Regulatory changes made to support students studying in Australia

Yolanda Curtis
April 5, 2020

More than two million people were in Australia on a temporary visa, including 672,000 New Zealanders holding the special category 444 visa.

"We are providing additional flexibility for them to support themselves and we continue to work with the worldwide education sector on future arrangements as well".

There are 2.17 million foreigners now in Australia on different temporary visas, and are 'extremely valuable to the Australian economy and way of life, ' Alan Tudge, the acting immigration minister, said Saturday in a statement.

New Zealanders on 444 visas and who arrived in Australia before 26 February 2001 would have access to welfare payments and the JobKeeper payment.

"The Government will undertake further engagement with the global education sector who already provide some financial support for worldwide students facing hardship. for example, we understand there are some education providers that are providing fee discounts to worldwide students", he said.

Those visa holders who have been laid off due to COVID-19 should leave the country if they are unable to secure a new sponsor. "They are a key part of the Australian economy and I would have thought they wouldn't want to be so quick to lose them". For these individuals it's time to go home, and they should make arrangements as quickly as possible.

Global students are being encouraged to rely on family support and savings to get themselves through the crisis, while students in their second and subsequent years will be able to access any superannuation they've accumulated through part-time work. The government will be flexible in cases where the coronavirus has prevented global students meeting their visa conditions, such as not being able to attend classes.

The 203,000 global tourists now visiting Australia have also been asked to leave "as quickly as possible".

"Students are encouraged to rely on family support, part time jobs where available and their own finances to sustain themselves in Australia".

"Thousands are already doing this and others should follow their lead", Tudge said.

Mr Tudge said the 118,000 people on a working holiday visa - or backpacker visa - should leave if they did not have confidence to sustain themselves for six months, with exemptions made for critical sectors.

'I came to Australia because it was possible to work and study here. Again, they will have to self-isolate for 14 days prior to moving to a different region.

"Only if they are working in agriculture or a critical industry, that being health and aged care as well as agriculture".

"So if there is a New Zealander in the country who is unable to access those Job Seeker payments, then again we ask them to consider returning to New Zealand where they will be able to get the support they need", Mr Tudge said.

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