Sanjoli Banerjee shares how she decided to study in Australia and what it has to offer to students who are willing to move abroad for higher studies.
Hailing from Karnal, Haryana, I moved to Australia in 2017 for my undergraduate studies. I studied International Security at Australian National University (ANU). My graduation was completed in 2020 and due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I returned to India that year. I again went to Australia in 2022 to pursue a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Wollongong.
Since my childhood, I was tracking the life story of many of my favourite leaders and I noticed all of them have studied abroad and then came back to India and made a change — be it Swami Vivekanand, Mahatma Gandhi or Sarojini Naidu. Once I complete my studies I too, want to do something for society. I believe my services and potential are needed in India where we have a long way to go.
Why I chose Australia
In 2016, I was pursuing BA (Hons) in Political Science at Miranda House, Delhi University. However, I had this desire of studying abroad so I decided will give it a shot. After a lot of deliberation and research, I zeroed down on ANU. Just to be completely sure, my father and I went to Australia to attend the open day of ANU. I felt that the quality of education is better there. So, I withdrew my admission from DU and enrolled at ANU in 2017. At that time, ANU was ranked number 1 in Australia and was ranked sixth globally.
I studied International Security because I wanted to understand why there are conflicts in the world and how we can work towards a more secure world free from terror of any kind. My parents exposed me to activism at the age of 5, and with this course, I studied the concept of human security and it connected with my activism in India. We work on all kinds of issues — from female foeticide to saving the environment. We also cover issues regarding mental health and menstrual hygiene. My sister and I run an NGO called, Sarthi.
After studying security studies, I realised it was more about policymaking. I prefer the grassroot approach of working to sitting in an office and that is why I chose to do a Master’s in Social Work. The concept of human security which I studied during my bachelor’s is much related to social work so all of it ties up together.
But, all of it did not happen as smoothly as one would expect. I came back from Australia in 2020 after the pandemic struck and the world came to a standstill. At that time, I got an opportunity to study Public Policy at the United Nations University in the Netherlands but I had to let it go because of the pandemic. Then in 2021, I joined Christ University and by that time I had decided that I want to pursue social work for my post graduation, so I did not apply to the UN university again.
But after joining the university, I felt it would be better to study abroad as in India, social work is not a full-fledged profession, it is still emerging. And, the opportunities that I got in Australia like meeting people from different countries, and different cultures were not available in India.
Australian education system is more upgraded
In Australia, there is a lot of emphasis on self-study, reading a lot of articles and expanding our knowledge about the given subject. We write research essays, make presentations and critical reflection reports. The general assessments are a helpful way of assessing your progress. There are a plethora of opportunities — be it leadership or volunteering. I have volunteered for many causes in Australia as well. Students are always encouraged to learn new languages, go for exchange programmes, engage with politics and so much more.
In 2019 when I was at ANU, I even got an opportunity to be a Member of the Australian Parliament for a day. I took over the office of Senator Larissa Waters and also met then-Prime Minister Scott Morrison. In India, you wouldn’t get such an opportunity.
In India, there are opportunities but mainly for students who study in premium institutions whereas in Australia these opportunities are for everyone. There is a lot of work-integrated learning, so I am not just studying social work in my class, I am also working at the grassroots level. This method helps students gain industry experience and is a pathway to employment and understanding the industry they are a part of.
Documents required for admission
The Australian semester starts in February and ends in June and the second semester begins in July and ends in November. In Australia, it is peak summer time in December and January. For my bachelor’s at ANU, I submitted these documents — ,arksheets from Class 9 to 12; a statement of purpose explaining why I wanted to pursue the course, why have I chosen Australia, my future goals and more; letters of recommendation and a few essays to apply for the scholarship and interview. During my graduation, I applied for a scholarship. It was the only scholarship I was eligible for, it was for AUD 5000.
For my master’s I need these documents — my bachelor’s degree, letter of recommendation, statement of purpose and financial documents stating my parents’ source of income, property papers, tax returns (to ensure that the student will be able to sustain themselves in Australia). At the University of Wollongong, they don’t have a scholarship for master’s of social work. My parents took a bank loan to fund my education.
I stay in a student accommodation provided by the university, it’s called ‘International House’. I have room for myself and we share a kitchen, dining room and washrooms. I consider myself lucky that I got student accommodation as there are limited spots and it is quite expensive. But, we get breakfast and dinner from the accommodation and we only have to cook our lunch.
