A joint media statement released today from MP Alan Tudge (Acting Minister for Immigration) and MP Dan Tehan (Minister for Education) have announced five major changes to student visas.
As per the media statement, they are:
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.
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.
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.
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 will be given for applicants to provide English language results where COVID-19 has disrupted access to these services.
These changes will affect students within and outside of Australia, which is in response to the many students who were forced to return to their home country or were left stranded due to border closures as a result of the coronavirus health crisis.
“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.” – MP Alan Tudge.
Both MP’s reiterated their stance on the importance of the international student community within the immigration landscape and to assure both current students and those who wanted to look into overseas study in Australia that they will be well supported.
The changes to student visas are aiming to give students the confidence in their visa arrangements and to move forward with their plans to study in Australia once COVID-19 is no longer a threat to the community.
“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.” – MP Dan Tehan.
Australia is currently one of the few countries in the world with the lowest cases of COVID-19 and one of the highest testing rates per thousand people.
Previously, the Government has also enacted the relaxing of restrictions for international students working in the health, aged and disability care sectors during the pandemic and also exercised leniency in regards to certain visa conditions (such as students not being able to attend class in person).
Are you on a student visa? Do you need assistance in moving your study plans forward? To help you in navigating these major changes, please reach out to us by booking a free consultation.