Possible Changes to (Subclass 485) Temporary Graduate Visa for international students affected by the global pandemic

Australian universities have claimed that they will lose up to $16 billion by 2023 due to the impact of COVID-19. The universities have now warned for many months that the pandemic would have a significant impact on their research and teaching funding by limiting their outreach to international students.

In spite of the financial crisis that the Australian universities suffer, it was nevertheless a compelling decision that the National Cabinet postponed the proposal of return of international students from overseas in July. The decision followed the recent second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria and the imposition of tough restrictions on international flights into Sydney.

As the global pandemic continues, there are therefore many international students who are forced to remain overseas and study online, leaving many of them wondering if they would still be eligible for a Subclass 485 Temporary Graduate Visa at the end of their studies if they are to continue studying online in this manner.

Currently, international students must satisfy the ‘Australian Study Requirement’ under Regulation 1.15F in order to be granted a Subclass 485 Temporary Graduate Visa in Australia. One of the key criteria of this regulation is to study physically in Australia on a valid student visa.

In recent news, the Australian Government has informed us that it has plans to impose new changes in the coming weeks in order to allow international students to still be entitled to Subclass 485 Temporary Graduate Visas, despite not studying physically in Australia during the global pandemic. The effort of this decision by the Australian Government would help Australian universities to remain in competition with other global leading institutions. The change is therefore welcome by a diverse  range of stakeholders as it will benefit thousands of international students now studying their courses online from overseas, and it will no doubt help to rebuild the Australian economy by guaranteeing that funding can be channelled into Australian universities.

Written by Jay Son
Lawyer / Migration Agent (MARN – 1912572)

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