Australia’s international borders reopened to international students last December after nearly two years of being closed to the world. More recently, the country opened up to the rest of the world on Feb. 21, 2022, paving the way for the return of families, tourists and business travellers.
In conjunction with the reopening of Australia’s international border, international travellers at the airport were greeted with adorable koala plushies and iconic treats including Tim Tams chocolate cookies and vegemite.
Even Federal Tourism Minister Dan Tehan was on the ground to greet the first arrivals on a Qantas flight from Los Angeles, US.
Australia’s international borders: Goodies for students
In a bid to woo international students back to the country’s shores, Australia has announced a variety of incentives and perks for students to enjoy once they touchdown. Over the past few months, Australia’s international border has given these incentives in hopes to bring back the international students they have sorely missed these past two years and the sweetened deal has proven beneficial.
ICEF Monitor reported that over 56,000 international students have returned to Australia as of Jan. 30, 2022, and another 50,000 more have their student visa applications filed.
Post-study work visa extension
On Nov.25, 2021, the Australian government announced changes to the Australian post-study work visa rights to give international students some flexibility upon their return.
We are announcing new targeted measures to help the international student market recover rapidly when the borders on December 1 : visa flexibility, fee relief, and innovation grants. @AlexHawkeMP Details here https://t.co/CmsSL3vLWz
— Alan Tudge (@AlanTudgeMP) November 24, 2021
Thanks to the changes made to the visa, international students can now remain in Australia longer to live, study or work after completing their studies.
A joint statement by Education Minister Alan Tudge and Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said changes to the new visa setting will extend efforts to protect the work visa rights of international students and extend the temporary graduate visa from two to three years for master’s by coursework graduates.
Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector graduates will also receive a two-year Temporary Graduate visa.
Work hours extensions
On Jan. 14, 2022, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison temporarily removed the 40-hour-a-fortnight limit for student visa holders, allowing them to work for an unrestricted amount of time while studying.
Morrison also announced that from Jan. 19, 2022, international students who arrive in Australia will have their visas rebated at a cost of 630 Australian dollars per student. The refund is offered until March 19, 2022; students will be able to apply for the rebate through the Department of Home Affairs. The rebate is meant to coincide with the aforementioned work hours extension.
The Australia visa application rebate is part of an initiative to encourage students to return for the start of the university year as a “thank you for choosing Australia.”
“But we also want them to come here and to be filling some of these critical workforce shortages, particularly those who are working and being trained in health care, aged care, those types of sectors, that will be incredibly helpful,” Morrison was quoted saying.