Multiculturalism in Australia
Australia is very multicultural as it has people from all over the world. Since there are people from all over, they bring their food and culture from their home countries to Australia.
Although Australia is a great place to live it does have some issues of its own. As children leave their homes quite early in life, say at the age of 18 to lead their independent lives, they are more susceptible to developing mental health issues. In India, society is more collective and children have a safety net with strong familial connections.
In my social work course, we have also learned that Australia deals with racism, towards its own Aboriginal population as well as migrants and refugees. However, the situation is changing. The country is very serious about building an equitable society with respect to human rights and social justice. This makes Australian cities some of the most liveable in the world.
You are your own saviour
My advice to students going abroad is to learn to take care of themselves. I have learnt a lot about the world since I started living on my own. I earlier lived in a bubble — safe and secure. I am learning to deal with daily challenges.
Albanese announces education qualification recognition, confirms Deakin’s India entry. Deakin University is the first overseas university approved to establish its branch campus in India ever.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Wednesday announced an ‘Australia-India education qualification recognition mechanism’ while making it official that Deakin University is the ‘first overseas university approved to establish its branch campus in India ever’.
On the first day of his two-day tour of Gujarat, Albanese also announced a new ‘Maitri’ scholarship for Indian students to study in Australia for up to four years.
The visiting PM, accompanied by a delegation, reached Ahmedabad on Wednesday and visited Sabarmati Ashram. He also celebrated Holi at Raj Bhavan with Governor Acharya Devvrat and Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel as part of a cultural event.
“There is another significant development… we have finalised the Australia-India education qualification recognition mechanism. This new mechanism means that if you are an Indian student studying or have studied in Australia, your hard-earned degree will be recognised when you return home,” Albanese said as he addressed the ‘Celebrating India-Australia Education Relationship’ event in Ahmedabad.
“…Or if you are a member of Australia’s very large Indian diaspora of 8,00,000 and growing, you will feel more confident that your Indian qualification will be recognised in Australia. It is the most comprehensive and ambitious arrangement agreed to by India with any country. It paves the way for commercial opportunities for Australian education providers to offer more innovative and accessible education to Indian students and provide a solid basis for education institutions to consider new ways to partner with each other,” he stated, adding “it is a fantastic piece of work that will have really tangible benefits”.
The Deakin University’s proposed campus will offer courses in cyber security and business analytics, he said.
“The University of Wollongong also intends to establish a campus at GIFT City. Of course, we will always welcome students to come and stay in Australia…but not everyone has the means or the ability to pack up their bags and study in another country… now Indian students can obtain Australian education without being in Australia,” he added.
Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel in his address said the Deakin University’s International Branch Campus (IBC) will also contribute towards the fulfilment of one of the goals of GIFT City, providing skilled manpower.
He also assured the Australian delegation of all possible support to any other university desirous of opening a campus in GIFT City.
Ravneet Pawha, Vice President (Global Alliances) and CEO (South Asia) of Deakin University, said, “This is a momentous occasion for both countries, and we are thrilled to have contributed to two ‘firsts’ in the Australia-India education sector story. The branch campus aims to provide a world-class post-graduate education to meet the industry’s skilled workforce demands within the country.”
Source: Indian Express
From 1 July 2023, international higher education graduates with eligible qualifications will be granted an extra two years of post-study work rights. The allowable work hours cap for international students will be increased from 40 hours to 48 hours per fortnight.
Two-year extension of post-study work rights
A two-year extension of post-study work rights is available for international graduates with select degrees that are in areas of verified skill shortage.
This extension will give eligible international higher education graduates an additional two years on their Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485).
The extension is in addition to the existing additional one to two years of work rights for eligible students who study, live and work in regional areas.
View the indicative list of eligible occupations in demand and the related qualifications which are eligible for the extension.
The Hon Jason Clare MP, Minister for Education and the Hon Clare O’Neil MP, Minister for Home Affairs established a Post‑Study Work Rights Working Group to provide advice on the measure. You can read the Working Group Report and the Government response to the report’s recommendations.
Further information can be found in the post-study work rights factsheet.
Increase to allowable work hours cap from 1 July 2023
The Government has also announced an increase to the working hour cap for international students, from 40 to 48 hours per fortnight, when the cap is reinstated on 1 July 2023.
For more information, read the International student working hour cap factsheet.
