From 1 July 2023, Australian Student visa holders (subclass 500) and Working Holiday / Work and Holiday visa holders (subclasses 417 and 462) had the work restrictions on their visas re-instated. Before employing candidates on these visas, it is important to understand their work rights limitations.
Why were the work limitations relaxed?
Student and Working Holiday / Work and Holiday makers have always had limited work rights in Australia. During the pandemic Australia struggled to find skilled and semi-skilled labour to meet its workforce needs. As a result, the Department of Home Affairs relaxed the work rights limitations on these visas. During the pandemic period (ending 1 July 2023) the following was allowed:
- Student visa holders could work full-time while continuing to study.
- Working Holiday / Work and Holiday visa holders would work full time without a limit on how long they worked for each employer.
Prior to the pandemic student visa holders were limited to work 40 hours a fortnight while their course was in session. Working Holiday / Work and Holiday visa holders could only work for 6 months with one employer.
Rules post 1 July 2023
Student Visa Holders
From 1 July 2023 student visa holders (and their dependents) are able to work 48 hours a fortnight. Student visa holders are allowed to work full-time while they are on school holidays.
A fortnight is counted as 14 days starting from a Monday and finishing on a Sunday night.
The only exemptions to the 48-hour fortnight work limitation are:
- Student visa holders (and their dependents) where the student has started their course and is studying a masters by research or a PhD; and
- Student visa holders who were working in the aged care sector on 9 May 2023 can continue to work full-time in the aged care sector until 31 December 2023
Working Holiday / Work and Holiday visa holders
From 1 July 2023 these visa holders are only able to work for one employer for a maximin of 6 months. If a Working Holiday / Work and Holiday visa holder was already working with an employer on 30 Jun or earlier a new 6 month period starts from 1 July. This means a visa holder can potentially work for the same employer until 31 December 2023.
There are some existing exemptions to the 6-month work limitation that may be used. Working Holiday / Work and Holiday visa holders can work for more than 6 months for one employer where:
- They are working for a labour hire company and swap the company they provide services to every 6 months; or
- Work for the same company in different locations (e.g.: work for 6 months in Sydney then another 6 months in the Melbourne office); or
- Work in certain high-demand industries in Northern Australia only; or
- Plant and animal cultivation work anywhere in Australia
If you are employing candidates on Student visas (subclass 500) and Working Holiday / Work and Holiday visas (subclasses 417 and 462) and unsure of their work rights, please reach out to Nevett Ford Lawyers by phone at 03 9614 7111 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our staff are able to assist to verify a candidate’s work rights and help with suggested visa options that may allow them to work full-time with your business.