Close

New Work Hour Requirements for International Students

Starting from 1 July 2023, a significant change has been implemented regarding the working hour restrictions for international students in Australia. These changes are aimed at helping students support themselves throughout their academic journey. 

Here is a comprehensive guide that covers everything you need to know about these new regulations as an international student. 

Starting from 1 July 2023, a significant change has been implemented regarding the working hour restrictions for international students in Australia. These changes are aimed at helping students support themselves throughout their academic journey. 

Here is a comprehensive guide that covers everything you need to know about these new regulations as an international student. 



The new working hours policy

Previously relaxed during the pandemic, the allowable work hours cap for international students has been reinstated with a change. Starting 1 July 2023, international students can work up to 48 hours per fortnight. This equates to 24 hours per week.

This change has been designed to provide students with increased flexibility to support themselves, while still ensuring study remains the primary purpose of their visa.

In a notable exception, international students working in aged care before 9 May 2023 will not be subject to the reinstated 48-hour work cap and can continue working unrestricted hours until 31 December 2023.

Other details to note as a student visa holder:

  • You cannot work until you have started your course in Australia.
  • During course study periods, you can work up to 48 hours per fortnight (either part-time or casual).
  • During study breaks defined by your institution, international students are permitted to work unlimited hours.
  • If your course includes work as part of its curriculum, these hours won't count towards the 48-hour cap.
  • For those pursuing a masters by research or a PhD, there are no limits on work hours.

 Further details can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Previously relaxed during the pandemic, the allowable work hours cap for international students has been reinstated with a change. Starting 1 July 2023, international students can work up to 48 hours per fortnight. This equates to 24 hours per week.

This change has been designed to provide students with increased flexibility to support themselves, while still ensuring study remains the primary purpose of their visa.

In a notable exception, international students working in aged care before 9 May 2023 will not be subject to the reinstated 48-hour work cap and can continue working unrestricted hours until 31 December 2023.

Other details to note as a student visa holder:

  • You cannot work until you have started your course in Australia.
  • During course study periods, you can work up to 48 hours per fortnight (either part-time or casual).
  • During study breaks defined by your institution, international students are permitted to work unlimited hours.
  • If your course includes work as part of its curriculum, these hours won't count towards the 48-hour cap.
  • For those pursuing a masters by research or a PhD, there are no limits on work hours.

 Further details can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Safeguarding your rights as an international student

The Australian Government is fully committed to preventing the exploitation of international students. The work hour restriction is one such measure, put in place to ensure a balanced approach that addresses both the need for income and the importance of academic pursuits.

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is dedicated to securing workplace rights and protections for all workers in Australia, including international students.

The Australian Government is fully committed to preventing the exploitation of international students. The work hour restriction is one such measure, put in place to ensure a balanced approach that addresses both the need for income and the importance of academic pursuits.

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is dedicated to securing workplace rights and protections for all workers in Australia, including international students.

Accessing support as an international student

If you have any questions regarding working hours or your rights as an international student, there are multiple avenues for you to seek help. The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is an important resource for any concerns about your working conditions. If you believe your rights are being violated, you should immediately contact the FWO.

Furthermore, your institution's student support staff can provide valuable advice and support regarding your employment conditions. They can guide you through your rights, advise on workplace norms in Australia and assist you if you need help.

If you have any questions regarding working hours or your rights as an international student, there are multiple avenues for you to seek help. The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is an important resource for any concerns about your working conditions. If you believe your rights are being violated, you should immediately contact the FWO.

Furthermore, your institution's student support staff can provide valuable advice and support regarding your employment conditions. They can guide you through your rights, advise on workplace norms in Australia and assist you if you need help.

Useful Resources

These changes are important to understand and communicate effectively to ensure compliance and avoid any unintended consequences.

To help you navigate through these new regulations, we have prepared a set of useful documents that will provide you with detailed information and guidelines. These resources aim to assist you in understanding the restrictions and how they may impact your employment opportunities during your studies.

Here are the documents available for download:

These changes are important to understand and communicate effectively to ensure compliance and avoid any unintended consequences.

To help you navigate through these new regulations, we have prepared a set of useful documents that will provide you with detailed information and guidelines. These resources aim to assist you in understanding the restrictions and how they may impact your employment opportunities during your studies.

Here are the documents available for download:

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the work hour cap apply to all international students or only to new students enrolling after July 1, 2023?

The cap applies to all international students, regardless of when they started their studies.

Why is the Government reinstating a cap on working hours?

The pandemic-induced relaxation was a temporary measure to support students and to meet workforce shortages. As the primary purpose of a student visa is to study, the work-hour cap is being reinstated to maintain a balance between work and study.

Can I work more hours during holiday periods or term breaks?

Yes, during recognised periods of vacation provided by your education provider, you are allowed to work unlimited hours.

Is the cap on work hours the same for postgraduate research students?

No, if you are a postgraduate research student on a student visa (subclass 500), you have no limit on the number of hours you can work once your course has commenced.

Are internships or unpaid work counted towards the 48-hour limit?

The 48 hours a fortnight work limit does not apply if you engage in work that is specified as a requirement of your course of study or training.

For all other types of work, you will need to count these hours towards the 48-hour fortnightly limit.

How do I check my visa conditions?

You can check your visa conditions with the Department of Home Affairs. Their website provides detailed information on different visa types, including student visas.

What is a fortnight?

A fortnight is a period of 14 days starting on a Monday.

If I have more than one job, is it 48 hours per fortnight for each job?

No, the 48 hours cap is the total number of hours you can work per fortnight across all your paid employment.

What happens with people who work through an Australian Business Number (ABN)?

If you are working under an ABN you will still need to abide by the working hours cap of 48 hours per fortnight.

Can an employer cancel my visa?

No, an employer cannot cancel your student visa.

If I have a partner or spouse with me, are they able to work more than 48 hours per fortnight?

It depends on your level of study.  Partners or spouses of student visa holders who have started studying a masters or doctorate degree can work unrestricted hours.

Partners or spouses of all other student visa holders can work no more than 48 hours a fortnight.  It’s important to remember partners or spouses of student visa holders cannot work before the student’s course starts. You can find out more here.