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Temporary relaxation of working hours for student visa holders

​​To support the supply of certain services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Home Affairs and Australian Border Force will take a flexible approach to student visa holders, including those working beyond their usual work limitations, but only in the sectors below.

You can work for more than 40 hours a fortnight if you are employed:

  • by an aged care Approved Provider or Commonwealth-funded aged care service provider with a RACS ID or a NAPS ID
  • by a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provider​
  • enrolled in a health care related course and you are supporting the health effort against COVID-19, as directed by health officials
  • in the agriculture sector
  • in the tourism and hospitality sector
  • in a supermarket, or associated distribution facility, located in an area impacted by COVID-19 lockdown restrictions for the duration of the lockdown.

The sectors are defined using the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) system.

For the tourism and hospitality sector, the definition also includes work for employers whose primary purpose is to directly provide a service to tourists, when their activities are not listed in the Division of Accommodation and Food Services under the ANZSIC system.

More information is available on the Australian Bureau of Statistics we​bsite.​

These are temporary measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, and will be reviewed by the Government. Continue to check our website for updates on these arrangements.

Information for students

You must continue to balance your study and work commitments even though there is more flexibility in work hours in certain sectors.

Students who work more than 40 hours per fortnight in the above sectors, must:

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

Student visa holders who cancel their enrolment and stop attending classes, or fail to meet satisfactory course progress, may be in breach of their visa conditions.  

If you are working or have an offer of employment in one of the sectors above, and you have finished your course, you may be eligible for a COVID-19 Pandemic (subclass 408) visa. You can only apply for this visa 90 days before your student visa is due to expire.

You do not need to contact us if you wish to work more than 40 hours per fortnight in one of the sectors listed above. 

Provided the primary visa holder has commenced their course, secondary visa holders are entitled to the same relaxation of working hours provided they meet the other requirements. ​

Information 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.

NDIS providers

​There is no need for NDIS providers to register with us. These providers should refer to the provider alert and letter​ provided to them by the NDIS Commission for further details. For more information, see a list of ​​NDIS providers​