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28th Nov 2022
Afia Azmi

Australia welcomes back international students after a long break amid COVID-19 restrictions

Students around the world are elated! Australia is welcoming international students who are double vaccinated starting from 21st February. Since their closed borders created a two-year-long vacuum in the country. However, they will also be required to get a mandatory PCR or Antigen test within 24 hours of arrival in Australia and quarantine until they have been tested.

Visa Fee Waiver

International students who continue to study in Australia can apply for a student visa fee waiver. However, there are some conditions to this. The international student visa holders (including dependents) who are arriving, or will arrive, in Australia between 19 January 2022 and 19 March 2022 will receive their visa application fee refund (around AU$630). This refund applies to both current visa holders and new students who arrive in Australia within the said dates.

How to apply for a student visa fee waiver in Australia?

To receive this refund, the international students are required to create an account on the Home Affairs Visa Refund Portal and complete an online claim form, duly filled with the latest and correct information. All eligible visa holders can make a claim any time up to 31 December 2022.

Other changes relevant for international students to study in Australia
  • International students who have already arrived in Australia and have previously held a student visa on or after 1st February 2020 and were unable to complete their course within the original visa period due to COVID-19, may be eligible for a student visa application fee waiver when they apply for a new student visa.

  • Students will now get extra time to provide their English language test results if they are unable to take a test because of COVID-19 impacts. Extra time will also be provided for biometrics collection and health checks where COVID-19 has ruptured access to emergency services. Students should regularly check their ImmiAccount if they need additional time or any other policy aids.

  • The Australian Government has also lifted the number of hours that international students can work while studying there. There is no restriction temporarily, and this policy will be reviewed later in April 2022 tentatively. However, students must maintain the basic requirements such as maintaining their course progress satisfactorily.

  • Students who are working or have an offer of employment in a critical sector, and have completed their course may be eligible for a COVID-19 Pandemic (subclass 408) visa. However, they can apply for this visa 90 days before their current student visa is due to expire.

  • Students will still benefit from workplace protections policies, clauses, and conditions meted out by the Australian Government.

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