The Hon Ministers Alan Tudge and Dan Tehan have released a joint media statement outlining the arrangements to be put in place for student visa (subclass 500) applicants and student visa holders who have been impacted by the COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The Australian government has noted that these changes have been implemented to “ensure Australia remains a priority destination for international students as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic”.
These arrangements come as welcomed news to the many student’s currently in Australia and offshore who have been severely impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The changes that have been noted in the media release are as follows:
- Grants of student visas in all locations lodged outside Australia will recommence, so visa holders will be ready to travel when borders reopen
- Free VACs for international students who lodge further student visa applications, if they were unable to complete their studies within their original visa validity due to COVID-19
- Current student visa holders studying online outside Australia due to COVID-19 will be have that study counted towards the Australian study requirement for a post-study work visa
- Graduates who held a student visa will be eligible to apply for a post-study work visa outside Australia, if they are unable to return due to COVID-19
- Additional time will be given for applicants to provide English language results where COVID-19 has disrupted access to these services
We note that the announcements that have been made will require legislative updates, our office will provide further updates as they become available.