Likely Changes to Temporary Graduate Visa for International Students Studying Online

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many international students are forced to remain overseas and study online. While there were plans put in place by universities and state governments to bring international students back to Australia, the spike in COVID-19 cases in Victoria has jeopardised the plans. This has caused Australia’s higher education to lose its competitiveness with its rivals such as Britain and Canada.

Hence, the Morrison government is expected to introduce new changes to the Temporary Graduate visa Subclass 485. Under the recent proposal being considered by the Morrison government, international students may be granted work rights after graduating despite studying online in their home countries.

Currently, one of the SC 485 eligibility criteria is that the international student must meet the Australian Study Requirement:

  • your course was a CRICOS-registered course
  • you successfully completed all course requirements
  • your study was in English
  • you completed your course as a result of at least two academic years (92 weeks) study
  • you were physically in Australia for at least 16 calendar months to complete the study
  • you held an Australian study visa that allowed you to study

& who have recently graduated with skills and qualifications that are relevant to specific occupations in Australia needs. It lets you live, study and work in Australia temporarily.

Under the new proposal, international students who remained overseas but enrolled at an Australia university may be eligible for a SC 485 visa.

This news is welcome by many. Thousands of international students who are affected by COVID-19 will benefit from this change. Universities are also delighted as universities estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic would cause around $16 billion drop in revenue over the next three years if international students cannot return or come to Australia to study.

This change to the SC 485 is expected be announced by the government in the coming weeks.

The government is also considering reducing or removing visa renewal fees for international students whose visas are expiring but cannot return home due to COVID-19.

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