The Morrison Government is making a number of changes to student visa arrangements to ensure Australia remains a priority destination for international students as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
International students are extremely important to Australia and our economy, contributing $40 billion annually and supporting 250,000 jobs. Many also go on to become great Australian citizens.
While the closure of our international borders has been critical to our 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.
👉Current 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.
Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge said the changes provide assurance to international students already in Australia and those who haven’t been able to travel due to COVID-19 border closures.
“These measures back the international education sector – our fourth largest export sector – and will assist its recovery,” Mr Tudge said.
“In making these changes, we have been guided by the principles that the health of Australians is key, but that international students should not be further disadvantaged by COVID-19.
“We are a welcoming nation with a world-class education system and some of the lowest rates of COVID-19 in the world. Students want to study here and we want to welcome them back in a safe and measured way when it is safe to do so.
“Doing so will not only support the education sector, it will also have flow-on effects for many local communities and businesses, including accommodation services, tourism, hospitality and retail.”
Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the changes would give international students confidence in their visa arrangements so they can make plans to study in Australia when it is safe to do so.
“Our remarkable efforts in controlling the spread of the virus mean we can begin to welcome back international students in a COVID safe way once state borders re-open and face-to-face learning resumes,” Mr Tehan said.
“As well as supporting jobs, international education builds our connection to the rest of the world and supports a number of critical industries like health, aged and disability care.”
The Government has previously relaxed work restrictions for international students working in the health, aged and disability care sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also been flexible in cases where the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented international students meeting their visa conditions, such as not being able attend classes in person.
International students make immense cultural and social contributions to Canada, and generate more than $21 billion in economic activity. Since the onset of the pandemic, the Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, has made a number of temporary policy changes to support and reassure international students and learning institutions.
This process is available to students starting a program in the fall semester who submit a study permit application before September 15, 2020. This measure will reassure students that they can enrol and begin their studies this fall online, even when they are not able to submit all required documentation due to pandemic-related closures.
A fast-track health and care visa has been unveiled as part of the UK’s plans for a points-based immigration system when freedom of movement with the EU ends in January.
The health and care visa will be open to workers who have a confirmed job offer in one of a series of “skilled” roles within the NHS or care sector – or for NHS service providers, such as doctors, nurses, radiographers, social workers and paramedics.
UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a six-month cut in VAT from 20% to 5% for the hospitality and tourism sectors. He also announced new job retention bonus for employers who bring back furloughed staff.
And also Temporary cut to VAT on food,accommodation and attractions from 20% to 5% is announced.
Speaking to the media afterwards the chancellor said, the government had been right to act “in the way we have during this crisis”.
The chancellor confirmed the furlough scheme will end in October
A new Jobs Retention Bonus will be introduced for businesses to retain staff. They’ll be paid £1,000 for every furloughed employee they keep on up to January 2021
A £2bn “kickstart” scheme to help create job placements for 16-24 year olds for six months
VAT will be cut from 20% to 5% from 13 July to 12 January 2021 for some areas
Travellers arriving in the UK from dozens of countries no longer have to self-isolate for two weeks from Friday.
The rules are being relaxed for arrivals from more than 60 countries and British overseas territories. However, Scotland still requires people travelling from Spain to quarantine – unlike England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Foreign Office’s advice against taking a cruise holiday remains in place.
From Friday morning, people arriving in the UK from France, Italy, Belgium, Germany and dozens of other countries will no longer have to spend 14 days in quarantine.
The European Union announced Tuesday that it will reopen its borders to travellers from 14 countries, but most Americans have been refused entry for at least another two weeks due to soaring coronavirus infections in the US.
Travellers from other big countries like Russia, Brazil and India will also miss out.
Non-EU citizens who are already living in Europe are not included in the ban.
The EU list does not apply to travel to Britain, which left the EU in January. Britain now requires all incoming travellers – bar a few exceptions like truck drivers – to go into a self-imposed 14-day quarantine, although the measure is under review and is likely to ease in the coming weeks