International students heading to study in Australia will be eligible for a range of Australia study visa support, as confirmed by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission during a roadshow in Hyderabad, India. This includes an Australia study visa fee refund and a COVID-19 visa fee waiver, as reported by the New Indian Express. Students will also get extra time for English language tests and health checks, plus replacement Temporary Graduate visas and extended “stay and work” periods.
“Students already in Australia, who held a student visa on or after Feb. 1, 2020 and could not complete their course within the original visa time period because of the impact of COVID-19 may be eligible to have their student visa application fee (VAC) waived when applying for a new student visa,” officials said.
This follows an announcement in January by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison that international students will have their visas rebated at a cost of 630 Australian dollars per student. Local reports say the country will rebate visa application fees for students and backpackers for at least the next three months as the country works to fill critical workplace shortages created by COVID-19.
Morrison previously announced that the federal government will remove the 40-hour-a-fortnight cap on student visa-holder workers, which would mean international students will no longer have restrictions on the number of hours they can work.
Eligible Skilled-Recognised Graduate (Subclass 476) visa holders who lost time in Australia as a result of COVID-19 international border restrictions will have their visas extended for 24 months as well. This visa allows recent engineering graduates to live, work or study in Australia. This will provide eligible visa holders with the usual length of the visa, plus an additional six months.
Australian Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke said this would allow current and former Skilled-Recognised Graduate visa holders to enter, or remain in, Australia until April 2024.
“This measure recognises the importance of qualified engineers to Australia’s economy, particularly as we continue to manage the COVID-19 recovery,” Hawke said. “Australia’s international border opened to fully vaccinated Student, Temporary Graduate and Skilled-Recognised Graduate visa holders from Dec. 15, 2021.”