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AUSTRALIA – Change to Student Visa Holders' Allowable Work Hours

The Australian government has made amendments to the work hours allowable for holders of student visas. From 26 March 2012, student visa holders have permission to work 40 hours per fortnight instead of 20 hours per week. (Note that there are already unlimited work rights for Subclass 574 (Postgraduate Research Sector) visa holders if they have commenced their Master’s degree by research or doctoral degree.)

How Do The New Rules Work?

It is important to plan carefully to avoid non-compliance. Fortnight is defined in condition 8105 as any period of 14 days commencing on a Monday and ending at the end of the second following Sunday.

The 40 hours a fortnight:

  1. relates to each fortnight during which the course is in session
  2. cannot be averaged out over the duration of the course.

Example Case Scenario

Take the following scenario.

A Student visa holder (primary or secondary visa holder) works the following numbers of hours over a four week period after the primary student visa holder’s course has commenced:

  • Week 1: 15 hours’ work
  • Week 2: 25 hours’ work
  • Week 3: 25 hours’ work
  • Week 4: 10 hours’ work

The student visa holder in this example would be breaching work conditions. They would not have breached their work conditions in the fortnight comprising the 14 days of weeks 1 and 2 (40 hours worked) or in the fortnight comprising the 14 days of weeks 3 and 4 (35 hours). However the visa holder would have breached their work conditions in the fortnight comprising the 14 days of weeks 2 and 3 (50 hours worked).

Action Items

  • If you have staff who are student visa holders you are now permitted, if you wish, to amend their employment contracts to 40 hours per fortnight.

This news alert was prepared using information provided by Visa Executive

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2017 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.