Work Rights for Student Visa Holders

The Subclass 500 Student visa comes with several conditions which the holder must abide by for the duration of their visa. Some of the conditions determine how many hours the holder is allowed to work while holding the student visa, including restrictions while the course is in session. This article will explain the relevant work rights for student visa holders in Australia, including the current concession available in the post-COVID economy-recovery climate.

Student Work Rights Before COVID-19

Before COVID-19, Subclass 500 Student visa holders were able to work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight while their program was in session. They were not permitted to work until their course has commenced. When their course was not in session (during a calendared study break) they were able to work unlimited hours.

This did not apply to students who commenced a masters by research or a doctorate course – they were able to work unlimited hours after commencing their postgraduate research course.

This cap on working hours for student visa holders was placed on the visa by Condition 8105 for the primary visa holder.

Certain restrictions also applied to family members attached to the visa as secondary applicants under Condition 8104. This condition restricts family members from undertaking work (voluntary work may be permitted in certain circumstances) until the primary student has commenced their course of study in Australia. It also restricts them to no more than 40 hours of work a fortnight.

Again, the 40-hour work restriction does not apply to family members of students who have commenced a masters by research or coursework, or a doctorate degree. Instead, they are permitted to work unrestricted hours.

Restrictions to working hours typically do not apply to any practical required components that are built into the study, but please seek advice to ensure you are not breaching your condition before engaging in this work.

Unrestricted Work Rights until 30 June 2023

In January 2022, the Department of Home Affairs decided to temporarily ease the restrictions on student visa holders ​​​​​to address workforce shortages. This means students can currently work as many hours as they like in any industry. It is important to note that all other conditions of the student visa still apply.

It is important to note that this is a temporary measure. The unrestricted work rights for student visa holders will end on 30 June 2023. After that date, student visa holders must revert to 40 hours per fortnight while their courses are in session.

Need Assistance with your visa?

If you would like to know what your work rights are on your current visa, or need assistance with a visa application, get in touch with us today! You can use this contact form or use the following details:

Phone: 0431 115 195

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