Houston College of Education Information and Career Counselling

Australia's visa changes to support international students

Bringing in $40 billion dollars annually and supporting a further 250,000 jobs, it is no surprise that International students contribute massively to Australia’s economy and community. Due to its unquestionable influence the Australian federal government has been making various plans and easing some regulations in order to resuscitate the market after the COVID-19 border closure.

The Morrison government previously relaxed work restrictions for international students working in the health, aged and disability care sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also been flexible in cases where international students haven’t been able to meet their visa conditions like not being able to attend classes in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Along with the existing measures Australia has made these following changes to assist and to remain a highly desired destination for international students.

  • Recommencement of granting student visas in all locations lodged outside Australia, allowing students to acquire visa early and make arrangements to travel when the border reopens.
  • In case students are unable to complete their studies within the original visa duration due to COVID-19, they will be able to lodge a further student visa application free of charge (visa application fee waiver).
  • International students studying online offshore due to COVID-19 restrictions will be able to use that study count for the requirements of a post-study visa.
  • Graduates who hold a study visa are eligible to apply for a post study visa outside Australia if they are unable to return due to COVID-19.
  • Extra time will be provided in cases where the applicant’s English Language result has been delayed due to COVID-19 disruption.
  • Additional grants and monetary support worth more than $37 million dollars for international students studying in Australia, $9 million of which will be offered in form of grants allocated for institutions offering intensive English Language Courses for overseas students.
  • International students in Australia employed at supermarkets will be allowed to work more than the usual 40-hour fortnightly cap.

Australia’s acting immigration minister, Alan Tudge said “These measures back the international education sector – our fourth largest export sector – and will assist its recovery”, further highlighting the importance of it.

While it is clearly in their immediate interest to reinvigorate its international student sector, it is highly encouraging to see Australia trying to help out aspiring international students who have been in limbo due to COVID-19 and the increasing number of its variants.