Post-study work rights durations to increase, up to 6 years for select degrees

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In exciting news for Australia’s international student community, the Federal Government has confirmed that it will be increasing the duration of post-study work rights.

It will now increase from two years to four years for select Bachelor’s degrees, from three years to five years for select Masters degrees, and four years to six years for select PhDs.

The move is intended to address Australia’s skill shortages in various sectors.

“At the moment, only 16 per cent of international students stay on after their studies end,” elaborated Jason Clare, Minister for Education.

“This will mean they can stay on longer and use the skills they’ve gained in Australia to help fill some of the chronic skills shortages we have right now.”

Degrees of relevance are likely to include nursing, IT, and engineering.

Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neil added that the increased period for post-study work rights is “geared towards supporting international education and giving the students who earn degrees in Australia the chance to contribute to the productivity of [the] economy.”

A working group will be established to advise the Ministers on this development and will report by 28 October 2022. It will include representatives from the Council of International Education, the National Tertiary Education Union, Universities Australia, and the Departments of Home Affairs and Education.

However, another major development for international students is the return of work hour limitations, which had been lifted from 40 hours a fortnight during the pandemic to address labour shortages.

Minister O’Neil announced that work hours for international students will be capped again in June 2023, following feedback from stakeholders.

This follows a massive week of major announcements from the national Jobs and Skills Summit, where the Government had announced that it will add 35,000 more spots in its permanent migration program (effectively lifting the cap from 160,000 to 195,000.)

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