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 height of the pandemic in order to ease worker shortages. 

The change in the cap is the latest blow to a group who were denied any financial support from the Australian government (e.g. JobKeeper) during the pandemic. Many students were stuck in the country and unable to support themselves financially which led to companies like Deputy launching its Gift A Shift Fundraising initiative to provide students with chef-cooked meals whilst unable to work. 

The implications of this decision are far-reaching, leaving international students, business owners and the wider economy worse off and at risk of a host 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

Increased instances of wage theft and low workplace trust

Emma Seymour, CFO at Deputy said,

“The recent decision by the Federal 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

  • of the inability to increase hourly earnings relative to the costs of living

  • of decisions leading to forced underemployment and increased financial stress

We call on Government to officially #ScrapTheCap and 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.