Honeymoon for Student and Working Holiday Visa Work Restrictions to End on 1 July 2023
Work Restrictions To Be Reintroduced
Work restrictions for working holiday and student visas have been relaxed during the COVID-19 pandemic but are due to be reintroduced from 1 July 2023.
The work restriction for student visa holders will be reintroduced from 1 July 2023, and will be for 48 hours per fortnight rather than 40 hours. However, the amount of work permitted depends on the course undertaken by the student and whether the student is a primary or secondary visa holder. Students working in the aged care sector on 9 May 2023 will have unrestricted work rights until 1 January 2024 when work restrictions are due to be reintroduced.
The 6-month work restriction will be reintroduced for working holiday makers from 1 July 2023 as well. Advice from Department of Home Affairs indicates that work undertaken prior to this date will not count towards the 6-month restriction.
In this article, we look at work restrictions on student and working holiday visas in detail and explain how these will work from 1 July. We also discuss steps which employers can take to ensure that they remain compliant after reintroduction of work restrictions.
Student Visa Work Restrictions
Student visas are subject to work restrictions for both the person studying (primary visa holder), as well as their dependents (secondary visa holders).
Primary visa holders are subject to condition 8105 which allows them to work for up to 40 hours per fortnight during semester and full-time in semester break. Where the student is doing a PhD or Masters by Research, they can work full time. Students cannot work prior to commencement of their course.
Secondary visa holders are subject to condition 8104, which allows them to work for up to 40 hours per fortnight, whether during semester or not. Where the main student is doing a PhD or Masters, they can work full time.
Both condition 8104 and 8105 were ‘relaxed’ from 19 January 2022 meaning that no compliance action is taken against employers or students where work is in excess of student visa conditions. Work restrictions are due to be reintroduced for most students from 1 July 2023, but with students being able to work 48 hours per fortnight, rather than 40 hours. This may involve legislation modifying conditions 8104 and 8105 and it appears that the increased work hours will apply to both student visas in effect on 1 July, and those granted after this date.
In the case of international students already working in the aged care sector as of 9 May 2023, student work restrictions will not be reinstated until 31 December 2023.
Employers should check the visa status of students prior to employment and verify that the student has commenced their course. As work rights on a student visa depend on the course which the student is studying, it is advisable for employers to sight the Confirmation of Employment for the primary student, and to record the student’s semester dates at this point. Student visas can be cancelled if the student does not comply with visa conditions – for instance if they breach work restrictions or do not attend classes. Accordingly, employers may also wish to check visa status at regular intervals during employment.
Working Holiday Work Restrictions
Working holiday visas are subject to condition 8547 which normally allows holders to work up to a maximum of 6 months for each employer. Working for longer than6 months generally requires permission from the Department of Home Affairs.
Condition 8547 was relaxed from 19 January 2022, meaning that working holiday makers can work for more than 6 months with each employer without seeking permission. However, these arrangements will cease from 1 July 2023. In terms of current employees holding a working holiday visa, we have the following advice is from the Department of Home Affairs Website:
any work that is carried out before 1 July 2023 will not be counted towards the 6-month limitation period. This means that from 1 July 2023 onwards, WHMs may work for any employer for up to an additional 6 months even if they worked for that same employer before 1 July 2023.Department of Home Affairs Website 16/5/2023
Accordingly, employers should check the visa status of the visa holder prior to employment and close to expiry of their visa. The 6-month limitation may be reset if the working holiday maker obtains a new visa subject to condition 8547 – for instance if they obtain a further working holiday visa by doing specified work or if they are on a bridging visa. Hence, employers should maintain careful records of the 6-month limitation for each working holiday maker they employ.
Employers have been able to give unlimited work hours to international students and working holiday makers on staff due to pandemic arrangements. For most students and working holiday makers, these arrangements are due to cease on 1 July 2023.
Complying with the work restrictions is much easier with vSure. Employers using vSure can check the visa status and work restrictions of each staff member on employment. They can also set a schedule for regular follow up checks during employment. vSure also automates recording of the 6-month limitation – for instance, setting up new reminder if the holder obtains a subsequent visa subject to 8547.
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