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These are the latest changes to student visa agreements in Australia

On July 20th, the Australian Government announced a series of changes to student visa agreements to ensure that Australia remains a priority destination for students as the issue of COVID-19 is progressed.

While the closure of international borders has been instrumental in reducing the spread of coronavirus, challenges have arisen in the education sector.

These visa changes aim to ensure that international students do not continue to experience difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic and that Australia remains competitive against other countries.

5 changes to consider:

  • The Government will reissue student visas in all places outside Australia. This means that when the borders are reopened, students will already have visas and will be able to make travel arrangements.
  • International students will be able to submit an additional student visa application free of charge, if they are unable to complete their studies within their original validity due to COVID-19.
  • Student visa holders who study online outside Australia due to COVID-19 may count that study as an Australian study requirement.
  • Eligible graduates affected by travel restrictions may also apply for and receive a Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) outside Australia.
  • Additional time will be given for applicants to provide results in English if access to these services was interrupted due to COVID-19. Additional time will also be provided for biometric collection and health checks.

Minister of Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge said the changes provide security and confidence to international students already in Australia and those who have been unable to travel due to border closures.

“In making these changes, we have been guided by the principles that Australians' health is key, but international students should no longer be disadvantaged by COVID-19.

We are a welcoming nation with a world-class education system and some of the lowest COVID-19 rates in the world. Students want to study here, and we want to welcome them in a safe and measured manner when it is appropriate to do so.”

Education Minister Dan Tehan also mentioned that the changes would give international students confidence in their visa agreements, so they can make plans to study in Australia when it is safe to do so.

“Our remarkable efforts to control the spread of the virus mean that we can start welcoming international students safely once state borders are reopened and face-to-face learning resumes.”

In the past, the Government has relaxed labour restrictions for international students working in the health, elderly care and care for persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has also been flexible in cases where the pandemic has prevented international students from meeting their visa conditions, such as being unable to attend classes in person. 

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