Source: Australian Government Website
March 10, 2022
Ravneet Pawha, Deputy Vice President (Global) & CEO (South Asia), Deakin University, Australia
Ravneet Pawha is currently the Global Deputy Vice President and CEO (South Asia) – Deakin University Australia. She was awarded the prestigious Business Leader of the Year at the India Australia Business and Community awards 2018. She was also awarded the Exceptional Woman of Excellence in Women Economic Forum 2019. She holds various Vice Chancellor’s Awards of Excellence and outstanding contribution to building economic, social and human capital. She is the president of Australia India Business Council (Victoria).With over 28 years of experience in the international education and training sector, she has been instrumental in establishing global collaborations and strategic partnerships. She set up the Deakin University office in 1994, the first ever international ‘University office’ in India of any foreign education provider. She has developed 20 strong holistic partnerships across Government, academia, industry, and research specifically for Deakin University in India / South Asia and has contributed to the immense success globally. She is an inspirational leader and a passionate entrepreneur.
Do not lose hope!
To meet your career aspirations, refresh your vows engraving the fact that e-learning is the future, and you will certainly rise high if you travel with the time and do your efforts joyfully!
Let’s be grateful to the Almighty that we are alive to see all facets of life. Understandably, all of you carry dreams and they are battling challenges right now, owing to the pandemic. But challenges only help us rise provided we have an eye for observing opportunities that arise simultaneously.
Talking specifically about students aspiring to go to Australia, you should stay hopeful and do your best with the best of options available to you to continue learning. Do not lose on time. The third wave may slow down things and it might take some time to finally board the plane to Australia, or any other country.
We must not forget, what we all went through in India in the second wave, last year (April-May 2021). The idea is not to feel scared, but we must take action wisely. Generally, the sense is that Omicron is not such an intense virus and people are taking about 3-4 days to recover. Yet, we can’t be careless, for even a small illness can lead to dire consequences if not taken care of. So being responsible for oneself and others is important.
What many world-class higher education institutions or we are doing at Deakin University presently, will help both students and parents understand that their future is secured and will have ample opportunities if the former is taking studies seriously.
Sports management, Health Management, Cyber Security, Business Analytics, Psychology, Media Relations, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning are the most popular programmes amongst students, these days. The reason is the way students are discerning the future. Students learning a traditional subject as a major, are integrating it with a futuristic minor. Marketing, for example, now, is coupled with the knowledge of digital marketing too. During the pandemic, the health sector is booming with professionals who have knowledge and skills in health management, health technology solutions, community health, health analytics, etc.
In Australia, if you are studying in any master’s degree for minimum of two years on-campus, you can apply to stay back and work for three years. And in regional Australia, you can work for four years post studies. Students can apply for employment after soon their graduation.
All progressive universities have strong industry-linked platforms. For example, when students enroll at Deakin, they automatically are registered to Deakin Talent. This platform is a completely digitised service for students where we align the profile of students to match their aspirational goals tapping their skills during their course of study. And at end of the course, we link them to the best companies. If a student wants to go back to India, there’s an option to register with Indian companies too.
For any overseas education aspirant, borders are now open, and it is unlikely that even in the current situation, the borders will be shut down. International students are continuously coming to Australia and are being supported strongly by the Government and respective Universities.
As reported by the Australian Financial Review on Thursday, January 13, 2022, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has fuelled labour shortages across several sectors in Australia, prompting the 40-hour-a-fortnight cap lift in sectors affected by the pandemic. The Federal government has agreed to a proposal to increase the 40-hour a fortnight cap for foreign students while they are studying, with it likely to be doubled to 80 hours a fortnight or 40 hours a week, said the report.
On-shore international students are now more likely to be exposed to opportunities for mentoring and securing employment in various sectors.
Please note that online learning will stay forever now. The new normal will very certainly be a hybrid model, in which traditional offline teaching and e-learning coexist. It is difficult to deny that hybrid learning has a bright future. Hybrid learning effectively combines the benefits of personalisation and convenience to provide a learning environment that is best adapted to meet students’ changing demands in today’s world.
The hybrid model has emerged as a fascinating example of the phrase “necessity is the mother of invention.” As the pandemic, ideally, fades, it will mutate further, spawning a slew of clever sub-models under the ‘hybrid’ umbrella.
In total, resistance to change will not help any of us, whether we talk about students, teachers, or institutions worldwide.
Students, you, surely have a bright future. You will be judged on your eagerness and agility to adapt to the trends and ability to sync with the changes.
Keep looking for the opportunities and moving forward to carve out a niche for yourself in the new normal!
