Industries Where International Students Can Work Over 40 Hours a Fortnight

*Note: The information below was correct at the time of publishing and readers should refer to the Department of Home Affairs website for the latest updates.

While you’re studying in Australia, you might choose to undertake paid work. Generally speaking, there are limitations on the number of hours you can work as an international student.

However, the Australian Government recently changed the rules, allowing some students to work additional hours. Here’s everything you need to know about which industries allow international students to work more than 40 hours per fortnight.

How many hours can international students work in Australia?

The standard international student working hours are 40 hours per fortnight during semester and unlimited hours during breaks. 

In light of the pandemic, though, the Australian Department of Home Affairs and Australian Border Force announced that international students can work more than 40 hours per fortnight during semester if they’re working in specific industries.

Why can international students work extra hours in Australia?

The Department of Home Affairs has relaxed restrictions on working hours for student visa holders in Australia “​due to exceptional circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to ensure the supply of critical services”.

Previously, international students were only allowed to work more than 40 hours per fortnight during semester to help fill temporary staff shortages in the health, aged care and disability sectors. However, the latest development is aimed at delivering support to farmers during the harvest season, when many regions are anticipating big crops. This means that you currently have the opportunity to undertake unlimited paid farm work in Australia to help financially support your studies.

Note that the temporary measures are being regularly reviewed by the Australian Government, and employers will be notified when the measures no longer apply.

Where can international students work extra hours on their Australian student visa?

Currently, international students can work extra hours if they are:

  • employed by an aged care Approved Provider or Commonwealth-funded aged care service provider with a RACS ID or a NAPS ID, before 8 September 20​20
  • employed by a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme provider
  • enrolled in a healthcare-related course and you are supporting the health effort against COVID-19, as directed by health officials
  • employed in the agriculture sector

Who can work over 40 hours in a fortnight?

International students in Australia who hold a valid student visa (undergraduate and postgraduate) can work over 40 hours in a fortnight within the specified industries.

How can international students apply for extra work hours in Australia?

As stated by the Department of Home Affairs, “Student visa holders do not need to apply for this temporary measure.” However, you may need to contact individual employers within the specified industries to check if they have work available.

How can international students stay safe at work?

Before starting a new job, it is important to understand your workplace rights and entitlements by checking the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) website. Here, you’ll find lots of information on working in Australia, and you can familiarise yourself with your work rights and minimum wage, find credible employers, learn about expectations at work and prepare accordingly. Ensure you prioritise your safety and wellbeing at all times.