International Students To Return To Australia In 2021

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July 10, 2021

The Australian government is committed to the return of international students to Australia as soon as it is safe to do so. Many Australian states and territories are working directly with education providers to develop plans to commence the return of international students. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg declared that migration plans for 2021-2022 will remain unchanged when he delivered his second pandemic budget, with international students a key contributor to the country’s economy.

Small pilot programs of international student returns have already been undertaken in the Northern Territory at Charles Darwin University, welcoming 63 international students back to Australia. NSW is also planning on bringing international students back into the state within months, using a purpose-built quarantine site with room for 600. The state treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, told The Australian newspaper that some students could return as early as semester two in 2021, which generally starts in August. The plan is to slowly increase the number of international students returning to Australia into the first half of 2022.

Students Returning To Australia

If you currently hold a student visa but are not currently located in Australia, you are encouraged to continue your studies online while restrictions are still in place on travel. If you do not yet have a visa for study in Australia, it is encouraged that you commence your studies online while you await your Student Visa Subclass 500 so that you can start studying in Australia as soon as travel restrictions are lifted. Online study undertaken outside Australia because of COVID-19 travel restrictions will count towards the Australian Study Requirement for existing and new student visa holders.

Graduates affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions can apply for and be granted a Temporary Graduate visa outside Australia (where they have met all the requirements). If you are applying outside Australia, you must hold or have held a Student visa in the past 12 months to apply for a Temporary Graduate visa.

While in Australia you will need to be able to financially support yourself throughout your studies. While everyone’s situation will be different, in your application you will need to supply evidence of funds that can cover travel costs and 12 months of living and tuition fees.

Relaxed Cap On Working Hours

A Student Visa Subclass 500 makes you eligible to work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight when your course is in session and unlimited hours during study breaks. To support the supply of certain services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Home Affairs and Australian Border Force will take a flexible approach to student visa holders, including those working beyond their usual work limitations in select sectors including those employed;

  • By an aged care Approved Provider or Commonwealth-funded aged care service provider with a RACS ID or a NAPS ID, before 8 September 2020
  • By a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme provider
  • Enrolled in a healthcare-related course and you are supporting the health effort against COVID-19, as directed by health officials
  • In the agriculture sector
  • In the tourism and hospitality sector

You must continue to balance your study and work commitments even though there is more flexibility in work hours in certain sectors. If you are working or have an offer of employment in one of the sectors above, and you have finished your course, you may be eligible for a COVID-19 Pandemic (Subclass 408) Visa.

Australia prides itself on being a friendly, safe country and we look forward to welcoming international students back to Australia soon. If you need help acquiring your Student Visa contact our team of experienced migration experts.

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