Can student work more than 40 hours?
However, a temporary relaxation of working hours for student visa holders was issued and that means international students can work before their course commences and work more than 40 hours a fortnight in any sector of the economy. This also includes secondary applicants.
Temporary changes to visa work conditions for Students and Working Holiday Makers
Due to workforce shortages, there is a temporary relaxation of student visa work limits to all sectors of the economy. This takes effect immediately for all ongoing students as well as new student arrivals who wish to commence a job prior to course commencement. This means that international students can work before their course commences and work more than 40 hours a fortnight in any sector of the economy. This also includes secondary applicants.
This is a temporary arrangement and will be reviewed by the Government in April 2022. Check back regularly for updates.
In addition, if a student visa holder travels to Australia between 19 January to 19 March 2022, they will be eligible for a refund of their visa application charge. Students will be able to apply for a refund up until 31 December 2022. Details of how to apply for a refund will be available shortly.
Information for international students
You must continue to balance your study and work commitments even though there is flexibility in the number of hours you can work.
Students must still:
- maintain their course enrolment
- ensure satisfactory course attendance, and
- ensure satisfactory course progress.
Student visa holders who cancel their enrolment and stop attending classes, or fail to meet satisfactory course progress, may be in breach of their visa conditions.
Information for employers
Employers must continue to follow Australian workplace law. Overseas workers, including international students, have the same rights under Australian workplace law as all other employees.
While these measures are in place, the Department of Home Affairs and Australian Border Force will:
- exercise their discretion under s116(1)(b) of the Migration Act 1958. This is to not cancel the visas of students who work more than 40 hours each fortnight to support your organisation
- not refer student visa holders for investigation of any potential offence under s235 of the Migration Act 1958. This might relate to the hours worked by a student visa holder in breach of their visa conditions
- not refer you or relevant third-party labour hire companies, as an employer, for investigation of any potential offence under s245AC of the Migration Act 1958. This might relate to allowing a student visa holder to work in breach of their visa conditions.
The Government has supported Australian businesses during the pandemic by allowing Student visa holders to work additional hours in critical sectors. Due to current workforce shortages the Government is temporarily removing the limit on working hours for Student visa holders across all sectors. This will also apply to secondary Student visa holders. This change takes effect immediately and will be reviewed in April 2022.
The Government is also temporarily relaxing the 6 month work limitation for Working Holiday Maker visa holders. Effective immediately, until the end of 2022, there will be no limit on the time Working Holiday Makers can work for the same employer.
These measures are temporary and designed to provide immediate assistance to Australian businesses currently facing critical workforce shortages. This will enable them to continue delivering goods and services to the Australian community.
Student visa conditions in Australia
Student visa holder work restrictions have been further relaxed for those working in supermarkets, or associated distribution facilities located in an area impacted by COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, for the duration of the lockdown.
This relaxation of conditions are added to those of the aged care and NDIS providers, health care, agricultural, tourism and hospitality sectors.
The Government will remove existing work hour caps for Student Visa holders employed in the tourism and hospitality sector. A 40 hour fortnightly limit previously applied during study periods.
In addition, temporary visa holders will be able to access the 408 COVID-19 Pandemic Event Visa for a period of 12 months if they work in the tourism and hospitality sector. This decision adds tourism and hospitality to the critical sectors of agriculture, food processing, health care, aged care, disability care and child care for eligibility for this visa subclass.
COVID-19 has introduced a lot of changes into migration law. One of the latest changes to the law is the relaxation of working hours for student visa holders. Together with the Australian Border Force, the Department of Home Affairs will be taking a flexible approach to student visa holders working beyond the usual work limitations in certain fields.
Student visa holders are not allowed to work for more than 40 hours per fortnight (8105 condition- work rights) as part of the visa condition. However, there is now a temporary relaxation of the rules in certain circumstance.
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