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New cap on international students’ employment hours

Image: Yanni Apradakis

The Department of Home Affairs has announced that the maximum number of hours that international students are permitted to work will once again be capped from July 1, 2023. However, this time, the limit will be increased to 48 hours per fortnight from the previous cap of 40 hours.

Over the course of the pandemic, restrictions on working rights were completely lifted in January 2022 in order to help alleviate labour shortages.

Student visa holders can currently work as many hours as they want, but as of July 1, they will only be able to work a maximum of 24 hours per week, or 48 hours per fortnight.

A two-year extension of post-study work rights will become available for international graduates with eligible degrees in areas of verified skill shortage.  A Post-Study Work Rights Working Group has been set up by the Minister for Education, Jason Clare, and the Minister for Home Affairs, Clare O’Neil, to provide guidance on the measure.

“Enabling students that gain an education in Australia to stay longer and contribute to our economy benefits us all”, said O’Neil.

“After a lost decade on immigration and skills we are looking for ways to utilise skilled migrants via enhanced training and better targeted, less exploitative programs for temporary visa workers and students,” she added.

The Australian Government has addressed skill shortages by expanding post-study employment rights for international students who have graduated from an Australian institution of higher education.

The Government has released the list of occupations and the eligible qualifications that will enable graduates to access extended work rights.

“We have got the second highest skills shortage in the developed world, according to the OECD. Skills shortages are everywhere,” said Jason Clare.

“We teach and train these skilled workers. This will mean they can stay on longer and use the skills they’ve gained in Australia to help fill some of the chronic skills shortages we have right now,” he added.

On July 1, 2023, these new employment rights will go into effect.

For eligible Bachelor’s degrees, this means an increase from two to four years of post-graduation work rights. For certain Master’s degrees, this means an increase from three to five.

Editor: Anh Noel