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Immigration Lawyers Melbourne

International students and COVID-19 Concessions

international students covid 19 concessions australia student visa

June 2021

The Australian Government has announced a number of concessions for international students who have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nil application charge

International students who held a Student (subclass 500) visa on or after 1 February 2020 will be able to lodge a further application for a Student (subclass 500) visa with the Department of Home Affairs (“the Department”) free of charge if they were unable to complete their studies within their original visa validity period due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is anticipated that this concession will apply to students who (amongst others):

  • deferred their studies as they were unable to enter Australia because of travel restrictions;
  • were forced to reduce to a part-time study load; and/or
  • were unable to complete their work-based training or placements which they were otherwise required to undertake as part of their formal course of studies.

Additional time to provide certain information and/or documentation

The Department has stated that it will provide Student (subclass 500) visa applicants with additional time to provide English language results, biometrics collection and health examinations in circumstances where COVID-19 has disrupted access to these services.

Relaxed approach to Student (subclass 500) visa conditions

The Department has stated that it considers a Student (Subclass 500) visa holder not to be in breach of their visa conditions in circumstances where that person has an approved course deferral or is studying online.

Further, the Department has announced that Student (subclass 500) visa holders may temporarily work more than 40 hours per fortnight if they are employed:

  • in the health sector, enrolled in a health-related course, and are directed by a health official to assist with the COVID‑19 pandemic; 
  • in aged care by an Approved Provider or Commonwealth-funded aged care service provider before 8 September 2020;
  • by a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme provider before 23 April 2020;
  • in the agriculture sector;
  • in the tourism sector; or
  • in the hospitality sector. 

Despite the above temporary changes, Student (subclass 500) visa holders who work more than 40 hours per fortnight in the above stated sectors, must nonetheless:

  • maintain their course enrolment;
  • ensure satisfactory course attendance; and
  • ensure satisfactory course progress.

Concessions regarding the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa

Student (subclass 500) visa holders studying outside Australia on an online basis due to travel restrictions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to use their study to count towards the ‘Australian study requirement’ for the purposes of a Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa.

Moreover, graduates who previously held a Student (subclass 500) visa will be eligible to apply for a Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) visa from outside Australia in circumstances where they are unable to return to Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For clarity, in these circumstances, graduates must still satisfy all other regulatory criteria for the grant of a Temporary Graduate (subclass 482) visa.

If you are an international student who has any queries regarding how the above mentioned concessions may be relevant to your individual circumstances, please feel free to contact us on +61 03 9329 8744 or for assistance.

To speak with an experienced, specialist immigration lawyer regarding your Australian visa application or options, please contact us on +61 3 9329 8744 or by email at

Phone Erskine Rodan & Associates
+61 3 9329 8744
Fax Erskine Rodan & Associates
+61 3 9328 4191
Email Erskine Rodan & Associates
Erskine Rodan & Associates
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