The annual contribution of International students is roughly estimated around AUD $40 Billion annually which also supports 250,000 jobs. However, as a result of border closure due to Coronavirus crisis, it is estimated that 22% of university students still remain outside Australia.
The Australian government made an announcement to resume granting international student visa and allow current students to count online study while overseas. This announcement was made to boost the number of international students once borders reopens and ensure that Australia remains a priority study abroad destination as it emerges from Coronavirus crisis.
New Amendments for the Continuing students
The announcement from acting immigration minister, Alan Tudge, comes as part of five measures aimed at keeping international students in Australia amid concerns that some students won’t return to Australia once the pandemic subsides.Some of the key highlights of the changes include:
- Current student visa holders studying online outside Australia due to Covid-19 will be able to use that study to count towards the Australian study requirement for a post-study work visa.
- The government will recommence granting student visas in all locations lodged outside Australia. This means when borders re-open, students will already have visas and be able to make arrangements to travel.
- International students will be able to lodge a further student visa application free of charge, if they are unable to complete their studies within their original visa validity due to Covid-19.
- Graduates who held a student visa will be eligible to apply for a post-study work visa outside Australia if they are unable to return due to Covid-19.
- Additional time will be given for applicants to provide English language results where Covid-19 has disrupted access to these services.
“These measures back the international education sector – our fourth largest export sector – and will assist its recovery. They will not only support the education sector, it will also have flow-on effects for many local communities and businesses, including accommodation services, tourism, hospitality and retail.” acting immigration minister Alan Tudge said.
Can Australia still remain an attractive destination for International Students?
Given the circumstances, these moves were fairly welcomed by universities and Educational Councils. But there are still issues that need to be addressed. While it’s great to see the changes for existing international students in providing certainty for their future plans in Australia, we need to understand what the changes mean for prospective students. We hope that new, as well as current students should be included in the amended arrangements for post-study work rights. It is still not clear that this is the case, and we continue to seek confirmation of this point. At this point many new students are going to be adversely affected by the Covid-19, and they should be treated the same as continuing students.
Australian universities estimate a drop of $16 billion in revenue due to Covid-19 related travel restrictions and further more Australia could see a sharp decline in International students arriving from China.
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