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Major restrictions coming for 500,000 workers

International students will only be able to work 48 hours per fortnight as of July 1.

Workers cross of busy street in the Sydney CBD.
International students will have their work hours capped. (Source: Getty)

Student visa holders in Australia will soon be restricted to working no more than 48 hours per fortnight.

Work restrictions for international students were relaxed throughout the COVID pandemic, and were completely removed in January 2022 but, as of July 1, the 48-hour rule will return.

The government said the capped hours were designed to ensure international students could focus on obtaining a quality education while remaining able to support themselves financially.

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The change in the cap is the latest blow to a group who were denied any financial support from the Australian government during the pandemic.

The implications of this decision could leave international students, business owners and the wider economy worse off and at risk of a host of challenges, including:

  • Forced underemployment during a time of high inflation and market volatility

  • Limited access to a living wage

  • Increased worker shortages due to cap limitations decreasing the size of the pool

  • Increased instances of wage theft and low workplace trust

Rostering-software company Deputy’s chief financial officer, Emma Seymour, slammed the move to reintroduce the work caps.

“The recent decision by the federal government to reimpose working-hour caps on international students is a devastating blow to both those affected and the economy,” Seymour said.

She said the government must reverse the decision, and help students earn a livable wage and help businesses struggling with worker shortages.

“We call on government to officially #ScrapTheCap and focus instead on empowering businesses operating in the shift-work economy to be more profitable, connected, and trusted within their communities,” Seymour said.

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