COVID-19: Australia PSW for current students studying online

COVID-19: Australia PSW for current students studying online

Australia has today confirmed that current international students forced into online learning due to the Coronavirus pandemic will be eligible for the PSW post study work visa.

In a statement today announcing temporary visa concession measures, the government of Australia has confirmed that 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.

In addition to the above, the government has also confirmed that graduates who held a student visa will be eligible to apply for a post-study work visa from outside Australia if they are unable to return due to COVID-19.

Alan Tudge, Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, said:

“These measures back the international education sector – our fourth largest export sector – and will assist its recovery.

“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.”

Dan Tehan, Australia’s Minister for Education, 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.

“[Australia’s] 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.

“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.”

Universities Australia welcomes PSW confirmation for online students

Universities Australia issued a statement welcoming today’s announcement of changes to visa arrangements for existing international students, and suggested the measures be extended to include new international students starting their courses in 2020-21.

Catriona Jackson, Chief Executive of Universities Australia, said:
“It’s important that changes to visa processes ensure students get a fair go and are not disadvantaged by the impact of COVID-19.

“While we welcome the sensible changes to visa arrangements for those currently enrolled, we need to understand what the changes mean for prospective students.

“We believe that new, as well as current, students should be included in the amended arrangements for post study work rights. 

“It is not clear that this is the case, and we continue to seek confirmation of this important point. Many new students will be adversely affected by COVID-19, and they should be treated the same as continuing students.”

Australia to restart student visa processing worldwide

The government of Australia also confirmed that it will restart student visa processing in all locations outside Australia.

In practice, this would mean that, when travel restrictions end and the borders re-open, international students will already have visas ready to travel Australia.

This would also be ‘free of charge’ for those trying to extend their stay to complete their studies.

The statement noted that 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.

Pic: Keith Zhu

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