Visa Crunch

Australia Considers Making Study Visas More Flexible To Encourage Students

International students who are waiting for border updates on their return to Australia can breathe a sigh of relief. Plans to make it easier for students to return to their home provinces and territories are coming together. Here are some developments on overseas students’ return to Australia from the Australian border.

Breakdown update from the Australian border:

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

Next year, international students will be permitted to return to Australian Capital Territory (ACT) universities. The ACT government announced that at the start of the 2022 academic year, international tertiary education students who are properly vaccinated with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) recognized Covid-19 vaccine would be welcomed back.

“Students will need to follow all Australian government vaccination and testing requirements for international arrivals. The quarantine will not be required in the ACT for fully vaccinated students,” it said. “The ACT government will continue to work with the universities and CIT as they prepare for the return of international students.”

New South Wales

By the end of the year, the first phase of the New South Wales pilot plan will see 250 overseas students arriving on chartered flights that will be paid for by the students. Australian Catholic University, Macquarie University, The University of Newcastle, The University of Sydney, UNSW, UTS, University of Wollongong, and Western Sydney University are among the education partners engaging in the pilot plan.


According to 7NEWS, Australian Education Minister Alan Tudge has written to the Victorian Government, urging them to endorse a plan to welcome 240 fully vaccinated international students every two weeks beginning in December.

South Australia

According to 7NEWS, South Australia will apparently begin to welcome 320 international students each month, however, no date was given. There are currently no arrangements in place for international students to return to Queensland or Western Australia, according to the report. Separately, anyone searching for information on when international students can return in bigger groups to Australia will have to wait. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stated that it will only be open to Australian citizens and residents, as well as their close families.

“That is what will happen from November 1 in New South Wales, and indeed all around the country for Australians departing. To return to Australia, obviously, they’d have to do that through Sydney or under the capped arrangements in other states and territories,” he said previously.

During the coronavirus outbreak, international student numbers plummeted, with student visa applications dropping 36% to around 2,62,000 in the year leading up to June 2021. When Covid-19 hit, the federal government’s decision to advise temporary visa holders to return home “hurt the country’s reputation among international students, many of whom were unable to return to their home country,” according to a survey of 3400 students.

The International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) has forwarded a policy statement to the federal government proposing that any international student who completes an additional professional year in areas where there is a skills shortage should be given double the migration points toward permanent residency.

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