Breaking: Full time work rights for international students employed in tourism and hospitality

The Department of Home Affairs has announced changes that will make many international students around Australia very happy. As of 10th May 2021, there is no longer a 40-hour per fortnight work restriction for primary visa holders employed in the tourism and hospitality sectors.

In response to the pandemic, and to assist a labour shortage due to the significant drop in people currently allowed to enter the country to take up jobs, the government has temporarily relaxed its approach towards the work limitation condition for eligible individuals on a Subclass 500 visa.

This means that if you are currently employed as a chef, cook, bartender, café restaurant manager, front of house (and many more!), you are now able to work beyond your usual work restrictions. This measure is temporary and is expected to continue until there is some certainty around international borders reopening.

As per previous announcements, full time work hours also apply to international students if they fall under one of the following categories:

  • You are employed in the health sector or are enrolled in a health related course (i.e. nursing) and are directed by a health official to assist in the effort against COVID-19
  • You were employed in an aged care by an Approved Provider or Commonwealth-funded aged care service provider before 8 September 2020
  • You were employed by a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme provider before 23 April 2020
  • You are working in the agriculture sector

International students in cafe

Subclass 408 (COVID-19 Pandemic Event) visa

Tourism and hospitality has now also joined agriculture, food processing, health care, aged care, disability care and childcare as an occupation in a critical sector which can be used to apply for a Subclass 408 ‘COVID-19 Pandemic Event’ visa. Applicants who currently work or intend to work in this sector and who hold a temporary visa will be able to continue to do so for a period of up to 12 months.

The Department will accept applications for a Subclass 408 in this stream up to 90 days before the expiry of your current visa.

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