Good news for international students working in hospitality

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In a move to support Australia’s tourism and hospitality sectors, the Morrison government has removed work hour restrictions for student visa holders working in these areas.

Previously, student visa holders were limited to 40 hours of work in a fortnight during study periods.

“Tourism and hospitality employ more than half a million Australians and these changes will allow them to supplement their existing workforce to keep their businesses running in addition to generating employment,” said Alex Hawke, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs.

This announcement is expected to provide more visa flexibility during the pandemic, especially for international students who struggled with unemployment and limited work hours during lockdowns.

In addition, temporary visa holders working in tourism and hospitality will now be able to access the 408 COVID-19 Pandemic Event Visa, a subclass that includes sectors like agriculture, disability care, and childcare.

To do so, they must apply for the 408 COVID-19 Visa up to 90 days before their existing visa expires. They can then remain in Australia for up to 12 additional months.

chefs in kichen
Source: Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Govt / Flickr

“I am continuing to take feedback and advice from a range of sectors and will make further announcements on temporary visa flexibility measures and priority skills in the near future,” Minister Hawke said.

Government figures indicate there are approximately 300,000 international students currently working in Australia. In 2020, student visa holders employed in the healthcare and aged care sectors had seen a similar lift in work hours caps to assist with the demand for medical assistance at the time.

READ ALSO: #LetUsBackToAus: International students still left in the lurch

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