Australia is prepared to reinstate the limit on the number of hours that foreign students can work. The new regulation will take effect on July 1 and will increase the number of hours that overseas students are permitted to work from 40 to 48 per fortnight.
According to the Australian government, the amended cap will assist foreign students in retaining their ability to sustain themselves while pursuing their education.
According to Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neil, “Enabling students that gain an education in Australia to stay longer and contribute to our economy benefits us all.”
After a lost decade in terms of immigration and skills, she continued, “we are looking for ways to utilise skilled migrants via enhanced training and better targeted, less exploitative programmes for temporary visa workers and students.”
Throughout the pandemic, the limits on student visa holders’ ability to work were loosened; eventually, they were finally lifted entirely in January 2022, allowing them to work more than the standard 40 hours per fortnight in order to help fill labour shortages.
This will end on June 30 and all overseas students, regardless of when they started their studies, will be subject to the new cap.
The limit on the number of hours that overseas students may work as well as a two-year extension of the work visa will take effect on July 1, 2023.
According to data published by the Indian External Affairs Ministry for the year 2022, there are 1,00,009 Indian students studying in various Australian universities.
Additionally, the government declared that some overseas graduates with degrees in fields where there is a confirmed shortage of skilled labour are eligible for a two-year extension of post-study work rights.
This extension will enhance the Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485) for qualified overseas higher education graduates by an extra two years. The extension comes on top of the already-existing one to a two-year extension of work rights for qualified students who study, reside, and work in regional areas.
Post-study work rights will be extended from two to four years for some Bachelor’s degrees, from three to five years for some Master’s degrees, and from four to six years for all PhD degrees.
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 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.