Starting from 1 July 2023, there will be changes to work restrictions for student visa holders in Australia. Throughout the pandemic, work restrictions for student visa holders were relaxed, and in January 2022, they were completely removed to address workforce shortages. This allowed primary and secondary student visa holders to work beyond the usual limit of 40 hours per fortnight.
However, the Australian Government has announced that student visa holders already employed in the aged care sector as of 9 May 2023 can continue to work unrestricted hours in that sector until 31 December 2023. This decision aims to ensure that the aged care sector continues to have the necessary workforce support during this critical period.
For all other student visa holders, starting from 1 July 2023, work restrictions will be re-introduced, but with an increased limit of 48 hours per fortnight. The purpose of these restrictions is to strike a balance, allowing student visa holders to focus on their studies and obtain a quality Australian education and qualification, while still having the opportunity to support themselves financially, gain valuable work experience, and contribute to Australia’s workforce needs.
It is crucial for students to maintain a balance between their study and work commitments. This means staying enrolled in their courses, attending classes regularly, and making satisfactory progress in their studies. Failure to meet these requirements or cancelling enrolment may result in breaching visa conditions, which can have serious consequences.
Employers must also ensure that they comply with Australian workplace laws. International students, like any other employees, have rights and entitlements protected under these laws. While the revised work restrictions are in effect, the Department of Home Affairs and Australian Border Force will exercise discretion and not cancel the visas of student visa holders who work more than 40 hours per fortnight to support their organizations. They will also not initiate investigations for potential offenses related to breaching visa conditions by working beyond the allowed hours.
It is important for both students and employers to stay informed and updated on the latest guidelines and regulations. For more detailed information regarding these changes and the measures being taken to address skills shortages in key industries and rebuild the international education sector, please refer to the official website of the Australian Department of Home Affairs.
By adhering to the revised work restrictions and fulfilling visa obligations, student visa holders can make the most of their educational experience in Australia while contributing to the country’s workforce needs. Employers, in turn, can continue to benefit from the valuable contributions of international students within the bounds of Australian workplace laws.