Covid-19 brought a halt to all the immigration activities in Australia. It also affected the student visa holders and temporary graduate visa holders. Now, with things coming back to normal, the Australian immigration authorities have brought some changes in for temporary graduate and student visa holders. Let us see what they are.
1. Relaxation of working hours for the students
If you have a student visa (subclass 500), there is a piece of good news for you:
● You can work up to 40 hours per fortnight during the semester
● During your semester breaks, you can work for unlimited hours
● If any of your family members are studying for a master's or doctoral degree, they can work for unrestricted hours once you (the primary applicant) start your course
● If you are studying for a postgraduate research degree or doctorate, you can work for unlimited hours
Earlier students had a restriction of 40 working hours during the course of study. This visa relaxation will be reviewed soon once the problem of workforce shortage in Australia gets taken care of. Also, students who want to work more need to ensure that they meet satisfactory course progression.
2. Visa extension for temporary graduate subclass 485 visa
If you were eligible for a replacement Temporary Graduate visa as Covid-19 affected your time in Australia due to international travel restrictions, you can get your temporary graduate visa extended to 30 September 2022.
Your visa will be automatically extended by the Australian immigration authorities. There is no extra fee involved in this process
If you were outside Australia and your Temporary Graduate visa expired and you could not travel to Australia because of the travel restrictions, you can apply for a replacement Temporary Graduate visa.
Australian immigration has introduced a replacement Temporary Graduate visa stream to ensure that candidates do not get affected due to covid-19.
There is a cost associated with a Temporary Graduate replacement visa. If you are the main applicant, you have to pay AUD 1680. The additional fee needs to be paid for all family members added to the application.
3. Get a refund on your visa application
The deadline for availing of this facility is over. It was valid up to March 2022. However, this is a big change for student visas in Australia. Students who were fully vaccinated and wanted to travel to Australia before 19 March 2022 were eligible for a complete refund on their application fee. This was done for two reasons:
● To bring students to Australia before their classes started
● To fill the shortage of workers in Australia
If you have travelled back to Australia between 19 January 2022 and 19 March 2022 and you have still not applied for a refund of your application fees, worry not, as you still have time until 31 December 2022 to apply for a refund.
To apply for the refund, you have to fill out a form provided by the Department of Home Affairs. This form requires your basic details like your name, date of birth, passport, visa application reference number and bank account to ensure that the refund goes to the right person.
This facility is also available for working holiday maker visa holders. The application fee for a working holidaymaker visa is around AUD 495 and the application fee for student visa subclass 500 is AUD630.
All these changes by the Australian immigration department are praiseworthy and benefit the applicants and the country as well. You must keep checking the Australia Home Affairs website for more updates on visas and visa conditions.