Read about the effect of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Disability Support and the NDIS here.

International students to boost COVID-19 disability and health workforce

Tags Therapies Education Employment

Posted 1 month ago by Rebecca St Clair

"Around 8,000 international students already work as aged and disability carers and allowing them to work more hours makes sense." (Source: Shutterstock)
"Around 8,000 international students already work as aged and disability carers and allowing them to work more hours makes sense." (Source: Shutterstock)

Work restrictions for international students in medical courses are being eased during the COVID-19 crisis to help boost worker numbers in the disability and health sector. 

International students currently working for registered disability service providers will now be exempt from the usual 40-hour per fortnight work restriction placed on student visas. 

Also exempt are international students enrolled in a medical university or in vocational courses and who are working to support COVID-10 efforts under the direction of State or Territory health authorities.

Ordinarily, international students on a valid student visa can only work up to 20 hours per week during term time and unrestricted hours during any scheduled course break. 

The easing of restrictions on student visas is to help support the Australian disability and health care systems during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme Stuart Robert says that the plan will support the safety of Australians with disability.

He adds, "The plan supports the extensive measures all governments have enacted to support the safety of Australians with disability, NDIS participants and providers, reducing their exposure to the virus and maintaining essential supports." 

Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge says that allowing students already working in the disability sector to work more hours makes sense. 

"Around 8,000 international students already work as aged and disability carers and allowing them to work more hours makes sense.

"We are ensuring state and territory health services have the people they need to continue testing for and treating coronavirus cases so we can stay on top of this crisis.

"We're also ensuring we have enough workers to support those with disability, as many in the current workforce are required to quarantine or take time out to care for their own families."

Minister for Health Greg Hunt says that the changes also ensure Australia has the health workforce available to continue ensuring the health care system is prepared.

"Australia is leading the world in our health response, but we need to keep testing and ensure our health system is prepared for potential future outbreaks like we have seen in other countries.

"Particularly as we begin to restart elective surgeries, states and territories will need as many health workers on standby as possible."

Currently, the measures being introduced are temporary and will be reviewed regularly by the Government as the COVID-19 response progresses. 

For more information about work restrictions, visit the Department of Home Affairs website.

You can also visit our dedicated COVID-19 information page for the latest updates on how COVID-19 is impacting the disability sector.

What are you doing to support yourself through COVID-19? Tell us in the comments below or email us at [email protected].

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