The Australian Government Offer More Visa Variation for International Student
After a long-awaited and many changes on the circumstances of international students’ study, the Australian Government finally issued several more variations on a visa regulation to support international students whose education is impacted by the COVID-19.
An international student market is an essential asset to Australia and its economy as this sector contributes AUD 40 billion annually and supports 250.000 jobs across Australia. Therefore the governments, along with educational institutions, are trying to make some arrangements during this pandemic to ensure Australia remains a priority destination for international students.
The closure of international borders, which aims to slow the spread of coronavirus, had become a critical issue faced by the government and students. It is eventually forcing the government on allowing an international student to access their study online. This policy, of course, will give a significant impact on the visa processing time of a student visa application, especially for those who made it outside of Australia.
The online study means that students are not required to do a face-to-face study and come to the campus for other study activities. This condition then made the Department of Home Affairs relax the processing time of a visa made outside of Australia. Their main concern is the borders itself. As long as the border is closed, then they won’t be necessary to process offshore application soon. Thus they switch their concern to the visa application made within Australia since most of that visa is in an urgent situation.
Ironically, the government keeps “ignoring” international students’ needs. Yet, they focus on other regulations when many international students wish to come to Australia as soon as their studies start, especially those who are stranded in their home country. For example, the new one which was recently made for Hong Kong residents. The Australian National University and The University of Canberra also postpone their plan to bring in 350 international students in this July 2020 intake due to the latest COVID-19 development in Australia.
In contrast, The United Kingdom, one of Australia’s chief rivals in the international student market, is allowing international students to enter the country with 14-day self-isolation. This condition is raising a concern to the Australian Government that it will attract students who would have otherwise chosen Australia.
A recent survey held by one of the education companies on students going to overseas universities showed that more than three-quarters would be willing to participate in quarantine programs if it brings back face-to-face learning sooner. However, students were still no closer to answers on when they might be able to travel to Australia, with the growth of cases in Victoria and Sydney.
To assure international students that Australia is still preferable for international study, on the 20th of July 2020, the Acting Minister of Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Mr Alan Tudge, and the Minister for Education, Mr Hon Dan Tehan, released a media statement. The statement includes five keys of student visa changes in supporting international students.
The changes include :
- Recommence granting student visas lodged in any locations outside of Australia. It means that once the international borders reopen, international students who have been granted student visas outside of Australia will be ready to make arrangements to travel to Australia.
- Free-of-charge student visa applications. International students who are unable to complete their studies within their original visa validity due to COVID-19 will be able to lodge a further student visa application on a free of charge term.
- Ease of post-study work visas requirements. For student visa holders outside of Australia who are currently studying online due to COVID-19 will be able to have their online studies to count towards the Australian study requirement for a post-study work visa. Click here for more information.
- Offshore applications for Post-study work visa. Graduates who held a student visa will be eligible to apply for a post-study work visa offshore if they are unable to return to Australia due to COVID-19. Usually, this visa can only be applied within Australia. However, due to the closure of the border, many international students are unable to return to Australia any sooner to apply for their temporary graduate visa.
- English language requirement. For some countries, it is necessary to submit an English test result along with the visa application. However, due to the COVID-19, many English language test providers have deferred the schedule for its test. Thus to support international students, the government gives an additional time to provide English language results where COVID-19 has disrupted access to these services.
The Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, said that 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 reopen and face-to-face learning resumes,” Mr Tehan said.
We wish that with the current changes, international students, whether they are outside or within Australia, will feel ease to focus on their future study amidst the pandemic of COVID-19. If you are still unsure about your current visa state, especially those who are impacted by COVID-19, feel free to discuss your case with our professional consultants at education ONE, so you may have a better option for your study in Australia. As we also have an in-house Australian Registered Migration Agent, Mrs Indah Melindasari (MARN: 0961448), we will also make sure that every suggestion that we made for you has been adapted with the up-to-date Australian Immigration regulations.
Stay healthy and stay safe wherever you are and keep motivating yourself to achieve your dream studying in Australia.