New visa support for international students and graduates

The Australian Government is offering a range of new visa support initiatives to international students and graduates, including an international student visa fee refund and temporary removal of limits on working hours for student visa holders (subclass 500), as well as replacement Temporary Graduate visas and extended graduate ‘stay and work’ periods (subclass 485).

New visa support for international students and graduates

The Australian Government is offering a range of new visa support initiatives to international students and graduates, including an international student visa fee refund and Covid-19 visa fee waiver, as well as replacement Temporary Graduate visas and extended ‘stay and work’ periods.

Student visa application fee refund

Any international student visa holders (including dependents) who arrived in Australia between 19 January 2022 and 19 March 2022 will be refunded their visa application fee (around AU$630). The refund applies to current visa holders and new students who have arrived in Australia within those dates. To request a refund, students will need to create an account on the Home Affairs Visa Refund Portal and complete an online claim form. Eligible visa holders will be able to make a claim any time up to 31 December 2022. 

Covid-19 visa application fee waiver

Students already in Australia, who held a student visa on or after 1 February 2020 and could not complete their course within the original visa time period because of the impacts of COVID-19, may be eligible to have their student visa application fee (VAC) waived when applying for a new student visa.

Extra time allowed for English tests, biometrics and health

Students will have extra time to provide English language test results if they are unable to take a test because of COVID-19 disruptions. Extra time will also be given for biometrics collection and health checks where COVID-19 has disrupted access to services. Students should respond to requests for information via their ImmiAccount if they need additional time.

Temporary removal of limits on student working hours

A temporary relaxation of work restrictions for international student visa holders means there is no current restriction on the number of hours that students can work while studying in Australia. These changes will be reviewed in April 2022. The temporary removal of restrictions on working hours does not change the requirement that students must still meet satisfactory course enrolment, attendance and progress requirements, and balance their work and study commitments. The Study Australia Employability Hub includes a wide range of student and graduate employment information. International students remain protected by Australia's workplace laws and can report any concerns to the Fair Work Ombudsman. Find out more at our Know your rights page.

Visa extensions for eligible Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders

From 18 February 2022, graduates who held a valid Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485), were outside of Australia at any time between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021 and lost time in Australia as a result of COVID-19 international travel restrictions, will have their visa extended to 30 September 2022. This extension is to allow eligible graduates to enter or remain in Australia, to live and work, until they can apply for, and be granted, a replacement Temporary Graduate visa. Eligible visa holders will be notified directly by the Department of Home Affairs.

Replacement Temporary Graduate visas

Current and former Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders who lost time in Australia due to COVID-19 international travel restrictions will be able to apply for a replacement Temporary Graduate visa. Applications for the replacement Temporary Graduate visa will be open from 1 July 2022 and will provide the same length of stay as the original Temporary Graduate visa.

Extended ‘stay and work’ periods for Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders

The length of stay for Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) holders has been extended from two (2) to three (3) years for Masters by Coursework graduates, matching the existing provisions for Masters by Research graduates. Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector graduates will also receive a two (2) year Temporary Graduate visa.

For more information, see the full range of Latest travel and visa advice at the Study Australia website or visit the Department of Home Affairs.

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