As of July 1, student visa holders in Australia will again be restricted to working no more than 48 hours per fortnight — a move the government says is designed to ensure international students can focus on obtaining a quality education while remaining able to support themselves financially. This restriction was removed during the pandemic to help ease worker shortages. 

The change in the cap is another blow to a group who were denied any financial support from the Australian government (for example, JobKeeper). This led to Deputy launching its Gift A Shift fundraising initiative to provide students with chef-cooked meals while unable to work. 

This latest decision leaves international students, business owners and the wider economy at risk of challenges including forced underemployment during a time of high inflation and market volatility, limited access to a living wage, increased worker shortages due to cap limitations decreasing the size of the pool and increased instances of wage theft and low workplace trust.

Deputy chief financial officer, Emma Seymour believes the recent decision by the government to reimpose working-hour caps on international students is a devastating blow to both those affected and the economy. 

“Deputy stands in solidarity with organisations concerned about this decision and strongly advocates for the immediate reversal of fortnightly 48 working hour caps imposed on international students, the inability to increase hourly earnings relative to the costs of living and decisions leading to forced underemployment and increased financial stress,” she said.

“We call on Government to officially #ScrapTheCapand focus instead on empowering businesses operating in the shift work economy to be more profitable, connected, and trusted within their communities. The future of shift work has not been written yet, so let’s not begin with this story.”

Support international students and sign the Scrap The Cap petition.