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Five Visa Changes for International Students During COVID-19

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International students are important to Australia as they have made a major contribution in Australia’s economy and Australian society. To limit the impact of Covid 19 pandemic on international students, the Federal Government have announced five major changes which will impact the students currently in Australia and those who are overseas and are unable to travel to Australia due to Covid 19.


Five Major Changes 

1. The Government will recommence granting student visas
The Federal Government has announced that they will recommence granting student visas to overseas students so that when travel restrictions are lifted and borders are re-opened, students already have a visa and can make arrangements to travel.


2. No Visa Application Charge for lodging a further student visa application
Students who are unable to complete their studies within the validity of their current visa, can apply for a further student visa without paying an application fee to the Department of Home Affairs.


3. Online study will be counted for Post-study work visa (Graduate 485 Visa)
Students who are overseas and are attending online classes due to Covid 19 will be able to use their study towards Australian study requirements when they apply for a post-study work visa.

4. Post-study work visa (Graduate 485 Visa) can be applied for offshore
Graduates who have completed their study and are unable to travel to Australia due to Covid 19 restrictions, may apply for a post-study work visa overseas.

5. Additional time for English language results
At some places access to English language testing services might be disrupted due to Covid 19. Under such circumstances, students may get additional time to provide English language results.



Here are some of the common questions asked by international students:

I am thinking of applying for a student visa to Australia. Can I apply?

At present, Australia is not allowing any overseas students to enter into Australia because of the Covid 19 situation. Students are not required to apply for student visa to be able to study online in Australia. They can enrol in a course and study online being in their home country. If you wish to attend classes physically, you might have to wait until the travel restrictions are lifted. Australian Government will recommence student visa grants so that student visa holders are ready to travel when borders re-open.


I am a student, I travelled overseas and now I am unable to travel back to Australia. What are my options?

Unfortunately, Students stranded overseas are not allowed to travel to Australia at the moment. They can attend online classes in their home country. Most of the Australian institutions/universities have made arrangements for online studies.

The Government has made arrangements on 20 July 2020 for free VAC for international students who are required to lodge further student visa application if they are unable to complete their study within their original visa validity due to Covid 19.


Will online study affect my eligibility for 485 Graduate Visa?

An announcement has been made by the Australian Government on 20 July 2020 that current student visa holders studying online outside Australia due to Covid 19 will be able to count that study towards their Australian study requirements for post-study work visa.

In case they are unable to return to Australia by the time they are eligible for 485 visa, they may be able to apply for 485 visa from outside Australia.

This facility has been provided to the students so that they don’t miss out on their eligibility for post-study work stream visa due to pandemic.

Additional time may be provided to the applicants for submitting English Language results if Covid 19 has disrupted access to this service.


How do I check my student visa expiry date?

Students can check their visa expiry dates and their visa conditions using VEVO on the website of Department of Home Affairs.

The expiry date should also be listed on your visa grant.


I am stranded overseas and my student visa is expiring soon, can I extend my visa?

No, student visas cannot be extended. Once the travel restrictions are lifted, you may consider applying for another student visa if your current visa has expired.


What is a Graduate Visa (subclass 485)? Am I eligible?

Subclass 485 visa is one of the highly sought-after visas by the overseas students in Australia. It is a temporary visa specifically designed for overseas students who after finishing their studies, want to live and work in Australia temporarily.

It is for students who have recently graduated from one of the Australian institutions/universities. It can be granted for a period of 18 months to up to 5 years depending upon situation of the applicant and country of passport of the applicant.

There are two streams – Graduate Work stream and Post-Study work stream.

  1. ‘Graduate work stream’ is for students who have completed a diploma or a trade qualification.
  2. ‘Post-study work stream’ is for students who have completed a Bachelor degree or a Master degree or a Doctoral degree.

One of the main eligibility criteria for 485 visa is that a student has to be physically present in Australia for at least 16 calendar months.

Students who are overseas and studying online were concerned that they might not be able to fulfil this particular criterion and may not be eligible for 485 visa one they finish their studies. The Australian Government has announced some recent changes that brought relief to students stranded overseas and undertaking their studies online.


Do you need help?

Our team of experienced Immigration Lawyers and Migration Agents look forward to assisting you with your Australian visa or appeal.

Based in Adelaide South Australia, we provide Australian Immigration advice to people and businesses from all over the world.

If you require further information regarding your Australia visa options you can contact us through:

(08) 8351 9956 or +61 8 8351 9956 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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