Australia raises work cap hours for international students

Government also unveils occupations eligible for post-study work rights extension

Australia raises work cap hours for international students

The Australian government has announced that it is raising the work hours cap that is set to be imposed on international students starting July 1.

From the previous 40 hours per fortnight, international students will be allowed to work to a new level of 48 hours per fortnight, according to the government.

"This revised cap will help international students to support themselves through their studies, while maintaining study as the primary purpose of their visa," the Department of Education said in a statement.

The announcement was made ahead of the reinstatement of the work hours cap on July 1 after it was relaxed during the pandemic to help meet workforce shortages.

The government said the relaxed working hour cap was only a "temporary measure" during the pandemic to also help students bolster their income while in Australia.

"The working hour cap is intended to balance international students' need to support themselves and gain work experience in Australia with their main purpose, which is to study in Australia," the department said.

Extended post-study work rights

The government also unveiled the list of occupations and qualifications that are eligible for the post-study work rights extension announced last year.

The list includes in-demand occupations such as geotechnical engineer, marine engineer, petroleum engineer, metallurgist, early childhood teacher, midwife, nurse practitioner, and registered nurse, among others.

Developed through a "mapping process," the list was unveiled ahead of the July 1 implementation of post-study work rights extension.

"This extension will give eligible international higher education graduates an additional two years on their Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485)," the Education Department said in an announcement.

This means post-study work rights for select bachelor’s degrees will be hiked to four years, five years for select master’s degrees, and six years for all doctoral qualifications.

"The full list of eligible courses will be published before the implementation date of 1 July 2023," the government said.

Universities Australia welcomed the development, pointing out that it would help address critical skills shortage across the country.

"Making it easier for more of the talented international graduates our universities educate to use their Australian education in Australia's cities and regions makes complete sense," Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson said in a statement. "The decision to extend working rights for PhD students, in particular, will provide a significant boost to the development of Australia's knowledge economy."

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