Changes to International Student Visas: What Does This Mean For You?
On July 20, the Australian Federal Government announced it has resumed the processing of student visa applications lodged in locations outside of Australia in an attempt to boost the number of international students once borders reopen. The Morrison Government has announced five changes that “will ensure international students are not worse off due to the coronavirus pandemic and that Australia remains competitive with other countries.”
The changes include:
- The government will recommence granting students visas in all locations lodged outside Australia. This means when borders re-open, students will already have visas and be able to make arrangements to travel.
- Free-of-charge visa applications: International students will be able to lodge a further student visa application free of charge if they are unable to complete their studies within their original visa validity due to COVID-19.
- Online study will be counted towards the requirement for post-study work visa: Student visa holders studying online outside Australia due to COVID-19 will be able to use that study to count towards the Australian study requirement for a post-study work visa.
- Post-study work rights: Graduates who held a student visa will be eligible to apply for a post-study work visa outside Australia if they are unable to return due to COVID-19.
- Additional time for providing English language test results: Additional time will be given for applicants to provide English language results where COVID-19 has disrupted access to these services.
Minister Tudge said that the government has been guided by the principles that the health of Australians is key, “but the international students should not be further disadvantaged by COVID-19”. Many international students have been doing it tough especially with the vast majority of the some 565,000 in Australia ineligible for federal government support measures.
These changes are aimed to provide assurance to international students already in Australia and those who haven’t been able to travel due to COVID-19 border closures. Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the changes would give international students confidence in their visa arrangements so they can make plans to study in Australia when it is safe to do so.
For more information, we encourage you to visit the Department of Home Affairs website for visa updates and http://australia.gov.au for the latest news, updates and advice from government agencies across Australia.
For more assistance during this second lockdown, visit our resource blog here.
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