The Australian Government has announced a rebate initiative for international students and backpackers arriving in Australia from 19 January 2022.
The decision is designed to incentivise international students and backpackers to return to Australia and fill labour gaps caused by the spread of COVID-19. It comes swiftly after the government also announced that it would temporarily lift restrictions on working hours for international students.
Here’s what we know so far about the rebate scheme.
Who is eligible for the rebate? How long is the rebate available?
Both international students and those on working holiday visas are eligible for this rebate.
Speaking at a press conference, Prime Minister Scott Morrison explained that the application fee, which is AU$630 for international student visa applications, will be waived for the next eight weeks. The application fee for working holiday visas, which sits at AU$495, will also be covered for the next 12 weeks.
The prime minister explained that these measures will also apply to those who have already applied for their student visas and working holiday visas but have yet to arrive in Australia. An estimated 150,000 foreign students and 23,500 backpackers fall into this category.
According to the Department of Home Affairs website, students will be able to apply for a refund up until 31 December 2022. Details of how to apply for a refund will be available shortly – keep an eye on the Department of Home Affairs website for this information when it becomes available.
Australia’s message to international students
In his remarks, the prime minister’s message to foreign students and backpackers was concise and clear: “Come on down.”
“We want you to come to Australia and enjoy a holiday here … move all the way around the country,” he said. “At the same time, join our workforce and help us in our agricultural sector, in our hospitality sector, and so many of the other parts of the economy that rely on that labour.”
For more information on the rebate scheme, keep your eyes peeled to the Department of Home Affairs website.
You can also find tips on how to write a great student visa application here.