Preparing for change: Updates to work restrictions for student visa holders

In a bid to ensure operations across our critical industries continued to move, student visa work restrictions were relaxed throughout the pandemic, and completely removed in January 2022 to allow primary and secondary student visa holders to work over their normal limit of 40 hours per fortnight to address workforce shortages.

From 1 July 2023, work restrictions for all student visa holders will be re-introduced and capped at the increased rate of 48 hours per fortnight. This ensures that student visa holders are able to focus on obtaining a quality Australian education and qualification, while remaining able to support themselves financially, gain valuable work experience, and contribute to Australia’s workforce needs.

However, the Australian Government also announced that student visa holders already working in the aged care sector on 9 May 2023 can continue to work unrestricted hours in the aged care sector until 31 December 2023.

What does this mean 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.

So, how will you manage these changes using Cited?

For organisations that have requested Australian Work Rights Confirmation checks and received results:

  • An invalidation notification will be received (by both the organisation and the individual)
  • The check result will be changed to “Invalid” and from that point onwards, cannot be used by the individual to satisfy any request.
  • The check result will still visible.
  • To see the new VEVO results, the individual will need to be invited to perform a new Australian Work Rights Confirmation check.

For accounts on Cited’s premium monitored compliance solution, please contact your account manager.