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Australia offers students various options during COVID-19

Posted on April 28, 2020
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Australia international students

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic many countries around the world have tried their best to protect the interests of international students studying in their country. Australia is no exception. The government here in the recent past has introduced several measures to help international students in the country.

Student visa holders in Australia are fortunate that the Australian government has taken a flexible approach related to visa conditions due to COVID-19. These conditions include attendance at class and use of online learning. The government has even revised the conditions to work for these visa holders due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

If your study period has ended:

Student visa holders whose study period has ended and if they are unable to leave Australia, they can apply for a visitor visa or a Subclass 600 visa before their student visa expires.

Working options for student visa holders:

Students who have finished their course as per schedule or those who are under a course break can work for unlimited hours.

Similarly, students who are doing a masters, research or doctorate course can work for unlimited hours.

Students whose courses have been deferred can work for 40 hours per fortnight.

Temporary relaxation of working hours:

Certain categories of student visa holders are permitted to work for more than 40 hours in order to support the supply of essential goods and services, provided they are employed in the following sectors. They should be:

  • Employed in the health sector and be a student of a health related course like medicine or nursing and are involved in efforts to tackle COVID-19.
  • Employed by supermarkets, however this temporary measure will stop by May 1st for supermarkets.
  • Students employed in aged care or an approved service provider
  • Students employed by a National Disability Insurance Scheme provider

Extension of student visa:

Under normal conditions, the Australian migration law does not allow you to extend your student visa. Students should apply for a new visa if:

They cannot return to their home country and their visa is nearing the expiration date or you need more time in the country to complete your course.

Students are required to apply for a new visa six weeks before the existing student visa expires.

However, they are not expected to provide proof of the impact of COVID-19 on their student visa application.

Meeting student visa requirements:

Due to Covid-19 certain services related to the visa application process may be affected and some services to complete the application may be unavailable. Many applicants will not be able to complete the requirements for a student visa. This includes mandatory medical check-ups, English language tests and collection of biometric data. Students in such cases will be given additional time to complete these requirements and submit their applications.

If the student applies for a new visa before the current visa expires, he will be eligible for a bridging visa which will help him to legally stay in Australia till the legal requirements for a new visa are met.

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