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne on Saturday announced ‘Maitri’ Scholars Program under which it will provide over USD 11 million for four years to support Indian students to study in Australia‘s world-leading universities.
During the joint presser, the Australian Foreign Minister also announced a series of new initiatives to boost the education and cultural ties between Australia and India.
“I’m also proud with a number of my Australian ministerial colleagues to announce today a series of new initiatives to boost the education and cultural ties between Australia and India.
The initiatives are appropriately called the ‘Maitri’, meaning friendship initiatives,” she said.Australian Foreign Minister continued saying that under the Maitri Scholars Program, the Australian government will provide over USD 11 million over four years to support Indian students to study at Australia’s world-leading universities.
“The Maitri Fellowships Program will provide USD 3.5 million over four years to build links between future leaders, will support mid-career Australian and Indian professionals to collaborate on strategic research initiatives,” Payne said.
She explained that Australia will also provide over USD 6 million over four years for the Maitri cultural partnerships to support cultural exchanges and boost the role of the creative industries in our two countries.
Speaking at a press conference along with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Payne said the relationship between Australia and India has deep connections in trade and investment as well.
“And as we stand here in Melbourne, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan is returning from India after a round of negotiations for the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).”
On the CECA, Payne said this is an agreement that both sides are confident, will unlock new trade and investment opportunities, particularly as both economies recover from the impact of COVID-19.
Payne said that the Maitri program is a strong positive for the education sector in Australia, recovering from the economic impact of COVID 19.
Australian Foreign Minister highlighted the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between both the countries on Friday in New Delhi.
“(Australian Commerce) Minister Dan Tehan was able to sign a memorandum of understanding on tourism, with his ministerial counterpart yesterday in New Delhi. Under the MOU Australia and India will work together to promote travel between the two markets, and advance cooperation on tourism policy data sharing training and industry engagement,” she said.
Payne also announced the establishment of the Australia-India infrastructure forum which will match Australian finance with the enormous infrastructure opportunities in India. Through this initiative, she said the nation will host workshops and generate analysis to drive results for businesses.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has issued a call for international students and working holiday makers to “come on down” to Australia as the nation grapples with workforce shortages.
International students and working holiday makers who arrive in Australia from today will have their visa application fees rebated to encourage more to enter the country.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the changes on Wednesday to help the nation ease workforce shortages caused by the spread of the Omicron variant.
“What we’ll be doing is we will be rebating the visa application fees from all those who arrive today,” he told reporters in Canberra.
International students will have the fees waived for eight weeks from Wednesday, while the changes will be in place for 12 weeks for working holiday makers.
Mr Morrison called on the visa holders to consider coming to Australia as soon as possible.
“My message to them is come on down,” he said.
“We want you to come to Australia and enjoy a holiday here in Australia – move all the way around the country and, at the same time, join our workforce.”
The Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program allows “young adults to have a 12 month holiday, during which they can undertake short-term work and study”, according to the Home Affairs website.
The current visa application fee charge applied against international students is $630 and against working holiday makers is $495.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he hoped changes to the application fees would make a “big difference” in addressing ongoing workforce shortages.
The rapid rise of COVID-19 infections has resulted in thousands of people being forced off work due to the virus or being required to self-isolate as a close contact.
Mr Frydenberg said the government wanted to lure an estimated 175,000 foreign students and working holiday makers to come to the country and the scheme was expected to cost $55 million.
“We are putting out the welcome mat,” Mr Frydenberg told reporters.
The federal government last week announced a 40-hour per fortnight working cap would be removed for foreign students in sectors affected by workforce shortages.
There are currently around 325,000 foreign students in Australia – with an estimated 150,000 still offshore, and there are an estimated 18,500 onshore working holiday makers onshore and 23,500 offshore.
Mr Morrison said foreign students working and being trained in health and aged care would, in particular, be “incredibly helpful” as the nation continues to grapple with the pandemic.
The Australian Industry Group also recently backed changes allowing international students to work extra hours saying the visa holders would provide much-needed support to sectors such as transport and hospitality.
The National Farmers Federation has also warned about the impact of labour shortages on farms stemming from working holiday makers being unable to enter the country over the past two years.
Australia’s borders only reopened to international students and working holiday makers last December after being shut down in response to the pandemic in March 2020.
Mr Morrison on Wednesday also announced $3 million would go to Tourism Australia to support a marketing program targeting backpackers and students.
