Australia remains a high quality and welcoming destination for international students. The Government has announced a range of visa measures to support students. Some of these measures need legislation to be changed and you should check back regularly for more information.
The measures will be temporary and will continue for as long as necessary. See Minister’s media release.
Student visa fee
We will waive the visa application fee to allow you to lodge a further student visa application to complete your 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 and/or placements.
This measure is not intended for students who are applying for a new student visa due to ordinary reasons (including if you have failed a course or a unit of study, deferred for personal reasons or voluntarily reduced your study load.)
To be eligible to have your application for a fee waiver considered, you must apply for a Student visa and attach a completed Form 1545 COVID-19 Impacted Student (PDF – 228 KB) from your education provider with a valid Student visa application.
You must apply for this visa online. You can be in or outside Australia when you apply.
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.
Form 1545 COVID-19
Education providers need to be satisfied that a student meets the above criteria.
Questions 6 and 7 on the form only need to be completed for students who have deferred their study.
Students can also provide further evidence of their COVID-19 related impacts together with the completed form.
Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) visa eligibility
We have changed the requirements for a Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa for those who have been impacted by COVID-19:
- online study undertaken outside Australia as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions will count towards the Australian Study Requirement for existing and new student visa holders
This change is available now.
- graduates affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions will be able to apply for and be granted a Temporary Graduate visa outside Australia (where they have met all the requirements).
This change is not available yet. You should check back for more information.
Offshore student visa grants
While we have continued to process applications, we have recommenced granting visas for students who lodged a student visa application outside Australia where all the requirements are met.
While travel restrictions remain in place, you cannot travel to Australia.
Flexible timeframes for additional information – English tests, biometrics and health
We are allowing additional time for you to provide English language test results if you were unable to take a test because of COVID-19. Additional time will also be provided for biometrics collection and health checks where COVID-19 disrupted access to services.
Where you have made an appointment for one or more of these services, which is more than 28 days into the future, you may attach your booking confirmation in ImmiAccount.
Current Student visa conditions
We’re taking a flexible approach where COVID‑19 restrictions have prevented student visa conditions being met. You will not be in breach of your student visa conditions if you:
- have an approved course deferral
- are studying online.
You are also temporarily allowed to work more than 40 hours per fortnight if you are:
- employed in the health sector, enrolled in a health related course (such as nursing or medicine) and are directed by a health official to assist in the effort against COVID‑19
- employed in aged care by an Approved Provider or Commonwealth-funded aged care service provider before 8 September 2020
- employed by a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme provider before 23 April 2020.
Notifying the Department
You don’t need to notify the Department if you return home, or if your study situation changes.
Your visa remains valid until you lodge another visa application, or your visa expires. The status of your visa will not change if you return home or defer your studies.
Education providers can issue a new Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) and enrol students to study online. If you hold a valid student visa, your education provider will provide the Department with your new CoE. You do not need to notify the Department.
If you have an open student visa application, you can attach your new CoE to your application through ImmiAccount.
Students experiencing financial difficulties
Student visa holders are encouraged to stay in touch with their education providers about the range of support available to them.
Many universities and education providers are offering support to students including deferring fees, deferring studies or payments, food and accommodation support as well as mental health and other medical support.
For more information, see Study Australia’s website www.studyinaustralia.gov.au/.
Return of international students to Australia
Arrangements for the return of international students to Australia will be implemented once it is safe to do so, and in a way which protects the Australian community.
Information for international students is available across a range of Government agencies, including:
- the Australian Government COVID-19 website with the latest news, updates and advice.
- the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website and email for international students email@example.com
- the Department of Health website with details on Overseas Student Health Cover
- the International Student Ombudsman website for COVID-19 related complaints
information on support services available for international students on Study Australia’s website.