The Australian government is set to relax its post-study work visa rules for international students impacted by the fallout of COVID-19, a move most welcomed by the higher education sector.
The sector has, for several months, been attempting to bring in these adjustments and other changes to help weather what is forecast to be a $16bn downturn over the next three years.
At present, only overseas students who finish their studies within Australia are eligible for visas which allow them to stay within the country and work for two years after their graduation. Now, the government is set to announce that those international students stranded overseas as a result of the pandemic will still be granted work rights.
These changes could allow Australian universities to compete more with those in the UK and Canada who are both set to welcome large numbers of international students in the next few months.
In June, the UK announced international students will remain eligible for post-study work rights if they begin or continue their studies online in the 2020/21 academic year. Canada also detailed its work visa flexibility for those students studying from a distance.
One other measure being considered would be to remove or reduce the visa renewal fee for students who have had to extend their stay in Australia due to being unable to return home amid tight travel restrictions.
Meanwhile, previous plans to bring in thousands of international students have been postponed due to the latest outbreak of coronavirus in Victoria.
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International students who wish to commence study in the USA on F-1 and M-1 visas this fall will be denied entry into the country if teaching is online.