In February 2023, the Albanese Government announced it would address skills shortages by extending post-study work rights for international students that have graduated from an Australian higher education provider.
This will support businesses across the country and help rebuild the international education sector following the pandemic. It was a practical change that will increase the availability of a well-trained and highly capable workforce to help ease current pressures.
The Government also released the list of occupations and the eligible qualifications that will enable graduates to access greater work rights. https://www.education.gov.au/extended-poststudy-work-rights-international-graduates
We are targeting the skills Australia needs most, including health, teaching, engineering and agricultural fields.
Targeted skills will be considered on an annual basis and updated as needed in response to the labour market.
This was a commitment made following the Jobs and Skills Summit in 2022 and developed further after advice from a working group made up of the Council of International Education, the National Tertiary Education Union, Universities Australia, and the Departments of Home Affairs and Education.
These extended work rights came into effect from 1 July 2023. Previous settings were increased by two years. This will extend post study work rights from
- two years to four years for select Bachelor degrees
- three years to five years for select Masters degrees
- four years to six years for all Doctoral degrees.
Existing settings for regional and remote Australia will also be maintained, and where relevant, will be eligible for the additional two years.
Eligible graduates with a valid Temporary Graduate Visa on 1 July 2023 or who apply for a Temporary Graduate Visa after 1 July 2023, will be considered for the two-year extension.
Graduates whose visa expires before 1 July 2023 can apply for an extension of their work rights by visiting Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408) Australian Government endorsed events (COVID-19 Pandemic event) here: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/temporary-activity-408/australian-government-endorsed-events-covid-19
More information about these measures is available at Temporary Graduate visa - Subclass 485: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/temporary-graduate-485/
In addition, the Government will increase the allowable work hours cap from 40 hours per fortnight to 48 hours per fortnight. The cap took effect from 1 July 2023
This modest increase will help students to support themselves financially, gain valuable work experience and contribute to Australia’s workforce needs while they study.
Student visa holders have no work restrictions when their course of study or training is not in session – this ensures that student visa holders are able to focus on obtaining a quality Australian education and qualification.
More information on student visa work hours is available on the Department of Home Affairs website at: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/student-500/temporary-relaxation-of-working-hours-for-student-visa-holders
The Government’s response to the recommendations of the Post-Study Work Rights Working Group is available at: https://www.education.gov.au/extended-poststudy-work-rights-international-graduates