International students arriving in Australia need to be aware of the latest developments in the rules and regulations of the country.
COVID Vaccination Is Not Required to Travel to Australia Since July 6, 2022
New changes have been made to the Biosecurity Act of Australia which came into effect on July 6, 2022. According to the new rules, while people are still required to wear masks while arriving in Australia, they do not have to complete the Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) form anymore. Also, they do not have to share their COVID-19 vaccination status anymore.
The Australian Government had already announced that the COVID-19 test is no longer compulsory for international travelers since April 18, 2022.
Unlimited Working Hours for Student Visa Holders since January 2022
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA), Australia announced that it is lifting the limit on working hours for secondary Student Visa holders and Work Holiday Visa holders across all sectors temporarily. This move has been made to address the grave workforce shortages in Australia and speed up the economic recovery from the effects of COVID-19.
Earlier, Work Holiday visa holders could not only work for six months. But now they can keep working for the sample employer until the end of 2022.
Course Popular with International Students Could Be Matched with Skill Shortages in Different Sectors
Speaking at the Australian-American Fulbright event in Canberra on July 5, 2022, Australia’s education minister, Jason Clare, expressed his support for academic exchanges. He advised Australian recipients of the scholarship that the chance of studying overseas is a rare one and they should use the opportunity well.
He also shared that only 16% of overseas students remain and work in Australia after graduating from their courses. He said that to address skill shortages in Australia, the government would try to match the type of courses international students enroll in Australia with the workforce requirements of different sectors in the country.
For example, many international students enroll in business and commerce courses in Australia. But the country’s healthcare sector is seeing severe skill shortages. The government might introduce new schemes to encourage international students to enroll in courses that can address such skilled labor shortages.
Calls for making face-to-face learning mandatory for foreign students
International students are a big source of income for the Australian economy. The international education industry in Australia is worth $37.6 billion!
Ever since the country’s borders opened up post-COVID-19, the return of international students has been slow. A snapshot was taken by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, Australia on June 27, 2022, which revealed that out of 414,954 Australian student visa holders, 109,773 are still offshore.
The main reasons for these students choosing to remain offshore include:
- delays in visa processing and passport renewals,
- COVID hesitancy,
- local lockdowns,
- expensive flights, and
- the facility to study online while studying in their own country.
This loss of international students can lead to a loss of $16 billion for Australian universities by 2023.
The Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) industry has also been hit by the slow return of foreign students to the country. They are calling on the Australian government to make face-to-face learning mandatory for international students so they can be compelled to return to Australia.
50% of Chinese student visa holders have chosen to stay back. Shortages of flights out of China and visa processing delays are the main reasons behind it. They said that Australia took a hit as a preferred study destination by international students due to its COVID-19 restrictions, and allowing student visa holders to study online from their home countries.
Australia is facing growing competition from countries like Canada which has increased the working rights of international students and made access to permanent residence easier. In the near future, the Australian government might have to take similar steps to bring international students back to Australia and revive the economy.
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