Many international students are usually aware of the work restrictions on a student visa when studying in Australia.
But there are still some common questions about work restrictions like
- “How many hours can an international student work in Australia?”
- “Can a student work unlimited hours in Australia on a student visa?”
- “Until when international students are allowed to work unlimited hours in Australia?”
So, in this article, we are going to discuss everything about work hours restrictions for international students in Australia.
Before we get started, here is a quick cheat sheet of the changes that are coming into effect from 1st July 2023.
Can International Students Work Along with Their Studies in Australia?
The cost of studying abroad is significant. The benefits of working while studying are numerous, and international students studying in Australia are usually permitted to work on their student visas.
During the academic year, students with a valid student visa are permitted to work
40 48 hours fortnight (every two weeks), and they are allowed to work an unlimited number of hours during breaks.
This is done to guarantee that students may maximise their earnings while they are not in school while still focusing on their academics when their study is in progress.
How Many Hours Can Students Work During Their Study in Australia?
In the past, International Students could only work up to 40 hours per fortnight (every 2 weeks) when their study is in progress.
But since the new update from the Department of Education, international students can work up to 48 hours per fortnight from 1st July 2023. There is exception to this as students working in aged care sector can continue working unlimited hours until 31st December 2023.
There are many international students that might think they have unlimited work hours. But, this is not completely true. Usually, students can only work unlimited hours during their official study vacations.
International students studying Masters by research and Doctorate programs can work unlimited hours even when their study is in progress.
Students studying with the Australia Awards scholarship or Defence students are also required to follow the 48 hours per fortnight work limitations during their studies and unlimited work hours during their official school holidays.
But the Australian government has offered a temporary easing of working hours due to worker shortages. As a result, students are now permitted to work more than 48 hours every two weeks until 30th June 2023.
Can Students Work Unlimited Hours In Australia?
From 1st July 2023, with a valid student visa, international students in Australia are allowed to work up to 48 hours per fortnight (or 24 hours every week) while courses are in session. There are no limitations on how many hours they can work during officially recognised school breaks.
However, as per the new update in the budget 2023 announced on May 9th 2023, international students already working in the aged care sector on 9th May 2023 can continue to work unrestricted hours until 31st December 2023.
To avoid confusion about the work week, in Australia, the work week starts from Monday and ends on the next Sunday.
But currently, these work restrictions have been lifted which means students can continue to work unlimited hours until 30th June 2023.
Until When International Students Can Work Unlimited Hours In Australia?
To help with the labour shortages, the restrictions on student work hours on visa have been temporarily relaxed. These relaxed rules for unlimited work hours will expire on June 30, 2023.
All current students, new student arrivals, and secondary candidates (arriving along with students) are permitted to work over 40 hours per week in any industry until June 30, 2023.
A student visa holder’s ability to work will be limited to a 48 hours per fortnight after June 30, 2023 (except students working in the aged care sector, as noted above) as the Australian government wants students to prioritise getting a high-quality Australian education and credential.
International students must ensure that they are informed of any changes to visa requirements, including work restrictions and hours.
Can International Students Come And Work In Australia Before Their Course Commencement?
Australian government relaxed rules regarding students commencing work before their course commencement during the pandemic period. Students were allowed to come before the start of their course and start working even before the course commencement.
But since last update from the Department of Home Affairs, there is no mention regarding this on their website and students are advised to confirm this change regarding starting work before course commencement with their university, agent or the department.
Students can check their visa conditions also to see if they can or can’t commence work before the course commencement.
But after 30th June 2023, as the restrictions on work hours will be back, students can only commence work after the start of their official study period.
In the past, students were not allowed to begin working until after their studies had begun, and they were allowed to arrive in Australia up to 90 days prior to the commencement of their degree.
Can Students Work After Completing Their Studies in Australia?
Students who are studying in the major city areas, i.e. Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne, can get up to two-year post-study visa work.
Students studying in regional areas can obtain a three to four year post-study work visa, allowing them to remain in Australia after their graduation.
But the new suggested changes by the government mean there will be additional time for post study work visas for international students studying in the areas of verified skills shortages.
Students completing eligible qualifications and in high demand occupations will be able to apply for additional 2 years of post study work visas. You can read more details about these eligible qualifications here.
Apart from that, you can also keep an eye on the website of the Department of Home Affairs for further details on this.
How Many Hours Can My Dependent Family Member Work on My Student Visa in Australia?
Currently, the dependent family members of the student visa holders (subclass 500) can work unlimited hours until 30th June 2023.
