Student and Graduate Visa Changes

Rumours that International Students will be able to return to Australia this month have flown around internet sites and chat rooms, lifting the hopes of many temporary visa holders that they will be able to travel to Australia in the very near future.

However, it should be noted that the actual announcement relates to a pilot program between the Australian Government and two universities in the ACT – the University of Canberra and Australian National University – which would allow around 350 select international students to return to Australia in Semester Two.

The universities intend to identify students near the end of their degrees or with research projects underway, offering them the opportunity to join a charter flight which will carry them to Canberra for mandatory quarantine before recommencing studies. Details of the international ‘hub’ for students to join the flight have not yet been released.

Students will be expected to pay their flight costs, however, the universities will cover most other expenses involved with transfers and quarantine in Australia.

In line with government requirements, Students would be tested for COVID-19 at both the beginning and end of their quarantine period.

While this is a very exciting step forward under the current COVID-19 restrictions, the arrival of students into Canberra is not an indicator of Australia’s borders being reopened for all international students, or for other visa holders.

If the program is successful, the Australian Government may consider other similar programs across the country. At this stage, South Australia has announced it is also looking at ways to bring international students back to its State.

Unfortunately, there is no news at yet of expanding entry to temporary Work visa holders, including 485, 457, and 482 visa holders. Watch this space.

There are a number of exemption options available for people who have a real need to travel to Australia during the border closure, though there must be a strong reason for travelling now, along with supporting documentation.

If you have been affected by the border closure, and would like help with applying for an exemption, please do not hesitate to contact Europe Axis for assistance.

Please note that the above changes require new legislation to be released by the Department of Immigration. Details on eligibility criteria and requirements have not yet been released.

There are many International Students and recent Graduates who have been affected by COVID-19 restrictions, so the announcement from the Australian Government is very welcome.

Updates will be released on the Acacia Immigration website as they become available.