Everything you need to know regarding COVID-19 as an International Student

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International Student in library Covid-19

COVID 19 suddenly changed the world we have currently been living in, to this so-called “new normality”. It has affected all the countries around the world and Australia is not the exception. 

Now, if you want to travel to Australia to study or you are already living there as an International Student you have to comply with certain rules to prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Also, if you need to get another visa or extend your student visa there are some updates you have to keep in mind.

Keep reading to find out about the latest news regarding Covid-19 new changes.

Is the Australian border open yet due to COVID-19?

As cases are increasing again in Victoria and New South Wales, they are trying to contain a second Coronavirus wave and borders remain closed. According to the Governments latest updates, they will probably re-open at the beginning of 2021. This has affected the big affluence of international students that arrive in Australia each year.

Is the Border Open for International Students?

Until this month, June 2020, only permanent residents and citizens were allowed to enter the country. But this month for the first time since the pandemic, International Students from China have been allowed to enter the country as they make one-third of the total of International Students enrolling in Universities across Australia. 

This is huge progress since the strict measurements that the Australian Government had to impose since the pandemic. It is a possibility that International Students from other countries (besides China) will have the chance to enter the country soon.

For them, it will be mandatory to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks. 

Students staying in Australia Covid-19

What are other COVID-19 Measurements for International Students?

Australia is the main destination for International Students. The Government is the first supporter and is always innovating regarding programs for them. In this case, it will not be different. 

  • The Australian International Embassies will re-open as the Government will be granting International students with Visas. In this way, when the borders re-open, they will be able to travel. 
  • If your Visa expires while you are in Australia the Government will not charge you any application fee if you were not able to finish your studies on your prior Visa.
  • For online students doing their studies outside Australia. These studies will be valid for the requirement to get a post-study work Visa if you are interested in staying in Australia working. 
  • Graduates can apply for a post-study work Visa outside of Australia if they are not able to come back to the country due to the COVID. 

The Minister for Immigration stated that all these new updates were thought to give the students the opportunity to study/keep studying in Australia when it gets safe to do so. 

What should I do if I need to apply for another visa?

As mentioned before if you are still in Australia and your Visa application is affected due to Covid-19, you will not have to pay for extra fees for your application. Keep in mind that if you are continuing your studies in Australia, you have to apply for a new student visa. 

In case your studies in Australia are ending, but you can’t leave Australia due to the pandemic you should apply for a visitor Visa. You need to do this before your student Visa expires. The Visitor Visa will let you stay in the country for up to 12 months.

It may happen that you may not be eligible for a Visitor Visa. In this case the one you have to apply for is the Temporary Activity (Subclass 408) Australian Government Endorsed Event stream (COVID-19 Pandemic Event) Visa.

In this application, you have to include the reason why you are not eligible for the Visitor Visa. It may be due to a lack of funds to pay for the Visitor Visa. 

If I leave Australia while studying should I notify it?

Due to the pandemic there exists a lot of cases where International Students have to return home while they are still studying. This is possible as Universities started to impart classes online.

But don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you will lose your Visa status. It will remain valid until you lodge another Visa application or until it expires. 

Am I still able to work with my student visa in this frame time?

Keep in mind that for a student you are able to work 40 hours in a fortnight. But due to this pandemic, the conditions have changed. You only will be able to work part-time as a student if you:

  • Are employed in the health sector 
  • Work in age care or under an aged care service provider.
  • Are employed by a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme provider. 
Girl Studying in Covid-19 time

Help for International Students

If you are experiencing financial difficulties as an International Student, ask your university what kind of support they have for you.

A lot of education providers are offering students financial support for paying university fees, food, and accommodation. Also, they are offering mental health and medical support. If you find yourself in this situation don’t hesitate to ask. 

Another COVID-19 Measurement

If you are already in Australia, you need to comply with certain parameters imposed by the government to assure your safety and the safety of everyone living in the country regarding COVID-19. 

Should I wear a Mask in Public?

It is basic for you to do two things while in public. Wearing a mask and maintaining social distance.  For masks, it may be mandatory or just recommended depending on the city that you live in, in Australia. 

You should wear a mask when you are in public spaces where social distancing is not that easy. For example, if you are going to take public transportation or going to the supermarket. 

Also, you have to keep in mind that the best advice is to leave home only in strict and necessary cases. But if you need to leave, maintain a physical distance of more than 1.5m. Avoid large gatherings and practice good hand and respiratory hygiene. 

Students Social Distancing

Remember that if you still have questions regarding this difficult situation, you must visit the Australian Government Website. They will keep you updated about what is currently happening regarding this topic. 

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