The Australian Government has announced to make some changes in Student Visa applications. As we know, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected international travel activities badly. International students had to return to their hometown due to Covid-19. Many of them couldn’t even complete their studies within the stay period of visa 500.
Therefore, Australia is offering fee waivers and refunds to Student Visa holders. It provides incentives to international students to return to Australia as soon as possible. The Australian Government is taking this step so that international students can assist in addressing Australia’s workforce shortage.
Changes in Student Visa – Fee Wavier
Covid-19 has adversely affected the processing time of Australian visas. If you’ve applied for a visa in Australia, the Department of Home Affairs may take longer to process it. Though, you might not have to wait for so long if you submit your application correctly.
Make sure you meet the Student Visa requirements to get your visa quickly. The Department of Home Affairs will waive your visa application fee so you can apply for a new Student Visa.
You’ll get the fee waiver if:
- You’ve held a Student Visa 500 on or after February 1, 2020.
- You were unable to complete your course within your original visa validity due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Have deferred your study as you were unable to enter Australia due to Covid-19 travel restrictions
- You had to reduce your part-time study load
- You couldn’t complete your work-based training or placements.
In this measure, 500 visa applicants who apply for a new student visa based on ordinary reasons will not be considered. Such as, if you’ve failed a course or deferred your course study due to personal reasons.
Attach a Form 1545 Covid-19
In order to be considered for a fee waiver, you must apply for a new 500 visa. You must attach a completed Form 1545 COVID-19 Impacted Student (228KB PDF) from your education provider. Your education provider must be satisfied that you had a visa 500 on or after February 1, 2020.
A Bridging visa will not be automatically issued if you apply for a fee waiver in Australia. As the fee exemption has to be verified first. The fee waiver is only applicable to the Visa Application Charge (VAC). VAC may be refundable for international students who’re outside Australia and arrive between 19 January 2022 and 19 March 2022.
Extra Time for English Tests, Biometrics and Health
The Department of Home Affairs will provide you extra time to provide your English language test. You’ll get flexible timeframes if you couldn’t take the test due to Covid-19. Extra time will also be given for biometrics and health checks where COVID-19 affected access to services.
Flexible Arrangements for Start Dates due to Covid-19
There’s a possibility that some students may not be able to begin their course of study due to Covid-19 restrictions in Australia. Be sure your education provider is aware that you’re not able to start your course.
There’re a few options to ensure that you’re not in violation of your visa conditions. You can ask your education provider what options are available in your case. If you hold a Student visa 500, contact your education provider if you’re unable to travel due to COVID-19 restrictions. Just be sure that you’re enrolled in the course of study that’s approved at all times.
You may have your visa canceled by the Department of Home Affairs if you:
- Fail to begin your studies on time
- Do not have a current or active Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)
Conditions after Changes in Student Visa 500
Home Affairs is taking a flexible approach where Student Visa conditions couldn’t be met due to Covid-19.
Your student visa conditions will not be violated if:
- You’ve an approved course deferral
- You’re studying online
The Australian Government is removing the work hour limit for Student Visa holders across all sectors of the economy. This step has been taken to address the labor shortage in Australia. However, this is a temporary measure for current and new student visa holders.
Temporary measures for Student Visa holders to bring them back as soon as possible and address labor shortages in Australia.
If you’re an international Student Visa holder who wants to start a job before your course commencement, then this temporary measure is for you. Though, if you want to know the application process for visa 500, you can book a consultation with us right now.
Get a VAC Refund on Student Visa Application
Covid-19 is causing workforce shortages in Australia. Therefore, under the recent changes in Student Visa, the Australian Government is providing incentives for student visa holders to return as soon as possible.
The deadline to apply for a refund is 31 December 2022.
Your VAC is refundable if you’re a Student visa holder outside of Australia and arrives between 19 January and 19 March 2022. You can apply for a refund up until 31 December 2022.
Financial Help for International Students
The following financial aid may be available if you’re studying and working in Australia.
- If you need to self-isolate and provide care to someone with Covid-19 (Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment)
- If you’re badly affected by a state public health order and in lockdown for more than 7 days (Covid-19 Disaster Payment)
Changes in Student Visa 500 – Final Words!
The Australian Government is offering incentives and refunds on VAC to international Student Visa holders. It has made some changes in Student Visa so that international students could return as soon as possible.
Covid-19 has caused labor shortages in Australia. So, Australia is providing financial help, waivers and refunds for student visa holders. If you need more information regarding the recent changes in Student Visa 500, you can book a consultation with us anytime.
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I’m Nasir Nawaz. I’m a registered migration consultant in Australia. I am based in Sydney. I’ve studied Master of Laws at the University of New South Wales. I’m providing immigration services for several years.
Consult with me for legal advice on Australian visas to permanently live, study, and work in Australia.