Benefit to Economy
There is no doubt that Australia’s intake of international students has been a significant benefit to the Australian economy for many years.
The revenue generated from overseas student fees had continued to grow substantially with no sign of slowing down. The Australian Bureau of Statistics published data for the 2017-18 period which revealed that international education was valued at $32.3 billion, this is an increase from the 2016-17 period wherein it was valued at $28.1 billion.
Australia cannot afford to lose the many benefits which come from welcoming international students onto our shores, so how has the Government dealt with the impact of COVID-19 in respect of international students?
The impact of COVID-19 has been felt globally with many countries restricting travel and closing their borders to ensure the safety of residents and citizens. Australia’s response to the global pandemic has been thorough with decisions made to restrict interstate travel, close the international border, and enforce social distancing guidelines. This has resulted in Australia’s international student intake reducing by more than 30%.
As Australia’s economy continues to suffer from business closures and many working from home, the acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services, and Multicultural Affairs, Alan Tudge released a statement on 20 July 2020 addressing the importance of international students to the Australian economy.
Mr Tudge explained that international students contribute at least $40 billion annually to the Australian economy as well as support over 250,000 jobs. Simply put, Australia cannot afford to lose their intake of international students.
Proposed Changes for Students
Mr. Tudge has acknowledged that the international border closure has resulted in challenges for the education sector both onshore and offshore and has proposed five new visa changes to ensure international students can fast track applications and plan their travel to Australia immediately once the international border reopens.
The changes seek to do the following:
1. First, the Government aims to recommence the granting of student visa applications to ensure students will hold valid visas to travel to Australia once the international border reopens.
2. Second, international students will be able to lodge another student visa application with no expense if they are unable to complete their study within the term of their student visa.
3. Third, student visa holders who are studying online and offshore due to the pandemic can claim this study toward the Australia Study Requirement in order to obtain a Subclass 485 Visa.
4. Fourth, offshore graduates who held a student visa will be eligible to apply for a Subclass 485 Visa offshore.
5. Fifth, extensions will be provided for English test results which are delayed due to the impact of the pandemic.
The changes clearly aim to entice international students to Australia, support international students in and outside of Australia, and maintain the pathway to potential residency available to international students in Australia.
If you are an international student wanting to know more about the five new visa changes and how they will impact your pathway to Australia please contact us on 07 3009 8412 or [email protected].