Working hours for students in Australia 2024

One of the biggest factors international students consider while they pursue higher education abroad is the opportunity to work legally in their study destination. Many students often choose a country that allows them to secure a source of income to help with their living costs, gain valuable professional experience related to their chosen field or both. Australia allows part-time work while studying, which is why international students from all around the globe flock to the country to pursue their education.

The regulations for allowable working hours for international students play an important role in maintaining order and balance, especially in a prime study destination like Australia. To work in Australia, students must first check their visa conditions so that they can understand all the restrictions regarding work. They can do this on the Department of Home Affairs Visa Entitlement Verification Online system (VEVO).

 

Working hours for students in Australia 2024

The allowed working hours for students in Australia 2024 for student visa (subclass 500) holders studying in Australia is 48 hours per fortnight during study terms and semesters. This equates to 24 working hours for students in Australia per week. Students who have already started their master’s degree by research or doctoral degree have no work hours limit. While working, students should act responsibly and prioritise their education, as they are still expected to:

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

It’s important to remember that student visa holders may be in breach of their conditions if they:

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

 

A timeline of changes on the working hours for students in Australia

Since the pandemic, there have been a couple of adjustments to the rules on legal working hours for students in Australia. These have been made for various reasons: to address workforce shortages, allow students to earn more and reduce exploitation and reinstate balance. To guide students on the progression of changes regarding the cap for working hours for international students in Australia in the past few years, here’s a timeline tracing back from pre-lockdown up to present day:

2021

Before COVID border restrictions were imposed, international students could work 40 hours per fortnight (20 hours per week) and unlimited hours during holiday breaks.

January 2022

In light of the pandemic, the Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Border Force announced the relaxation of working hours for international students within select industries. These temporary changes were introduced “due to exceptional circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to ensure the supply of critical services” and allow international students to work unrestricted hours.

February 2023

The Australian government announced a reintroduction of the working hours cap, effective July 2023, which raised its previous level of 40 hours per fortnight to 48 hours per fortnight.

May 2023

The Australian government announced that student visa holders  already working in the aged care sector as of 9 May 2023 could continue to work unrestricted hours in any type of work in the aged care sector until the end of the year.

July 2023

The unrestricted working hours set-up for international students was removed as the new limit on working hours took effect. The number of work hours allowed for international students during study terms and semesters was capped at the increased rate of 48 hours per fortnight. When their course of study or training is not in session, students have no work restrictions.

December 2023

The temporary exemption of unlimited working hours for student visa holders working in the aged care sector ended.

January 2024

All student visa holders are now allowed to work a maximum of 48 hours per fortnight during study terms and semesters.

In the fast-paced and ever-changing world of international education, it’s important to always stay updated on any changes in regulations affecting international students, such as working hours for students in Australia in 2024. To learn more about the latest news, connect with our business development experts today!

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