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Work restrictions for student visa holders

​​​​From 1 July 2023, student visa holders will be restricted to 48 hours of work a fortnight

From 1 July 2023, student visa holders can work no more than 48 hours a fortnight while studying. Student visa holders have no work restrictions when their course of study or training is not in session. These restrictions allow students to focus on obtaining a quality Australian education and qualification, while also gaining valuable work experience and contributing to Australia’s workforce needs.

Student visa work conditions were relaxed ​throughout the pandemic, and completely removed in January 2022. This allowed student visa holders to work over their normal limit of 40 hours per fortnight to address workforce shortages. This ended on 30 June 2023.

The Australian Government has announced that student visa holders already working in the aged care sector on 9 May 2023 can continue to work unrestricted hours in any type of work in the aged care sector. This ended on 31 December 2023. The exemption only applies to work in the aged care sector. Any work outside of that sector is limited to 48 hours a fortnight, while their course is in session. Work in the aged care sector must be with an approved aged care provider in accordance with the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Rules 2018, established under the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Act 2018 (Act).

For more information, see our media release Addressing skills shortages in key industries and rebuilding the international education sector.

Information for students

Students must know their visa conditions, including their work rights in condition 8105. Work rights may be impacted by the course level and the visa held when applying for a student visa.

Students cannot work before their course starts. Some students may be able to work before their course starts, if they held a visa that permitted them to work when they applied for their student visa. Your right to work before your course starts depends on your individual circumstances. To see the work conditions for your visa, check VEVO.

From 1 July 2023, student visa holders are restricted to 48 hours of work a fortnight while their course is in session. Working 48 hours a fortnight is equivalent to approximately three days per week. A fortnight is a period of 14 days starting on a Monday.

An example of how a student visas holder’s 48 hours a fortnight working limit is calculated below:

  • week 1: 15 hours work
  • week 2: 30 hours work
  • week 3: 30 hours work
  • week 4: 10 hours work.

The student may not have breached their work conditions in the fortnight comprising the 14 days of weeks 1 and 2 (45 hours worked) or in the fortnight comprising the 14 days of weeks 3 and 4 (40 hours). However, the student may be in breach of their work conditions, in the fortnight comprising the 14 days of weeks 2 and 3 (60 hours worked).

To see the work conditions for your visa, check VEVO.

You must continue to balance your study and work commitments.

Students must still:

  • maintain their course enrolment
  • ensure satisfactory course attendance
  • ensure satisfactory course progress.

Student visa holders may be in breach of their conditions if they:

  • cancel their enrolment
  • stop attending classes or
  • fail to meet satisfactory course progress.

Students who have started studying a masters degree by research or doctoral degree can work more than 48 hours a fortnight while in Australia.

Information for employers

Employers m​ust continue to follow Australian workplace law. Overseas workers, including international students, have the same rights under Australian workplace law as all other employees.

While the working hours exemption is in place for the aged care industry, the Department of Home Affairs and Australian Border Force will:

  • not cancel the visas of students who work more than 48 hours a fortnight in the aged care ​sector, under s116(1)(b) of the Migration Act 1958
  • not refer student visa holders working in the aged care sector 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 a student working in the aged care sector 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).​

This exemption is only for those working in the aged care industry. ​Otherwise, working hour limitations on student visas will be subject to enforcement by the Department and ABF.