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Despite COVID-19 restrictions, how this student is coming to study ‘on-campus’ in Australia

Source: Syed Muhammad Qasim

International students who aspire to study in Australia wait for international borders to open for temporary visa holders. Many are being given the option to pursue their courses ‘online’ by universities, but some are finding other ways to enter Australia.

Syed Muhammad Qasim is coming to study in Australia in July later this year to pursue a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Melbourne.

He tells SBS Urdu that COVID-19 restrictions will have no effect on him as he prepares to study on-campus down under.

How? Technically he is coming on a PR visa which allows him to enter and stay in the country.


  • International students currently cannot enter Australia due to border closures
  • Only Australian citizens and PR holders are allowed to enter the country
  • Few states have or are in the process of allowing a certain number of students to enter such as South Australia and NT


Syed Muhammad Qasim
Syed Muhammad Qasim

“When a student is planning for his future courses and degrees, there are two options," Qasim says.

"Either you go abroad right after school such as to a university in Australia or study locally in one's country first, gain some experience in that field and then study abroad. I chose the second option.

“A PR visa also provides me with the option to stay and continue my life in Australia.

But Qasim applied for PR two years ago, before there were any signs of the pandemic.

"It was just perfect planning,” he says.

From the start of July 2020 until the end of January 2021, only 140,000 visas were granted to international students, a number which was over 400,000 in 2018-19, according to Department of Home Affairs data.


As a permanent resident, Qasim was able to acquire a CSP (Commonwealth Supported Place) as a domestic student which has helped reduce fees considerably compared to an international student.

“It is quite expensive to study in Australia and I could not simply rely on my parents to pay for me. So, I did my Bachelors and gained experience in the relevant field. Also, I have done some saving during this time that will cushion my living cost in Australia.

“For an international student, the degree in total might cost around $75,000 while for me it is coming around $25,000; it is a perfect plan.”

Melbourne based migration consultant Mubashir Nizami says that unfortunately many people who are coming to Australia for studies or long-term stay do not research the possible solutions.

“There are people who come to Australia for studies but don’t realise that they could have applied for a PR visa based on the industry experience and education they already had.

“If you have enough points, passed the required English test, and your occupation is in the skill list, then why spend time and money on studies and later take the step [of applying for PR] which you could have opted for earlier?"

For more stories, please visit the SBS Urdu website: 

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this story is general in nature and not to be taken as advice. For any specific information, please consult with a migrant agent or consultancy.





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