Recent changes to student visa conditions and for Temporary Graduate visa holders

The Australian Government has announced a number of changes that impact international students and graduates. Here is a summary of those changes and what they mean if you work while studying in Australia or after graduation.

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Department of home affairs website
Last Updated Tuesday 25th January, 2022

Recently there have been a number of significant announcements for international students and graduates from the Australian Government.

Temporary relaxation of working hours for student visa holders

Previously under Student visa (subclass 500) conditions, international students were allowed:

  • To work up to 40 hours per fortnight during the semester, and unlimited hours during semester break
  • Family members of students studying a masters or a doctorate degree could work unrestricted hours once the primary student visa holder has started their course
  • Students studying a postgraduate research degree or doctorate were allowed to work unlimited hours

To help address workforce shortages across Australia, including in Adelaide, the Australian Government announced a temporary relaxation of working hours for student visa holders.

This removes the 40 hour work restriction on work hours while courses of study or training are in session.

How long will the temporary relaxation last for?

The temporary relaxation will be reviewed in April 2022. 

Students will need to ensure they continue to meet satisfactory course progression, which includes attending class.

The Department of Home Affairs has published more detailed information about the temporary relaxation of working hours.

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Visa application fee refunds

The Australian Government is providing an incentive for fully vaccinated student visa (and working holiday maker visa holders) to travel back to Australia as soon as possible.

If you arrive in Australia between 19 January 2022 and 19 March 2022, you will be eligible for a refund of your visa application charge up to the value of AUD $630. 

This temporary measure has been introduced to encourage eligible visa holders back to Australia before their classes start, to help fill the shortage of workers that Australia is facing across the economy.

This incentive was announced by the Australian Government on Wednesday 19 January 2022, with further information published by the Department of Home Affairs.

How do I get my visa application fee refund?

The Department of Home Affairs will publish a form which students will need to complete to receive the fee refund. 

You will be required to submit a few details such as your name, date of birth, passport, visa application reference number and bank account details. 

This will ensure that the payment goes to the correct person.

When do I have to apply by to get the visa application fee refund?

You will be able to apply for the refund up until 31 December 2022. This applies for both student visa and working holiday maker visa holders that arrive in Australia between 19 January and 19 March 2022.

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Visa extensions for COVID-19 affected Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders

On 18 January 2022, the Australian Government announced that Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders who are eligible for a replacement Temporary Graduate visa because they lost time in Australia as a result of COVID-19 international travel restrictions, will have their visas extended to 30 September 2022.

How do I get the Temporary Graduate visa extension?

The visa extension will be applied automatically by the Department of Home Affairs. 

There is no additional cost to receive the extension.

My Temporary Graduate visa expired while I was outside Australia. What are my options?

If your Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa expired while you were outside Australia, you may be eligible for a replacement Temporary Graduate visa.

Normally graduates are entitled to one Temporary Graduate visa (although you can get an additional year of post study work rights by studying and living in a regional area like Adelaide). 

In the past if your visa expired while you were outside Australia, you would lose the opportunity to work in Australia after graduation on this visa.

To ensure graduates have not been negatively impacted due to COVID-19, the Australian Government has announced a COVID-19 Temporary Graduate replacement stream.

Further details are yet to be announced, however this is good news for graduates who were outside Australia between 1 February 2019 and 15 December 2021.

How much will the Temporary Graduate replacement visa cost?

The replacement Temporary Graduate visa will cost $1,680 for the primary applicant. 

Additional charges will apply for each family member that applies with them.

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