Supporting international students – Student Visa Arrangements
Student visa arrangements ensure Australia remains a priority destination for international students on
20 July 2020
On 20 July the Australian Government announced a number of changes to student visa arrangements to support international students.
After 2 years of studies in Australian universities/ Vocational schools/ colleges offering higher education (and CRICOS approved), an international student could be eligible to apply for an Australian post-study work visa under subclass 485.
International students for Australia
International students are extremely important to Australia and the economy, contributing $40 billion annually and supporting 250,000 jobs. Many also go on to become great Australian citizens.
Student Visas Arrangements for COVID19
Five changes to student visa arrangements to ensure Australia remains a priority destination for international students as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic have been made on Monday, 20 July 2020
Students Visa New Arrangements – Change 1
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.
This new arrangement will help faster the current student visa process that had been impacted by the COVID -19 outbreak.
Students Visa New Arrangements – Change 2
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.
This new arrangement means that you won’t need to repay your student visa application fee from AUD620 if you need to reapply your student for the course you haven’t completed this year.
Students Visa New Arrangements – Change 3
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.
It means that when you apply for your graduate visa 485 – post-study stream after you completed your study and within 6 months, your online studying won’t affect your eligibility.
Students Visa New Arrangements – Change 4
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.
This new arrangement means that if you have completed your study but physically overseas, you can still apply for the graduate visa 485 within 6 months of graduation.
Students Visa New Arrangements – Change 5
Additional time will be given for applicants to provide English language results where COVID-19 has disrupted access to these services.
This means that if your English language test, for instance, IELTS, PTE has been disrupted due to COVID-19, you can extend your time to provide language results.
Students Visa New Arrangements – Five Changes
As Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge said
“In making these changes, we have been guided by the principles that the health of Australians is key, but that international students should not be further disadvantaged by COVID-19.”
“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.”
“Doing so will not only support the education sector, it will also have flow-on effects for many local communities and businesses, including accommodation services, tourism, hospitality, and retail.”
Give International Students Confidence
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.
“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,” Mr Tehan said.
“As well as supporting jobs, international education builds our connection to the rest of the world and supports a number of critical industries like health, aged and disability care.”
We have seen these positive signals from the department of home affairs for the processing of the student visa 500 as well as graduate visa 485. Based on the new arrangement guideline, it seems the government has paid more attention to international students and related affected sectors as well in Australia. To implement the new arrangement into the policy, and reduce the impact and the disadvantages for international students should continually rise to concern not only in the short term but also when comparing with other countries’ competitors in the long run.
Supporting International Students
More and more organizations have made significant commitments to supporting students through hardship funds and welfare support. If you’re struggling to meet your living expenses, here’s how you can access welfare support.
How are institutions supporting international students?
- All international students are encouraged to stay in touch with their education providers about the range of support that is available to them at this time.
- Many universities and other education providers are offering a range of support to students including fee deferrals, deferred studies or payments, food and accommodation support, and mental health and other medical support.
- Search the Australian education provider COVID-19 response information list below to find out what support is being offered by your institution.
How is the Australian Government providing financial assistance?
- Access to superannuation: International students who have been in Australia longer than 12 months who find themselves in financial hardship are able to access their Australian superannuation.
Applications for early release of superannuation will be accepted through myGov from 20 April. Register your interest by logging in to https://my.gov.au and following the Intention to access coronavirus support instructions.
If you don’t already have a myGov account, you can set one up by selecting ‘create an account’. More information on this is available at the following link: https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/super/withdrawing-and-using-your-super/early-access-to-your-super/#Compassionategrounds