International students are one of the most affected communities in the present crisis owing to COVID-19. The health concerns and travel restrictions along with long lockdowns are making it hard for those who study overseas or are aspiring to do so.
Among countries that are globally reputed for overseas studies, Australia ranks among the top. Lots of students attempt to join Australian universities and find a way to build their future in this amazing country.
Hence, in a critical situation as with the pandemic, it’s fair for students to have so many questions to ask. It also has to do with the curiosity regarding the new updates in student visa Australia.
How is the Government supporting student visa holders?
The Australian government is being flexible with its approach to student visa conditions, affected by COVID-19. The travel restrictions have understandably impacted abiding with regular rules like attendance or online learning. Hence, the Government has temporarily relaxed its stance on enforcing the 40-hour work limitation for the following sectors that are critical:
- International students who work in the aged care sector. They can now work more than 40 hours a fortnight (Effective from March 18, 2020).
- International students who work in major supermarkets helping to get stock on shelves due to high demand (Effective from March 7, 2020).
- Student visa holders enrolled in nursing. They can now undertake work to help and support the health staff working against COVID-19 as directed by health officials.
How can students be sure that their visa is out of risk?
Approved employers will be given written advice. It will set out the temporary relaxation of working hours for student visa holders.
Supermarkets are required to register with the Department of Home Affairs if they want to implement the temporary relaxation of working hours for existing workers. Aged Care service providers should refer to the correspondence they received from the Department of Health for more details.
What are the types of work students can take up under these arrangements?
The temporary arrangements are applicable only to student visa holders working in supermarkets or aged care providers. They are also applied to student nurses supporting health staff working against COVID-19 as directed by health officials.
It should be noted that the arrangements apply only to currently employed workers working in their existing roles. The development in the COVID-19 situation will determine whether similar measures are needed in other critical sectors. This will be to ensure the supply of essential goods and services to Australians.
How is this temporary measure made accessible to employers?
The Department of Home Affairs has made a form for supermarkets. It can be used to submit a request for access to the temporary arrangements. The form is available online.
Employers still have to abide by all relevant laws applicable to Australian workplaces. Like all other employees, overseas workers, including international students, have the same rights under Australian workplace law.
If unable to support oneself in Australia, what can be done?
If one cannot support self, that person should arrange to return to his/her usual country of residence. The Government will continue to engage with the international education sector. This sector provides some financial support for international students facing difficulties.
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