Changes to Student Visa Work Restrictions

Effective immediately, Subclass 500 Student visa holders can now work more than 40 hours per fortnight without being considered in breach of their visa conditions.

The Australian Government has announced the changes in order to address current workforce shortages, with the aim of supporting Australian businesses and our COVID-19 economic response.

Work Limitations

Student visas currently have work limitation condition 8105, that means there are restrictions on the number of hours they can work, and that they cannot work until after their course of studies has commenced.

The Government has implemented as 'relaxation' of the work limitation, allowing Student visa holders to work unlimited hours, and to commence working as soon as they arrive in Australia or are granted a Student visa. There is no need to wait for the course to start.

Other Conditions

The relaxation of work restrictions does not change the other conditions on Student visas, including condition 8202:

  • must be enrolled in a full-time registered course;
  • ensure satisfactory course attendance; and
  • ensure satisfactory course progress.

Student visa holders who fail to meet condition 8202 (due to missing classes, cancelling enrolment, or not having satisfactory course progress), will be in breach and could have their visa cancelled.

Time Limits

The announced changes are only temporary, and are due to be reviewed in April 2022. Students and employers must monitor Immigration for changes (or follow Acacia on social media) to ensure they are kept up-to-date.

Visa Fee Refunds

As an incentive to have Student visa holders return to Australia as soon as possible, the Australian Government is offering a refund of the visa application charge for those who travel here between 19 January and 19 March 2022. An application for the refund can be made up until 31 December 2022.

Student visas are on the list of eligible visa types for entry without needing a Travel Exemption. Applicants and holders must be able to prove their vaccination status by providing a Foreign Vaccination Certificate or evidence of Medical Exemption.

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