Covid-19 has had an impact on all industries in Australia including education. Universities and international students in particular have been impacted by Covid-19 travel restrictions. Most international students did not return to Australia after Lunar New Year celebrations in their home countries resulting in a financial hit to the higher education sector.
Foreign students are a key source of income for universities with the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimating international students contributed approximately $15.9 billion dollars in tuition fees in 2018/19.
Scott Morrison has announced that international students may be able to return to Australia from July, provided state borders are opened for domestic travel by that time.
Under the government’s ‘pilot plan’, a limited number of international students will be allowed to enter Australia to study at particular institutions on pre-approved plans. This is a cautious approach which will only happen with appropriate quarantine entry arrangements and biosecurity measures.
Of course, anyone wanting to come to Australia from overseas to study requires a student visa.
What Student Visas Are Available?
There are two student visas available, the subclass 500 student visa and the subclass 485 graduate student visa.
Subclass 500 Student Visa
The subclass 500 student visa is a temporary visa available to students over the age of six years. It is valid for up to five years to students who will be participating in an eligible course of study in Australia. The length of stay is determined by the type and length of the course undertaken.
Holders of a subclass 500 student visa must hold Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) or fall into an exemption category and prove they have a welfare arrangement in place if they are under 18 years of age.
Subclass 485 Graduate Visa
The subclass 485 graduate visa is a temporary visa available to international students who have recently graduated with skills and qualifications that are relevant to specific occupations needed in Australia.
Holders of this visa are able to live, study and work in Australia after finishing their studies for up to 18 months. Applicants of this visa must be under 50 years of age and responsible for finding their own employment.
As with all visas, detailed eligibility criteria such as character and health requirements and study-specific requirements apply.
The financial ramifications of a halt on international students being unable to return to Australia for study is widespread. Not only have the universities taken a financial hit but also other industries such as hospitality and property that often benefit from the influx of international students. Hopefully, allowing international students to return to Australia will help the higher education sector financially and soften the blow to the Australian economy.
If you would like to learn more about student visas or any other aspects of migration, contact the team at Visa Solutions on 1800 828 008 or visit visasolutions.com.au