Here’s some welcome news for international students in Australia. Australian student visa holders in certain sectors will be able to work longer hours, announced Australian Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt on Monday (August 30). The temporary extension of the removal of working hour restrictions applies to all student visa holders working in the aged care sector, regardless of when they commenced that work.
Hunt said the government understands the increase in staffing pressures across aged care. “While the vaccination programme means we are seeing fewer hospitalisations and deaths, our workforce continues to be placed under pressure because of COVID-19,” said Hunt. “Many aged care workers, nurses and other staff have been working at a higher intensity during the pandemic. All Australians are thankful for their efforts, and the Australian government is working to ease that pressure.”
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services Richard Colbeck said it was an important mechanism that offered reassurance to providers. “This extension will help reinforce staff rosters, ensuring providers will have continued access to skilled and compassionate workers and ultimately ensure the health and wellbeing of our loved ones in care is a priority,” he said.
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services, and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke said the extension of the temporary relaxation of working hour restrictions means Australian student visa holders will be able to perform more than 40 hours of work a fortnight in aged care without impacting their visa status. “We want student visa holders to have the flexibility to take on extra work with aged care providers, which will increase the capacity of their employers and colleagues to respond to the pandemic.
“Previously, student visa holders who had started with their employer after September 8, 2020 were excluded from this arrangement, however that condition has now been removed,” said Hawke. Australian student visa holders already enrolled in nursing can undertake work at the request of health officials to help and support the health effort against COVID-19. No enforcement actions will be taken against student nurses working in these circumstances.
Previously, the Morrison government announced a temporary relaxation of working hours for Australian student visa holders who are employed at supermarkets during lockdown, and those employed in hospitality and tourism.