The Australian government has announced that Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders who have been unable to travel to Australia due to COVID-19 international border restrictions will be able to apply for a replacement visa. The Department of Home Affairs has confirmed that the replacement visas will be charged and applicants will be able to apply from 1 July 2022.
The federal government on Thursday announced major changes to the visa settings of temporary graduates as well as the post-working rights of international students.
In an exclusive interview with SBS Hindi, the federal minister said, “Those with a working rights visa which has expired because they have been unable to get into the country, they will be able to have that renewed."
- Temporary graduates will be able to apply for a replacement visa next year
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We want them to have that opportunity which was provided to them as a part of their studying here.
The Morrison government had said that all those impacted would be able to reapply for new subclass 485 visas of the same duration as their original visa to give them an opportunity to make up for the lost time.
"This will help ensure the rapid return of international students," Mr Tudge said in a press release on Thursday.
Under the new changes, current and former temporary graduate (subclass 485) visa holders whose visas expired on or after 1 February 2020 will be able to apply for a new replacement visa. The 485 visas are offered to recently graduated international students and permit them to continue to work in Australia.
The government has also increased the length of stay on the 485 visas from the current two to three years for Masters by coursework graduates.
The Department of Home Affairs has confirmed that the replacement visas will be charged and applicants will be able to apply from 1 July.
Mr Tudge pointed out that the extension of three years would attract many to come to Australia for study purposes.
“The new changes will make sure that no one was disadvantaged by not coming to Australia," he said, indicating that post-working rights would make Australia an attractive study destination for Indian students.
Responding to a query on when the replacement visa can be lodged by applicants, Tudge said, “I don’t know the precise date but I imagine that it will be very soon that immigration Minister Alex Hawke will make that announcement.”
He further highlighted Australia’s eagerness for the return of international students.
Borders are open and we will be welcoming them with open arms.
“There are almost 160,000 people who are offshore waiting to come back into the country and almost 18,000 of those are Indian nationals,” Mr Tudge said.
“They (international students) are a massive source of benefit to Australia. International education is actually the third biggest export market, typically it's worth $40 billion a year and even much more than that.
“It greatly assists with people-to-people linkages,” he said.
Mr Tudge said that Australia is not at risk of losing its share of international students to other study destinations for keeping its borders shut for a long time during COVID times.
"At the end of the day we have some of the greatest universities, we have got the most enviable lifestyle, we are a very welcoming multicultural country, and we have very competitive visas in relation to post-study work rights," he said, adding that he expects the international student market to rebound.
Earlier, concerns were raised that the delay in reopening borders would adversely impact attracting new students to Australia.
Disclaimer: The information mentioned in the article with regards to the replacement visa for temporary graduates has been updated and verified by the Department of Home Affairs after the audio interview.
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