Usually, the dependents of some student visa holders are required to follow the work hours restrictions as well.
However, if you are studying a Master’s degree (by coursework or research) or Doctorate degree in Australia, then your dependents are allowed to work unlimited hours even when your study is in session.
Dependents of the students studying other courses (than the listed above) will need to abide by 48 hours per fortnight work restrictions after 30th June 2023.
Can International Students Work Unlimited Hours During Holidays?
Yes, international students are allowed to work unlimited hours during their official holiday or term break.
Sometimes employers may ask you to provide a letter regarding your official term break while studying on a student visa.
In that case, you can ask your university or school to provide you with a letter or certificate for official school term break.
How Many Hours Can International Students Work in Australia After 30th June 2023?
As per the latest news update from the Department of Home Affairs, international students can only work 48 hours per fortnight after 30th June 2023 (except students working in the aged care sector, as noted above).
It means the work restrictions for new and existing student visa holders will restart from 1st July 2023.
International students visa holders are expected to abide by these work restrictions during their study period.
What Happens if Students Work More Than 48 Hours per Fortnight After 30th June 2023?
International students (except students working in the aged care sector, as noted above) will be required to follow the 48 hours per fortnight work limits after 30th June 2023.
Any students working more than the work restrictions will be in a breach of their student visa conditions. It can also lead to the cancellation of the visa.
So, we recommend that you always abide by the student visa work restrictions.
Can International Students Work 40 Hours?
Until 30th June 2023, international students can work more than 40 hours per week on a student visa in Australia.
After 1st July 2023, if international students work 40 hours in a week, then they must ensure that they are not in breach of their 48 hours per fortnight work restrictions in the fortnight.
It is a student’s duty to keep regular account for how many hours they are working in a fortnight.
Why Australian Government is Bringing Back the Work Restriction For International Students?
In January 2022, Australian government announced unlimited work hours for international students in Australia to address the labour shortages due to pandemic.
Since then the slow economic growth and opening of Australia’s international borders has helped to reduce the labour market shortages. And government wants to also make sure that student focus on getting a quality Australian education and qualifications.
While student visa holders can work during their study and holiday period, the main aim of the student visa is to get a high quality education.
So Australian government has decided to bring the work limitation of 48 hours per fortnight for international studenyts from 1st July 2023.
Comparing Work Hours For International Students in Australia, Canada, UK And USA
Now let’s look at the comparison of work hours for international students in some of the most popular study abroad destinations.
While classes remain on, international students in Australia with a valid student visa are permitted to work up to 40 hours per fortnight, with no restrictions on how many hours they can work during officially recognised school holidays.
There are no such restrictions on the level of study when it comes to work hours for international students in Australia. The student visa holder dependents can also have work rights as mentioned above.
Students can also work as a self-employed person like Uber Eats in Australia.
United Kingdom (UK)
In the UK, during the academic year, you are permitted to work a maximum of 20 hours per week with a student visa for full-time degree-level study. There is a weekly cap of 20 hours for any work—whether it is paid or unpaid—done for one or more organisations.
If you are studying qualifications below degree level, then you can work only 10 hours per week during study term.
There are also restrictions on type of work like you can’t be self-employed or engage in any business activity and many others.
International students in Canada can work 20 hours a week during their study term. During scheduled study breaks, students are allowed to work more than 20 hours per week. Although students in Canada are allowed to work as self-employed people.
If you work more than that, then you are in breach of the terms of your study permit. If you do this, you risk losing your student status and risk having future requests for a study or work visa denied. You could even be asked to leave the nation.
United States of America (USA)
International students who are enrolled for full-time studies and holding F-1 status in the USA, are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during study period and up to 40 hours during vacations.
Students who hold a valid F-1 status cannot be employed off-campus without meeting eligibility requirements and obtaining official authorisation. International students also need to agree that the position they are taking on campus doesn’t replace a job for the US resident.
There are more terms and conditions on what students can and can’t do in the US when they are on their student visa. You can read more details here.
Overall Summary of Work Hours in Australia
Here is a quick summary of work hours for international students in Australia before and after 1st July 2023:
|Timeframes||When The Course Is In Session||When The Course Isn’t In Session|
Until 30th June 2023
Unlimited work hours
Unlimited work hours
After 1st July 2023
48 hours per fortnight
Unlimited work hours
So, this is what you need to know about student work hours in Australia. If you want to know more about work in Australia for international students, then you should check this guide here.