attendance in courses  
  • Ensure that courses are progressing as expected.  

Cancellation and failure to attend classes may violate student visa conditions for those holding student visas in Australia. 

Information for employers   

Employers must adhere to Australian work rights legislation. Australian workplace law protects both international students and foreign workers.  

In the meantime, the Department of Home Affairs and Australian Border Force will:   

  • Exercise their discretion under s116(1)(b) of the Migration Act 1958. This does not apply to students who work more than 40 hours a week to support your organisation   
  • Not refer student visa holders for investigation of any potential offence under s235 of the Migration Act 1958. If a student visa holder worked more than their visa conditions, this could violate their visa conditions.   
  • Not be referring you, or relevant third-party labour hires companies, as an employer, for investigation of any potential offence under s245AC of the Migration Act 1958. If a student visa holder works in violation of their visa conditions, this may be considered an offence.  

Waving off the student visa working hours limits benefits the students and the Australian economy – bringing diverse cultures and skills into their workforce will only ever lead to improved productivity.  

Furthermore, international students are no longer required to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination status when entering the country. All of these measures have been put in place to encourage international students to study in Australia and make the best use of the resources.  

What are your thoughts? Are unlimited working hours a good or a bad idea for international students? 

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