Australia: Temporary relaxation of working hours for student visa holders

international students, student visa, workforce shortage,

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Great news for international students! To address ongoing workforce shortages, the Australian Governemnt has announced temporary relaxation of work hours for all ongoing and new student arrivals.

To address workforce shortages, students will be able to work before their course of study commences. They will also be able to work more than 40 hours a fortnight in any sector of the economy.

These temporary measures remain in place until further notice. Students must ensure they are aware of any changes to visa conditions, including workers’ rights.

In addition, student visa holders who are outside Australia and arrive between 19 January 2022 and 19 March 2022 may be eligible for a refund of their VAC. Students can apply for a refund up until 31 December 2022. For more information on how to apply for a VAC refund, see Getting a refund.​

Information for 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, stop attending classes, or fail to meet satisfactory course progress may breach 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.​

Source: © Commonwealth of Australia

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