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COVID-19 and Overseas students in Australia

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the Australian government has implemented a total travel ban for all temporary residents traveling from overseas, including student visa holders.

As of 20 March 2020, only Australian citizens, permanent residents, and immediate family members can travel to Australia. There are some exemptions, but they don’t extend to student visa holders.

For student visa applicants/holders currently located outside of Australia:

If you currently hold a student visa and are located overseas, please don’t intend to board a flight and come to Australia, as your student visa will be canceled under the current strict travel ban. Under such circumstances, please contact your education provider in Australia and request your studies are deferred. You can resume your studies once the travel ban is lifted.

If you can’t complete your scheduled studies on time and require additional time to complete it, you will need to require a new COE from your education provider and apply for a new student visa enabling you to complete your studies.

Please note, a student visa cannot be extended; however, a new visa needs to be submitted prior to the expiry date.

If you have lodged your student visa application, you will just need to wait for the Department of Home Affairs to make a decision on your visa and travel to Australia once the travel ban is lifted. If you don’t hold a student visa and have not applied for your student visa yet, but received a Confirmation of Enrolment from an education provider in Australia, you can still proceed in submitting your visa application; although please expect processing time to be delayed more than usual.

For student visa holders/applicants in Australia:

Under Australian migration law, it is not possible to extend a student visa.

You need to apply for a new visa if:

You should apply for a new Student visa six weeks before your existing Student visa expires. There is no need to provide evidence of the impacts of COVID-19 with your Student visa application.

If your study in Australia is ending, you can apply for a Visitor visa (subclass 600). You need to do this before your student visa expires.

The Department of Home Affairs does not regulate the mode of study requirements for international students. National regulators will be flexible in order to support students to study online either in Australia or offshore. Again, please contact your education provider and follow the instructions.

Please see the National Code requirements for affected tertiary students to undertake online study for the exceptions as a result of the travel restrictions.

Working whilst on a student visa in times of Coronavirus

Course is ‘out of session’

You can work unlimited hours if your course is considered ‘out of session’. Courses are considered ‘out of session’ during scheduled course breaks or if a student has finished their course as scheduled.

Studying a master by research or a doctorate course

If you have commenced studying a master by research or a doctorate course, you may work unlimited hours.

Studying online

You cannot work more than 40 hours per fortnight when your course of study is ‘in session’, regardless of whether you are attending classes physically or online. A course is considered ‘in session’ for the duration of the advertised semesters (including periods when exams are being held) even if the student is studying online.

Approved deferral of your course

You can work over 40 hours per fortnight if your course has been deferred.

Exemptions for some international students

There are special arrangements for international students who are in Australia with flexible working hours if they are:

It is not clear yet whether international students have access to any financial support from the Australian government.

Notifying the Department

You do not need to notify the Department if you return home, or your study situation changes.

Your visa remains valid until you lodge another visa application, or your visa expires.  The status of your visa will remain unchanged if you return home or defer your studies.

Published Fri 27 March 2020. Tags: ,

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