COVID-19; Australian Student Visa Arrangements

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Moving into the 26th week of the COVID-19 crisis, the majority of the universities and colleges have started to proceed operating by adapting to the new normal following the Standard Operating Procedure, SOP. 

Some of the universities are already starting to conduct physical classes with a limited number of students allowed to come to the campus. Meanwhile, a lot of the remaining universities are still operating remotely by conducting classes, giving out assignments and doing tests online mostly for international students who are still unable to travel overseas due to the restriction.

With that being said, it’s difficult to tell when the students will be able to travel back to Australia considering the worrying number of cases in Victoria.

Australian Government Department of Health Update:

In conjunction with the concern of the pause in students’ visa processing; last Monday 20 July 2020, Australian government had finally addressed the issue regarding students visa arrangements for their new and existing students. Below are the latest updates:

  • The government would resume processing new students’ visas and start giving them out at all locations outside Australia, so students could arrange travel as soon as the borders reopen.
  • The applicants will also be given additional time to provide English language results due to the COVID-19 situation that had disrupted the process.
  • International students who are unable to complete their studies within their original visa validity due to COVID-19 will be given the privilege to lodge a further student visa application for free.
  • The time spent by the existing international student visa holders studying online due to COVID-19 will be counted towards the Australian study requirement for a post-study work visa.
  • Graduates with a student visa that are unable to return due to COVID-19 will be eligible to apply for a post-study work visa outside Australia.

Andrew Norton, who is a professor in the practice of higher education policy at the Australian National University, said that this announcement will give students more certainty about their  post-study work visa question that had been worrying them.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, Insider Guides

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