20 Hours Of Work for International Students Not Enough?! Australia’s New Update!

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Have you been studying in Australia for a while now? If so, you might know that you can work on a part-time basis in Australia. You may want to work as a part-time employee during your academic term to afford your tuition fees and cost of living in Australia. After all, as an international student, doing part-time employment is one of the best ways to support yourself financially. This is true anywhere in the world, and Australia is no exception.

The option to do a part-time job is among the many benefits of pursuing an educational qualification as an international student in Australia. However, it is important for you to remember a few things first regarding that option in Australia, including the student visa working hours.

How Many Hours Can International Students Work in Australia?

Traditionally, it is possible for almost every student visa holder to work as many as 20 hours a week during their academic term in Australia. However, postgraduate research students, like those doing masters by research or PhD courses, can work any number of hours during their studies in Australia.

The 20-hour work restriction has been in place for a while now, but the pandemic forced the federal government to make certain changes to its work rights for international students in Australia. To address the labour shortage, the government has lifted the restrictions on international students' working hours until the end of June next year.

This means that an international student can work more than 20 hours per week in any economic sector during their term. Note that the government has decided to reinstate the limitation on the number of hours from July 2023 onwards. The earlier decision to lift the limitation was based on the notion that foreign nationals studying in Australia could help plug the labour gap in the country. The recent decision to reinstate the cap on student visa working hours has been made for a logical reason, which you'll understand in the next section. 

Why Has Australia Decided to Reinstate the Work Restrictions?

The chambers of commerce backed the announcement of the government to extend the work rights for international students in Australia earlier this year. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry proposed a plan to make the international student market more competitive and strengthen the skilled labour pipeline. Reinstating the maximum number of part-time work hours for international students is a part of that plan.

As for the government, putting the student visa work restrictions in Australia back in place will ensure that international students focus on their studies to achieve academic excellence. The government doesn't want you to put in a below-par academic performance, as it is likely to affect the quality of higher education in Australia. You may regard this regulatory reinstatement as the government's way of ensuring that Australia upholds its reputation as a top destination for higher education. 

What Does This Reinstatement Mean For You As An International Student?

Now that the government has decided to reinstate the restriction, you must check your visa status before seeking part-time employment in Australia. Your student visa will state whether you can work in Australia while completing your studies here. Until July next year, there is some flexibility in terms of how many hours you can work in Australia.

International students are allowed to work extra hours in Australia provided that it does not compromise their visa conditions. In other words, you must maintain your course enrollment, have satisfactory levels of course attendance, and progress in your program satisfactorily. If you fail to satisfy any of the above conditions, it may contribute to the cancellation of your student visa in Australia. 

Where to Find Work in Australia?

Which sector you want to work in depends on what your interests and strengths are as a graduate. The key is to work at a convenient place for you, such as a location on or around your campus, so that you won't compromise your studies. That said, some of the areas that are popular for part-time work in Australia are as follows:

  • Hospitality: Employers in this sector include restaurants, cinema halls, hotels, sporting venues, bars, and takeaway food shops. For example, you may work in the food and beverage sector as a bartender, waiter, barista, or kitchen hand.
  • Retail: This includes any store selling products to customers, such as an electronics or clothing shop. It can be a boutique chain, a small shop, or a department store. For example, you may find work as a sales agent or sales representative in Australia's retail sector.
  • Service Sector: Call centres, petrol stations, supermarkets, and many different businesses that require administrative work are part of this sector. For example, you may also work in the capacity of a call centre staffer, receptionist, or customer service representative. Some jobs have more requirements than others. Take working in the capacity of a driver, for instance. It would require you to possess a vehicle and a valid driving licence.
  • If you search smartly and have a bit of luck, you could land a job that is associated with your field of study. For instance, you may be a media student working as an assistant at a radio or television station in Australia. This brings us to our next point about part-time employment in Australia for international students. 

How Can You Find Part-Time Work in Australia?

Try Walk-Ins

It may seem obvious, but it pays to walk into the location of a company in Australia with your resume, as Australian employers appreciate this hustle mentality. Make sure you list out a few potential employers in the sector where you want to work, and customise your resume according to the Australian style. Speaking of which, you can learn more about how to create an Australian-style resume from this blog.

Check for Jobs on Australian Employer Websites

Almost every employer has a website with a careers section, where you can apply for open positions. Not every employer may let you apply online, but at least their career section will help you find out about potential vacancies. That said, if you cannot find a part-time job in this manner, there are other options for you, including what we will discuss henceforth.

Ask Your University

Several universities in Australia offer off-campus and on-campus employment opportunities for international students. Some of your options in this regard may be as a campus ambassador, library assistant, social media assistant, and personal trainer.

You can seek the help of your university when applying for a job as well. There may be a career centre at your university. It is a place with dedicated professionals to lead students in finding the best job openings as well as aid them in creating a curriculum vitae and otherwise preparing them for the job interview. The career centre at your university can introduce you to employers in Australia. Alternatively, your higher education provider may have a section on the official website where you can find part-time job opportunities.

Refer to Job Search Websites

You can also check for jobs on purpose-built websites available to international students. There are thousands of part-time employment opportunities for foreign nationals on these job websites. The main sites include Seek, CareerOne, ApplyDirect, and MyCareer.

Other Things to Remember As A Part-Time Employee in Australia

You should know your responsibilities and rights as an employee in Australia, besides where to go for advice and help regarding employment. For instance, every employee has rights concerning minimum wage in Australia.

Minimum Wage

There is also a standard minimum wage for international students in Australia. Yearly, the Fair Work Commission in Australia reviews the minimum wage that applies to the whole nation. As of writing this blog, $21.38 per hour is the national minimum wage. However, jobs requiring additional skills are likely to pay up to about $80 an hour. You should know your benefits and rights when working in Australia as an international student to ensure that you get just compensation.

Employee Benefits

Every employee in Australia can get benefits, but the benefit amount will depend on their employment terms. Full-time employees and permanent part-time workers are eligible for the same benefits, including 31 days of leave per year. However, leaves are not available to casual part-timers. For this reason, employers in Australia compensate these part-time workers with higher hourly rates than their permanent counterparts.

Casual part-timers and permanent part-time employees have the right to get overtime pay when they work more hours than what they are supposed to work for, daily or weekly. The amount of overtime pay varies from one industry to another. 

FAQs on Work Rights for International Students in Australia

Does a Student Visa Allow You to Work in Australia?

Yes, it does. As of now, international students are allowed to work extra hours during their academic term. However, the 20-hours-a-week restriction will be reapplied to international students from July 2023. Note however, that during your holidays or non-term days, you can work as many hours as you want in Australia, irrespective of the work hour restrictions.

Can International Students Work Full-Time in Australia?

You cannot work on a full-time basis while your classes are in session in Australia. Granting you a student visa means that the government has concluded that you have the intention of studying in Australia. If you do not have a certain level of attendance and progress in your course, it would contribute to your student visa getting revoked. This means that you cannot work as a full-time employee while studying in Australia.

Can International Students Work More Than 20 Hours a Week?

Yes, you can, but only up to the end of June 2023. The restriction on international students' working hours will be back in place from July 2023 onwards.

What Happens If an International Student Works More Than 20 Hours in Australia?

Starting from July 2023, if you work over 20 hours a week in Australia during your academic term, it could compromise your student visa conditions. As a student visa holder, you are required to maintain your course enrollment as well as show satisfactory attendance and progress in your studies. You don't want to breach any of these conditions, as doing so would play a part in the cancellation of your student visa. 

Found it helpful? We can help you take it further. Contact us and get all your queries on PR, visas, migration, scholarships, and others answered today! 


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