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Australia:Relaxation of student work rights

When International students study in Australia they are granted a visa with certain conditions on it. Once of those conditions is related to work rights.

There has been a lot of information announced recently about student work rights and it can be confusing to understand what is permitted and what is not. Let’s see what if anything has changed.

What are student work rights?

Condition 8105 work limitation (primary visa holders)

Condition 8105 restricts most students who are studying to a maximum of 40 hours work per fortnight while their course is in session. Students are not permitted to work before their course has commenced however when their course is not in session, they may work unlimited hours.

PhD and Master of Research Students have unlimited work rights once their course has commenced.

Condition 8104 work limitation (family members)

Condition 8104 restricts most family member to a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight while their course is in session. They are not permitted to work until the course started.

Family members of students who have commenced a masters by research or coursework, or a doctorate degree are permitted to work unlimited hours once the course has commenced.

What has changed?

Well technically nothing in Condition 8105 or 8104 has changed. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has announced they will take ‘flexible approach’ to student visa working hours if you work in certain sectors.

What does this mean for you if you are a student and work in these sectors?

The Department of Home Affairs and Australian Border Force has announced it will take a flexible approach to student visa holders working beyond their usual work limitations, but only in specified industries.

You can work for more than 40 hours a fortnight if you are:

  • employed by an aged care Approved Provider or Commonwealth-funded aged care service provider with a RACS ID or a NAPS ID, before 8 September 2020
  • employed by a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme provider
  • enrolled in a health care related course and you are supporting the health effort against COVID-19, as directed by health officials
  • employed in the agriculture sector
  • employed in the tourism and hospitality sector

You can read the announcement here:

https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/student-500/temporary-relaxation-of-working-hours-for-student-visa-holders

If you work in one of these sectors, can you work more than 40 hours a week for the rest of my student visa?

The ‘flexible approach’ will not last forever and it is especially important you keep up to date about your ability to work longer hours changes.

If the “flexible approach’ ends and you are not aware you may be in breach of your student visa conditions.

A word of warning:

The onus will be on you to show you have not breeched your visa conditions. If you are eligible to work increased hours under this ‘flexible approach’ to student work rights. Keep good records of when you start working longer hours and when you stopped.

Consider keeping a record of:

  • The government announcement
  • Time sheets and payslips

That way if you are asked to provide information in the future about your increased hours – you will be armed with information to show that you were permitted to work longer hours due to the pandemic event.

If you are unable to comply with all your visa conditions your visa could be cancelled.

Need help?

Contact a registered migration agent today for advice on your visa options at info@visalounge.com.au