The call for visa holders to return comes after Mr Morrison in April 2020 told temporary visa holders to return to their home countries if they could not support themselves during the coronavirus pandemic.
Fully vaccinated eligible visa holders can come to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption from December 1.
The move opens the door for tourists, backpackers, skilled migrants and international students to fly in for summer.
Japanese and Korean citizens who have been double-jabbed can also visit Australia from the same date without needing to quarantine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced today.
Anyone hoping to visit Australia must be fully vaccinated and return a negative PCR test within three days of departing for Australia.
Because of the different rules in each state and territory, only New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory will allow travellers to fly in without quarantining.
Australia’s safe travel bubble with Singapore opened yesterday.
He also claimed Australians could look forward to the Christmas and holiday season in a way that “few around the world can”.
Earlier, speaking on Today, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said reopening borders to 200,000 visa holders would be a real boost to Australia’s economy.
Employers have complained of a shortfall in workers across a variety of sectors after Australia locked out the world for 18 months, when the pandemic began in early 2020.
Yesterday, Australia ticked past the key milestone of 85 per cent double vaccinated for adults aged over 16, triggering the final phase of its reopening strategy.
Short on time? Here are the highlights:
- Most Australian states and territories have now announced student return pilots or broader plans to welcome back international students
- Quarantine and testing requirements vary from state to state, as does the expected timing and pace of student returns
There has been a flurry of announcements from Australian states and territories in recent weeks. New student return pilots have been approved, and we now see a variety of timelines and arrival protocols in place for incoming students in the coming months.
If, like us, you have struggled to keep on top of the latest developments, we hope the following summary will be helpful. This information is current as of our publication date on 17 November and we will update this post with any further significant developments going forward.
Before we begin, a few other important items for context.
First, the Australian academic year – for higher education institutions – is generally structured around two semesters, beginning in February or March (depending on institution) and July and August. The Australian K-12 system follows a schedule of four terms beginning in January, April, July, and October.
Second, the Australian government has expanded its list of approved COVID vaccines in recent months. As of 17 November, the vaccines approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) are:
- Comirnaty (Pfizer)
- Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca)
- Covishield (AstraZeneca)
- Spikevax (Moderna)
- Janssen-Cilag (Johnson & Johnson)
- Coronavac (Sinovac)
- BBIBP-CorV (Sinopharm) (for 18-60 years old)
- Covaxin (Bharat Biotech)
In order to be considered fully vaccinated, incoming travellers must have had two full doses at least 14 days apart (or one dose of the Janssen-Cilag/Johnson & Johnson vaccine), and must have completed their course of vaccination at least seven days before arriving in Australia.
Finally, vaccination rates within Australia, which had been lagging behind earlier this year, are beginning to increase more quickly. As of mid-November 2021, roughly 70% of eligible Australians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
With that foundation in place, here is a summary of the current student return plans for states and territories.
Australian Capital Territory
Capital city: Canberra
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) announced on 22 October that it would welcome back fully vaccinated, international higher education students for the start of the 2022 academic year.
Returning students will need to follow all Australian government vaccination and testing requirements but will not be required to quarantine.
“It is great to have clarity about arrangements in the ACT and to know that as soon as the borders open our students can come straight home to campus,” said Brian Schmidt, vice-chancellor of The Australian National University (ANU). “We will continue to work with the Commonwealth on arrangements to open the borders to students as soon as Australia safely can.”
New South Wales
Capital city: Sydney
The New South Wales (NSW) government announced on 12 November that vaccinated students will be allowed to return to the state without quarantine.
The first chartered plane of returning students under the NSW International Student Arrivals Pilot Plan will touch down in Sydney on Monday, 6 December. That flight will carry about 250 students from over 15 countries, including Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, China, and Canada.
“This is a significant milestone in our roadmap to recovery and I can’t wait to welcome back such an important part of our community,” said Premier Dominic Perrottet. “They don’t just make a significant contribution to our economy, but international students play a role in our culture and contribute to our community and lifestyle.”
Capital city: Brisbane
On 26 October, Queensland’s Minister for Tourism, Innovation and Sport, Stirling Hinchliffe, announced the state will welcome back international students in early 2022. All incoming students will be required to complete a two-week quarantine at a designated facility.
The first phase of the Queensland Student Arrivals Plan will see continuing students from universities in the state return to complete their studies. The plan prioritises those studying medical, medical research, and allied health disciplines. The state anticipates a phased approach with eligibility criteria for education providers and students, and the number of places, expanding at each phase.
