The Australian Government has been making several changes to visa requirements in recent weeks. One of the most notable is that applicants will be given additional time to hand over their English language results and complete biometric and health checks, allowing future students who’ve been impacted by COVID-19 the chance to finish their visa applications.
In addition to these measures, Immigration Minister Alan Tudge has announced that current international students who will be unable to complete the requirements of their student visa due to COVID-19 will be able to lodge another student visa application free of charge. This will certainly be warmly welcomed by the thousands of international students who’ve been worrying about what the future will hold for their education in Australia.
What is the fee waiver?
The fee waiver means that any international student who is unable to complete the requirements of their student visa due to the pandemic, will be able to reapply without paying the usual application fees. This fee waiver came into effect at midnight on Wednesday 5 August 2020.
A spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs has confirmed that the waiver will only be available to students who had a valid visa from 1 February 2020:
“A visa application fee waiver will be available to students who held a student visa on or after 1 February 2020 and who were unable to complete their course within their original visa validity due to the impacts of COVID-19.”
This fee waiver will only apply to new applications and no refunds will be offered to those who applied before midnight 5 August 2020.
How to apply
Even if you are eligible to receive the fee waiver, there are some extra steps that must be taken in order to receive the free application. You’ll need to submit COVID-19 Impacted Students form from your education provider, in addition to your visa application. This form will have to be signed by your education provider, showing how the pandemic has affected your visa requirements.
As well as fee waivers, the Australian Government has announced that the eligibility requirements for a post-study work visa have been relaxed. If you’ve been impacted by COVID-19 and are enrolled with an Australian education provider, you may be eligible for the following:
- New or current student visa holders who have been forced to undertake online study outside Australia due to the pandemic will be able to count this toward the Australian Study Requirement.
- Graduates who have been affected by the travel restrictions put in place to control the spread of COVID-19 will be able to receive a temporary graduate visa outside of Australia.
It’s clear from these announcements that the Australian Government wants to make sure that international students will be safe in the knowledge that they will be able to continue their education in Australia.