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AUSTRALIA IMMIGRATION UPDATES
1st Apr 2021
Important update those you have, or wish to apply for, a Student Visa:
Support for International Students and graduates - The Government has announced a range of visa measures to support students. The measures will be temporary and will continue for as long as necessary -
International students are extremely important to Australia and its economy, contributing $40 billion annually and supporting 250,000 jobs. Many also go on to become great Australian citizens.
While the closure of its international borders has been critical to its success in slowing the spread of the coronavirus, and Australia has been a leader in this regard, it has presented challenges to the education sector and students, both here and offshore.
These five visa changes will ensure international students are not worse off due to the coronavirus pandemic and that Australia remains competitive with other countries.
The changes include:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Student visa fee -
The Australian Govt. will waive the visa application fee to allow the students to lodge a further student visa application to complete their study. This will be available to students who held a student visa on or after 1 February 2020 and who couldn’t complete their course within their original visa validity due to the impacts of COVID-19. This includes students who:
- deferred their study as they were unable to enter Australia due to travel restrictions
- were forced to reduce to a part-time study load
- were unable to complete their work-based training or placements.
This measure is not intended for students who are applying for a new student visa due to ordinary reasons (including if those have failed a course or a unit of study, deferred for personal reasons or voluntarily reduced their study load.)
To have their application for a fee waiver considered, they must apply for a Student visa and attach a completed Form 1545 COVID-19 Impacted Student (PDF - 228 KB) from their education provider with a valid Student visa application.
They must apply for their Student visa online.
They can be in or outside Australia when they apply.
If applying for a fee waiver in Australia, a Bridging visa will not be issued automatically as the fee exemption must be checked first.
This waiver only applies to the visa application fee.
Refunds will not be available for students who have already applied for a Student visa. Only new applications will be eligible to have the application fee waived.
30th Mar 2021
Australia to reopen its international borders for temporary visa holders
Recently newly appointed Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has said in an interview that the Australian Government is ready to open its international borders. He said, ‘’… the government is rolling out our vaccination program and preparing for the opening of our international borders, so we can have those important visits from tourists that spend so much money in our country – but also the international student sector, one of our largest export sectors, they value-add so inherently to the Australian economy – we want to get them back.”
Australia which had imposed border restrictions ever since the Coronavirus pandemic outbreak is now ready to welcome temporary migrants such as international students and visitors according to Immigration Minister Alex Hawke.
This announcement comes in the wake of the latest data from the Department of Home Affairs which revealed that the offshore international student visa applications have gone down registering a decline by 65% in the second half of 2020 as compared to 2019.
According to the minister, migration will play a key role in the economic recovery of Australia from the pandemic. He said, “I’m convinced that the migration program will be a huge part of how we recover from COVID and whether we will be as successful as we can be on that journey.”
Australia is looking at its migration program crucial in the country’s economic recovery post the pandemic. The Australian government is likely to make some changes to its existing immigration rules enforced during in the wake of this pandemic.
18th Mar 2021
South Australia has changed the occupation list
The SA Govt has silently added these occupations back on the 190 & 491 list after facing the criticism from the Migration Professionals and Students who have studied in South Australia:
- Management Accountant
- Taxation Accountant
- Café & Restaurant Manager
Tasmania & Northern Territory have also managed their occupation lists for the 491 visa.
The New South Wales’ 491 visa program has options for those who are outside regional NSW but applications are still closed for offshore applicants. Other than offshore applicants, certain stream under NSW’s 491 Visa nomination program are unavailable for some Regional Development Australia.
8th Mar 2021
Australia Travel Declaration
Before you travel to Australia, you should complete the Australia Travel Declaration at least 72 hours before your departure for Australia.
The Australia Travel Declaration collects your contact details in Australia, flight details, quarantine requirements and your health status.
This information helps the Australian Government determine your quarantine arrangements (if required) and also allows the relevant health departments to contact you if someone you travelled with tests positive for COVID-19.
The Australia Travel Declaration is for these travellers entering Australia:
- Australian citizens and permanent residents
- people who are automatically exempt from the travel restrictions
- people who have been granted an individual exemption to the current travel restrictions.
Travellers who do not need to complete the Australia Travel Declaration include:
- flight crew
- Australian accredited foreign diplomats
- people travelling on military flights
Before you commence the declaration, you will need to have this information ready:
- passport details
- trip information
- destination details
- contact details
You will need to create an account, which will allow you to manage your current and future declarations in one place. However, you cannot update your Australia Travel Declaration answers once it has been submitted.
Each declaration is for single-use and only valid for one flight or journey for the traveller named on the declaration.
Each adult should complete their own declaration. However, parents should complete a declaration for any child under 15 years of age.
If you are transiting through Australia, you need to complete the Australia Travel Declaration.
You do not have to pay for an Australia Travel Declaration — it is free.
Once you’ve completed the Australia Travel Declaration, you will receive an email with details you can show (either electronically or printed) before you board your flight and on arrival in Australia.
If you do not complete the declaration you may not be able to board your flight, or you may experience delays when you arrive in Australia.
Travel exemptionsTravelling from New Zealand to Australia
If you are arriving in Australia by air, and you have been in New Zealand for 14 days or more before you travel, you do not need to apply for an exemption to Australia’s travel restrictions. You are automatically exempt.
You will need to apply for a travel exemption before you travel to Australia if:
- you have been in New Zealand for less than 14 days before your planned departure (including travellers who are transiting New Zealand), or
- you intend to travel to Australia by sea.
If you have already submitted a travel exemption request
We will continue to process travel exemption requests from passengers travelling from New Zealand.Travelling from Australia to New Zealand
If you are an Australian citizen or a permanent resident you cannot leave Australia due to COVID-19 restrictions unless you have an exemption. You will be subject to New Zealand entry requirements.
Temporary visa holders do not need an exemption to depart Australia.