The Australian government has announced it will recommence granting international student visas and allow current students to count online study while overseas. This will ensure Australia remains a priority study abroad destination as it emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The latest announcement by the acting immigration minister, Alan Tudge, comes as part of five measures aimed at keeping international students in Australia amid concerns some won’t return once the pandemic subsides. The five key changes are listed below.
Changes To Australian Student Visas Due To Covid-19
Here are the changes that have been announced to limit the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international students -a cohort of visa holders that contribute $40 billion annually and support 250,000 jobs:
Government to recommence granting student visas to new students offshore
This means when borders will re-open, students will already have visas and they will be able to make arrangements to travel.
Free-of-charge visa application
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 a post-study work visa
Current 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.
Alan Tudge the acting minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs 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.”
Today @DanTehanWannon and I announced changes to student visas for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes will give int’l students confidence in their visa arrangements so they can make plans to study in Australia when it is safe to do so 👉https://t.co/emF45vW8D0
— Alan Tudge (@AlanTudgeMP) July 20, 2020
He, however, did not provide a specific timeline indicating when the international students will be able to return to the country, amid speculations that the pilots initiated by universities across the country have been abandoned. One such example was an approved pilot at the Australian National University and the University of Canberra which was put on hold indefinitely as coronavirus cases spiked in Victoria, despite the federal government suggesting a border ban with Victoria would not be a bar to pilots going ahead.
The announcement was cautiously welcomed but caused confusion in the university sector, which had demanded that current and future students gain the ability to study online. With that said, we understand that despite being left off the announcement the concession will also apply to future students.
Are you impacted by these changes?
Are you a student visa applicant and will these changes help? Let us know in our comments below.