Australia amends norms for international students, online studies qualify for post-study work visa

Australia’s government will recommence granting student visas, thus when borders re-open, students will already have visas on hand and will be able to make travel arrangements. They will also get additional time to provide English-language profici...

Representative photo: Reuters
MUMBAI: In the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic, Scott Morrison led government in Australia, has announced five crucial immigration policy amendments to facilitate international students. These range from commencing grant of student visas, to recognising online studies for the post-study work visa program.

Australia’s government will recommence granting student visas, thus when borders re-open, students will already have visas on hand and will be able to make travel arrangements. They will also get additional time to provide English-language proficiency results if Covid-19 has disrupted access to these services.

The official statement does not indicate when Australia will re-open its borders, including for international students. In an official release, Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Alan Tudge, merely said, “We are a welcoming nation with a world-class education system and some of the lowest rates of Covid-19 in the world. Students want to study here and we want to welcome them back in a safe and measured way, when it is safe to do so.”


Indian students are increasingly opting to study in Australia. During the fiscal ended June, 2018, there were nearly 1.07 lakh Indian students in Australia. This increased by 34% percentage to 1.44 lakh during the fiscal 2018-19. Indian students constituted 15% of the international student contingent.

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International students will be permitted to lodge a ‘further’ student visa application free of charge, if they are unable to complete their students within their original visa validity owing to Covid-19.
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International student-visa holders studying online, outside Australia, owing to the pandemic, will be able to use that study period to count towards the Australian study requirement for a post-study work visa. International students, who study at bachelors or masters’ degree level in Australia (usually a tenure of 2-3 years) get a two-year post-study work visa. An additional year’s work tenure is offered, if they have studied in specified regional areas. Further, graduates who held a student visa, will be eligible to apply for a post-study work visa from outside Australia, if they are unable to return owing to Covid-19.

International students contribute $40 billion annually to Australia’s economy and support 2.50 lakh jobs. “These measures back the international education sector – our fourth largest export sector – and will assist its recovery. 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,” said Tudge.

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