After two years of isolation as a result of the COVID-19 situation, international students who are ready to return to their universities to finish their studies will be relieved to learn that Australia is offering incentives to returning international students. Australia has promised visa discounts for overseas students arriving in the country during the next eight weeks, as well as lifting restrictions on how long student visa holders can work. The government expects that the visa changes will encourage fully vaccinated overseas students to return to Australia “as quickly and smoothly as possible,” while also addressing current workforce shortages.
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Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the measures, saying that the $630 rebates will be available to students for the next eight weeks, beginning January 19. He affirmed that student visa holders will now be temporarily allowed to work more than 20 hours in all areas of the economy. “We are encouraging roughly 150,000 students who have visas to return to Australia for the start of their university or college year as a thank you for returning and continuing to select Australia,” he said. “However, we also want them to come here and be able to help fill some of these key workforce gaps, particularly those working and being trained in health care, elderly care, and similar fields.” That will be extremely beneficial. That’ll be the case for the next eight weeks.”
The modifications to the student rebate visa, together with comparable reforms for backpackers, are projected to cost $55 million, according to Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. “To give you some facts,” he continued, “there are currently 150,000 students offshore, as both the prime minister and I have stated.” “At this time, there are 324,000 students onshore.” Onshore, there are 18,500 working holidaymakers and 23,500 offshore. That is, in my opinion, a positive initiative. “By opening it up, you’re opening it up to a far larger group of people.”
The adjustments also apply to new visa applications, which will be “processed quickly” so that students can visit Australia within the refund period, according to the government. These reforms will stimulate new interest in Australia and new visa applications, as well as provide an incentive for existing overseas visa holders to travel sooner.
Increased Work Hours
Working limits for students, which are generally set at 40 hours per fortnight, were temporarily lifted, which was “cautiously” welcomed. “While it’s excellent that international students can now work in all sectors of the economy,” Williams explained, “ITECA members’ first focus is to guarantee that their students can complete the course progress requirements linked with their student visa.”
The shift in work hours will be reviewed in April 2022, according to the government. There are no limits on the number of working hours for international students.
Quarantine Rules Relaxed
In other news, Queensland has announced that fully vaccinated international newcomers will be able to enter the state without being quarantined starting at 1 a.m. on January 22, as the state works toward a 90% vaccination target. Prior to greater vaccination rates among Queenslanders, tourism minister Stirling Hinchliffe described its quarantine facility at Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport as a strategic asset.
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With over 56,000 international students returning to the country, the government has arranged goodies and welcome gifts at the airport to greet the students. Follow Leverage Edu and join up for our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest study abroad news!