“While remote learning has made it possible for students to continue Queensland university studies from their home countries, we recognise it isn’t a sustainable, long-term substitute for to face-to-face tutorials and practical experience. We also know international students make an important contribution to the culture of Queensland cities and our regions.” said Minister Hinchliffe.
Capital city: Adelaide
The South Australian government has announced that the state will welcome fully vaccinated domestic and international arrivals (including international students) with no quarantine period once 90% of South Australians (aged 12+) are fully vaccinated.
It is expected that the 90% target will be reached in late December 2021.
Study Adelaide is providing regular updates and additional background on its website.
Capital city: Hobart
Tasmania has also announced its roadmap to reopen, with all vaccinated international travellers able to enter without quarantining from 15 December. All arriving travellers must provide a negative COVID-19 test.
Capital city: Melbourne
Victoria has also approved a safe student return pilot, for which students will be required to complete a 14-day quarantine. The first charter flights with returning students are expected in December 2021.
Capital city: Perth
The state government has announced that Western Australia (WA) will welcome back fully vaccinated international students in time for the start of the new academic year in February 2022.
The official reopening date will be set once Western Australia achieves an 80% double vaccination rate, which is expected to occur in December 2021.
In the meantime, Education Minister Sue Ellery has confirmed that the government anticipates a reopening date in late January or early February 2022, which would “allow eligible international students to arrive in time for Semester 1 2022 or to commence any required English language tuition or other preparatory courses before Semester 2.”
Capital city: Darwin
International Education Minister Nicole Manison announced this month that the territory is preparing a plan for approval by the national government. If confirmed, the plan will see chartered flights landing returning students in the territory in January 2022.
“International students are a massive contributor to the territory economy, with each student contributing an average of AUS$40,693 each year,” the minister explained to ABC News. “By facilitating a pathway for international students to return to the territory and to Australia, we are helping to diversify the economy, grow our population, and support local jobs.”
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.
Source: Australian Government – Department of Home Affairs
The Federal Government will allow international students back into the country in a “pilot basis” from next month, as Australia’s higher education industry looks to recover from a double hit of travel restrictions and accusations of racism.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the pilot plan after a National Cabinet meeting in Canberra, with international students to be able to enter the country but only on “pre-approved plans” for “particular institutions”.
The particular universities were not specified, however Mr Morrison did single out the ACT in his statement — home of The Australian National University (ANU).
“There’s still a lot of work to do and that needs to get in place,” he said.
“We’ve received some very, I think, well thought-through proposals from states as to how this can be done.
“This is something that I’m sure we would all welcome happening again, but it has to be done with the appropriate quarantine entry arrangements and biosecurity, and all of those matters [are] being addressed.”
The university sector has been lobbying behind the scenes for what’s known as a “secure corridor framework” where students could return in yet-to-be-determined numbers subject to strict health checks and with the cooperation of the aviation industry.
The higher education sector cautiously welcomed Friday’s announcement, which comes after a major lobbying effort from the sector on behalf of international students, which make up as much 30 to 40 per cent of some university’s admissions.
Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson described the pilot plan as a “sensible approach”.
“Universities Australia has been talking to the Federal Government about an overarching framework for a safe return for some time,” she said.
“It is good to see progress today with specific pilot proposals under consideration.”
ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said the university was “looking forward to welcoming our students back to Canberra”.
“We’ve missed them and it’s been tough on them being away from the city and campus.”
The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates Australia’s higher education sector generated a record $15.9 billion in international student tuition fees in 2018-19.
It is estimated that, Australia-wide, revenue for universities will drop by $3 billion this year.
China storm continues
The announcement comes amid a diplomatic storm with China, a country that makes up 27 per cent of all international students into the country.
This week China’s Education Bureau took the rare step of warning Chinese students about studying in Australia because of “racist incidents” during the coronavirus pandemic.
The notice also warned students that coronavirus still presented a risk if they planned to resume their studies overseas.
Responding to the accusations of racism and the ensuing diplomatic storm with China, the Prime Minister said Australia had done “nothing to injure” its relationship.
“What Australia will always do is act in our national interests in accordance with our values,” he said.
“We’ll do so consistently and with consistency, and we will respect that comprehensive strategic partnership.
“And when it comes to our record of multiculturalism, of freedom of religion, of liberty, treating everybody equally — I’m happy to stack Australia’s record up all around the world.”