Why Can’t They Work?

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Why Can’t They Work?

Why Can’t They Work?

While overseas students are given the privilege of studying in Australia on student visas, they are limited in some aspects, the biggest being employment.

Currently, anyone on a student visa is able to work 20 hours a week when school is in session and as much as 40 hours a week when school is out of session. Postgraduate research students and students who have commenced a masters by research or a doctoral degree in Australia are not subject to employment limitations. Any work that is registered as part of the course is not included in the visa employment limitations.

Upon arriving in Australia, visa holders cannot undertake any work until their course has started.

Family members of the primary visa holder are permitted to work in Australia but are subject to certain conditions, including:

  • Family members cannot work until the primary visa holder’s course has started
  • They are only permitted to work a maximum of 20 hours a week at all times. In the case of the primary visa holder commencing a course towards a masters or doctoral degree, there is no limitation on the number of hours they are permitted to work

Breaching these employment requirements can result in visa cancellation.

While 20 hours a week for a student while studying seems reasonable, these limitations can have a negative impact on immigrant families.

What Are the Ramifications of These Employment Restrictions?

Families subjected to these employment restrictions find it hard to earn enough money to provide for their family and often have to dip into any savings they may have to get by. The cost of living in Australia is high and visa holders are not entitled to benefits available to Australian residents, therefore they are paying more for medical and schooling.

Any income earned during that 20 hours a week doesn’t go far and eventually impacts on their ability to stay in Australia. With visa holders having to abide by employment restrictions and manage living expenses, often renewing a visa can be difficult as there is just not enough money left to pay the visa fees.

So, is it unreasonable for the family members of visa holders to be able to work more? This issue raises the question of whether immigrants are taking jobs from Australian residents. While this isn’t often the case, its assumed a sense of caution comes into play and the government is doing what it can to protect the employment opportunities of Australians.

The question remains, if a family is willing to work hard to make Australia their permanent home, shouldn’t they be given the opportunity to do so?
If you have any questions about visa employment restrictions and need expert advice, speak to one of the VSA team today. It is a complex subject so it is important to speak with someone in the know.

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