Since January 2022, the Australian Government has implemented many initiatives to support people holding a temporary visa, including Student Visa, Graduate Visa or Working Holiday Visa… These initiatives include a refund of the Student Visa Fee, the temporary removal of working hour limits for international students (Subclass 500), an extension of the duration of the Graduate Visa (Subclass 485), and the creation of a new Working Holiday Visa program.
To help you better understand if you could benefit from one of these initiatives, Studybird explains to you in this article some of the initiatives with their pros and limitations.
Student Visa Application Fee Refund
Great news for any student arrived in Australia between January 19, 2022 and March 19, 2022! If you currently hold a Student Visa (Subclass 500) and arrived between these dates, you will be eligible for a refund of the student visa fee (AUD 630) from the Australian Government. For this, you will just need to create an account on this portal and complete an online request form. Be careful though, you have until December 31, 2022 to submit your request, subject to eligibility.
Temporary removal of limits on student working hours
Another good news for international students as the Australian Government has eased working hours restrictions. This means that there are currently no restrictions on the number of hours students can work while studying in Australia (previously limited to 40 hours fortnightly). We advise you to consult this site regularly or simply follow us on our social networks in order to know the latest updates from the Government!
Extension of the duration of the Graduate Visa (Subclass 485)
From February 18, 2022, anyone holding a Graduate visa (Subclass 485), who was outside Australia between February 1, 2020 and December 14, 2021 will have their visa extended until September 30, 2022. This extension allows eligible persons to enter or remain in Australia, live and work, until they can apply for and obtain a replacement visa. Applications for a replacement visa (COVID-19 Temporary Graduate 485 replacement stream visa) will be open from July 1, 2022 and will be the same duration as the original visa. Contact us to find out more!
Working Holiday Visa Program nil VAC
The Australian Government offers the opportunity to eligible people who stayed in Australia during the COVID-19 crisis to apply for a new Working Holiday Visa. You will find all the eligibility criteria on this page.
This new program has many advantages:
- It does not count towards the Working Holiday Visa limit, which means that if you already have had 3 Working Holiday Visas, you could still apply for this one if you meet all the eligibility criteria
- Great opportunity if you want to extend your stay temporarily without resuming studies afterwards
- It allows you to benefit from the conditions of the WHV, i.e. low visa cost and flexible working rights
- It allows people to apply for a “substantive visa”, which is a valid visa, including people on a Bridging visa of a COVID visa. Once the WHV is granted, you will have the possibility to apply for another visa (for a Student Visa for example).
Contact us if you want to know the consequences and limits of a Bridging Visa.
However, there are a few things to remember before making the decision to apply for this Visa. For example, if your course is ending soon, you will have to determine if this WHV is useful for your future project. Does this allow you to gain work experience and start the immigration procedures, for example? If you wish to resume studies afterwards, you will have to explain in your Genuine Temporary Letter intended to the Immigration, why you have chosen to put your project on hold and meet the criteria of “Genuine Temporary Entrant”. If your course is not finished but you are facing some financial difficulties, you could still apply for this visa.
However, bear in mind that it will be difficult to fulfil the criterion of “Genuine Temporary Entrant” if you wish to reapply for a Student Visa afterwards because you will have to justify why you decided to stop your course before the end in order to obtain another visa, before resuming your course.
Finally, the total time spent in Australia and the number of visas obtained should not be overlooked. A “Genuine Temporary Entrant” means that a person applying for a Student Visa has a real desire to study but also plans to stay in Australia temporarily. It will therefore be difficult to prove if this person has spent more than half of the last 10 years in Australia and multiplied the requests for temporary visas.