Australia has finally re-opened its borders, welcoming back all international students for the first time since early 2020. So what’s new after a 2-year hiatus?
Updates for international students
Whilst the student visa Subclass 500 legislations have not changed much, the Australian government has acknowledged international students’ struggles during the pandemic:
- They have previously announced a refund scheme for certain student visa holders
- Additional flexible arrangements such as unlimited work rights. This arrangement is set to be reviewed by the government in April 2022.
- For students finishing their studies, new arrangements and concessions have been introduced to both streams of the graduate visa.
Extending student visa in Australia
First of all, whilst we don’t want to split hairs here, it is technically not correct to call it ‘student visa extension in Australia’, because you are not getting more time on your current student visa.
Instead, you are submitting a new visa application. This means that you will need to provide supporting evidence all over again, even if they were included in your previous student visa application.
There could be several reasons for you to extend student visa in Australia:
- COVID-19: This is quite common for courses with a practical component, e.g. nursing, trade courses, community/social/disability support etc.
- You may need more time
- You have enrolled in further studies
Tips from experts
At VEVS Global, we have been assisting student visa applicants for more than a decade. Our experience tells us that, regardless of reason, extension of student visa in Australia can be both straightforward and confusing at the same time for the student. However, you will be fine if you remember these important tips:
- Check regularly
Your current student visa is granted with an expiry date. You can find this date in your student visa approval, which should be a pdf file attached to an email named IMMI Grant Notification. If for some reason you cannot find this file any more, you can always VEVO yourself.
Once you are clear on your visa expiry date, you can compare it with the estimated completion date of your course, i.e. how many semesters/terms you have left based on the number of units/subjects yet to be completed. Again, if you are not sure, speak to a student advisor from your education provider. Ideally, you want to check this once a semester.
- Prepare early and be organized
A visa expiry date means a lot more if you are in Australia. Without another visa, this date is the last day you are a lawful resident. If you need to stay beyond this date, a valid application for a new visa (e.g student visa subclass 500) must be submitted prior to this date. This will give you a bridging visa for you to remain in Australia lawfully until a decision is made on the new application.
Lodging a visa application takes time. The application form is online but not necessarily short. It can also take time for you to organize the documents required:
- For instance,If your passport happens to be expiring, you need to figure out whether it’s possible for you to get a new passport before your expiry date. Online visa application form does not allow for expired passports.
- A new Confirmation of Enrolment (COE). It can take them a few days to organize this document, and sometimes weeks if it’s during a busy period.
- Your COE contains an end date for your course. This date will also be used to determine the end date of your new OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover), which can also take time.
- Genuine temporary entrant (GTE) statement: Perhaps the most challenging part of extending student visa in Australia, a GTE statement gives you the opportunity to explain why you are a genuine student temporarily visiting Australia, and back it up with evidence when applicable. This is also the reason for a majority of student visa application refusals.
- Don’t be shy
You may need an extension of student visa in Australia because you failed a subject or two, or because you have no idea how a visa application works.
But this is ok. Studying overseas IS hard – you are in a new country, most likely speaking and studying high-level knowledge in a non-native language. It’s ok to struggle a bit even without the pandemic, let alone the very challenging 24 months that we just had.
If you are confused or struggling, always ask for help as soon as practically possible. This can be your friends or family in Australia, your education provider, or your migration agent. If you don’t ask, no one would know and you may miss some very important deadlines.
When your student visa extends, there are also several financial implications:
- Extend student visa Australia fee from Department of Home Affairs. In addition to the base application charge, there can also be a subsequent temporary application charge depending on your visa history.
- Tuition fees
- Living costs for yourself and all family members included in your visa application
Why should you engage a migration agent
Yes, student visa Subclass 500 applications can be quite easy and it is possible to DIY. However, our experience tells us that it is always more expensive to fix a mistake, if it can be fixed at all.
At VEVS Global, our visa and admissions teams work seamlessly together to assist student visa applicants. Most of the team members have been international students in Australia before, so they are well equipped with not only professional knowledge, but also personal experiences, to make this whole process as easy as possible for you:
- We will review your current circumstances and plan the most effective application timeline.
- We will provide you with a highly personalized document checklist and easy-to-follow yet detailed instructions.
- At no extra cost, we will assist you in obtaining OSHC and Australian federal police checks if required.
- If required, our admissions team can assist you in following up with documents required from them.
- Our industry-leading migration agent and visa experts will review your previous application documents, as well as your current circumstances to provide suggestions and comprehensive guidance on your GTE statement.
- Our visa team will compile and submit the application on your behalf, and will closely monitor post-lodgement activities such as information requests and visa decisions from the case officer.
- Our friendly staff will also touch base with you after your visa application is approved to make sure everything’s on track, and offer complimentary consultation for your graduate visa application, should you wish to proceed with it after completing your studies.
So contact VEVS Global now and experience the best service for your student visa application!