Major Student visa changes announced
Updated: Jul 21, 2020
Covid-19 has caused major disruptions all around the globe. International students in Australia are no exception to this rule.
Overseas students are extremely important to Australia, contributing $40 billion annually and supporting 250,000 jobs. Many also go on to become great Australian citizens. While the closure of our international borders has been critical to our success in slowing the spread of the coronavirus, it has presented challenges to the education sector and students, both onshore and offshore.
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Yesterday (20 July 2020), the Government announced long anticipated changes to Student visa arrangements. These five changes are intended to ensure Australia remains a priority destination for international students as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Here's what we know so far:
1. Offshore Student visa grants to resume
The Government will recommence granting student 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.
2. Waiving Visa Application Charges
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.
3. Studying offshore counts towards the Australian Study Requirement
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.
4. Offshore Subclass 485 visa applications allowed
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.
5. Extra time to provide English test results
Additional time will be given for applicants to provide English language results where COVID-19 has disrupted access to these services.
Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge said the changes provide assurance to international students already in Australia and those who haven’t been able to travel due to COVID-19 border closures.
“We are a welcoming nation with a world-class education system and some of the lowest rates of COVID-19 in the world. Students want to study here and we want to welcome them back in a safe and measured way when it is safe to do so.
“Our remarkable efforts in controlling the spread of the virus mean we can begin to welcome back international students in a COVID safe way once state borders re-open and face-to-face learning resumes.”
The changes announced will require modifications to the legislation before they come into effect. Stay tuned for more information in our upcoming ImmiUpdates posts.
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