The pandemic of COVID-19, which is unprecedented, has turned the lives of international students upside down. International students who are currently studying in Australia face the uncertainty of their living situation due to the loss of their current job.
Based on the Australian immigration regulations, international students are supposed to meet all the financial capacity required by the Australian government before deciding to continue their study in Australia. It is understandable because the assessment of the student visa application made by the Australian Immigration Department is rigorous for international students.
Nevertheless, the coronavirus outbreak has made the evaluation process by the Australian Immigration Department meaningless. Many international students in Australia are facing difficulties in affording their study and living costs in the current circumstances partly because they are less able to rely on the support of their families back home due to the unstable economic situation all over the world.
The Australian government has put in place some measures to support those students who are currently stranded in Australia. For example, the Victorian government has created job opportunities for international students through the “Working for Victoria” program. Hopefully, all the initiatives taken by the Australian government can help international students continue their study and living in Australia until the pandemic ends.
Aside from the continuity of study, international students are also facing an issue related to their visa status. Those who have finished their study are supposed to leave the country before the expiry of their student visa. However, because there is a travel ban in place in some countries this has meant students are unable to return home.
What is the next visa option available for international students whose study has ended during the COVID 19 Pandemic?
As an education agency that works closely with an Australian Registered Migration Agent (MARN : 0961448), we always try to ensure your choices are in line with the Australian immigration regulations. This will increase your chances of staying in Australia lawfully after finishing your study, especially under the pandemic of COVID-19.
In relation to the above case, here is some advice available for international students whose visa is expiring soon:
You may extend your student visa by taking further study in Australia
International students can choose to continue their study in Australia by enrolling in a new course of study at a college/university. You will need to meet all the requirements of your student visa, including financial capacity.
The university/college will then issue a new Confirmation of Enrollment (COE) for a successful enrollment. Later on, international students can apply for a new student visa using their new COE.
When taking the further study option, you will need to convince the Australian Immigration Department of both your financial capacity and the intention of the course of study that you intend to take. If you happen to have had a financial problem before, the Australian Immigration Department will reconsider giving you a new student visa.
Your new study has to be in line with your future career plan and your previous study. We advise you not to carelessly choose the subject of your next study.
Am I able to downgrade the level of my study? You need to give a compelling reason for your new study and while it is possible to convince the Australian Immigration Department that a lower level of study is appropriate, it’s better if you choose a different subject which is in line with your previous study at the same level. Alternatively, you may consider upgrading your study to a higher level.
What happens if you do not have enough money to continue your study after the end of your student visa
If you are in this difficult financial position, we suggest you apply for a visitor visa. This visa will allow you to stay in Australia legally until you are able to return to your home country. The Australian Immigration Department will give you extra time, a minimum of three months, to stay in Australia using your visitor visa.
Please note though that under a visitor visa, you are not allowed to continue your part-time job or seek a new job while you are in Australia so you will need your family back home to give you extra financial support so you can afford your living costs with your visitor visa. Otherwise, the Australian Immigration Department will suggest you leave Australia.
I have applied for a new visitor visa and have been given a Bridging Visa A. Am I eligible to work using my Bridging visa? A Bridging visa in Australia is a temporary visa which allows you to stay in Australia lawfully before your new visa is issued. Under this visa, the condition applied on your previous visa may be still valid as long as your previous visa has not expired. We recommend you to check your previous visa condition for this purpose.
To apply for a Australian visitor visa, you need to show a minimum amount of AUD 5.000 in your/your sponsor’s account as a proof of your financial capacity. You should also submit your Genuine Temporary Entrance (GTE) statement which shows your temporary intention of staying in Australia.
Can I Join for a Working Holiday Maker Program in Australia after the end of student visa?
The Working Holiday Maker program is designed for young adults to have a 12 months holiday, during which they can undertake short-term work and study in Australia. There are two subclasses under this program, which are Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462) and Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417).
To be able to get this visa, you need to meet all the requirements specified by the Australian Immigration Department, including age, English ability, financial capability, and many more. You must be outside Australia when you apply for this visa and when the Australian Immigration Department decides your application. Thus, you are unable to apply for this visa when you are in Australia after your study finishes.
My Qualification is Suitable for Temporary Graduate Visa Australia (subclass 485). Can I apply for this visa under the current circumstances?
Yes, you may apply for a Temporary Graduate Visa Australia (subclass 485) after the end of your student visa, as long as you have never had a visa cancelled or refused before and you are currently in Australia. You need to submit a Temporary Graduate Visa application within six months after the completion of your study.
There are two streams of Temporary Graduate Visa, which are :
1. Graduate Work Stream
This visa is for international students who have recently graduated with skills and qualifications that are relevant to specific occupations in Australia.
2. Post – Study Work Stream
This visa is for international students who have recently graduated with a degree from an Australian institution.
This visa will give you additional stay in Australia for up to three years, where you can use it to study, holiday, or gain international working experience.
I hope this information can help you to work out your next step after completing your study in Australia. You might experience a delay in some services while you are applying for your new visa in Australia. However, the Australian Immigration Department will process your visa as normal. If you need some additional time to provide some information or documents, the Australian Immigration Department will let you to do so.
Apart from the visas mentioned above, there are many other visas options which might be suitable for you based on your qualifications and situation. Feel free to discuss it with our consultants to get more advice for applying for your next visa.
We are offering complimentary visa consultations for those affected by the coronavirus as a way to assist our community. Meetings can be done by phone, skype or WhatsApp. If you want to share your case, feel free to contact us through this phone number: 08 6102 1118, 02 8005 4777 or 03 9010 6100 or you can simply click here to book an appointment for a consultation with our Registered Migration Agent.
Most of our clients’ problems start because they started their study plan in Australia without anybody telling them what they need to do and prepare.
By joining our free phone session, we will help you plan your journey and recognize obstacles so you can avoid problems that could jeopardise your chances to study in Australia. And we are offering it to you FOR FREE.