From 26 April 2008, all student visas will be granted with work rights attached. This will remove the need for the majority of international students to make a separate application for a student visa with permission to work in Australia. This will reduce red-tape for student visa holders by streamlining the visa application process.
While student visa holders will have work rights automatically included in their visa grant, the work conditions themselves will not change. Students and their dependents will still be restricted from undertaking work until the student has commenced their course in Australia. Students will remain subject to a 20 hours per week work limitation while their course is in
session (excluding work undertaken as a registered component of the course). Their dependents will also remain subject to a 20 hours per week work limitation, except for dependents of students who have commenced a Masters or Doctorate course who will be able to work unlimited hours.
To accommodate the new arrangements, the Student Visa Application Charge will increase by AUD$20 to AUD$450 from 26 April 2008. This represents a saving of $40 for the majority of student visa holders who were previously required to pay $430 on initial application and a further $60 in Australia for permission to work.
Visa Label-Free initiative:
The Department is expanding visa label-free arrangements to further groups of students from 26 April 2008. The Department has traditionally placed visa labels in the passports of student visa holders as evidence of their permission to enter Australia and conditions of stay. This has become unnecessary as all visa information is stored and can be accessed electronically through the Department’s Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service. Clients can access VEVO at any time to check information such as their visa subclass, visa conditions and period of stay. Further, with the permission of the visa holder, employers, education providers, government agencies and other organisations can access VEVO to check visa entitlements such as restrictions on work and study.
Label-free travel is already open to all Assessment Level 1 students applying through eVisa. It will now be extended to students from India, Indonesia and Thailand participating in the Assessment Level 2-4 eVisa trial. For the time being, students from the People’s Republic of China will still need a visa label to facilitate their travel to Australia.