I have a Student visa

A flexible approach is being taken to student visa conditions where COVID-19 and travel restrictions have prevented visa conditions being met, such as attendance at class or use of online learning.

If your study in Australia is ending, and you are unable to depart Australia, you need to apply for another visa before your Student visa expires.

Under Australian migration law, it is not possible to extend a Student visa.

You need to apply for a new visa if:

  • you cannot return to your home country and your visa is expiring or
  • you need more time in Australia to complete your course.

If you are continuing studies in Australia, you should apply for a new Student visa six weeks before your existing Student visa expires.

If your study in Australia is ending but you cannot leave Australia, you will need to apply for another visa before your Student visa expires.

Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for a Visitor visa (subclass 600).

Some services relating to the visa application process may be impacted and a range of services are becoming unavailable. This includes panel doctors who undertake medical checks, English language testing facilities and biometric collection. While these services are unavailable, many applicants cannot meet visa requirements. Students will be given additional time to complete checks and provide the requested information.

If you make a new application before the current visa expires, you may receive a bridging visa to remain lawful while all requirements are met.

Working on a student visa

If your course is ‘out of session’

You can work unlimited hours if your course is considered ‘out of session’. Courses are considered ‘out of session’ during scheduled course breaks or if a student has finished their course as scheduled.

If you are studying a masters by research or a doctorate course

If you have commenced studying a masters by research or a doctorate course, you may work unlimited hours.

If your course has been deferred

You can work over 40 hours per fortnight if your course has been deferred.

Temporary relaxation of working hours for student visa holders

Certain student visa holders are temporarily permitted to work more than 40 hours per fortnight if they are:

  • employed in the health sector, enrolled in a health related course (such as nursing or medicine) and are directed by a health official to assist in the effort against COVID-19
  • employed in aged care by an Approved Provider or Commonwealth-funded aged care service provider
  • employed by a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme provider.

The temporary arrangements only apply to student visa holders working in these sectors. See Temporary relaxation of working hours for student visa holders.

Aged care service providers should refer to the correspondence provided by the Department of Health for further details. Registered National Disability Insurance Scheme providers should refer to the correspondence provided by the NDIS Commission for further information.

Employers are still required to abide by all relevant Australian workplace laws. Overseas workers, including international students, have the same rights under Australian workplace law as all other employees.

Australian study requirements

The Department of Home Affairs does not regulate mode of study requirements.

You should contact your education provider.

Please refer to the Joint TEQSA and ASQA statement relating to flexible delivery.

For the exceptions as a result of the travel restrictions, see the National Code requirements for affected tertiary students to undertake online study.

Notifying the Department

You do not need to notify the Department if you return home, or your study situation changes.

Your visa remains valid until you lodge another visa application, or your visa expires. The status of your visa will remain unchanged if you return home or defer your studies.

Students experiencing financial difficulties

You are encouraged to rely on family support, part-time work where available and your own savings to support yourself in Australia.

If you are unable to support yourself, you should make arrangements to return to your usual country of residence. It is a condition of all student visas that holders have access to funds to support themselves for the duration of their stay in Australia.

Students who have been in Australia longer than 12 months who find themselves in financial hardship will be able to access some of their Australian superannuation.

Please refer to the Australian Taxation Office webpage on early access to superannuation 

COVID-19 Pandemic event visa

If your student visa is expiring, you are currently unable to return home and you can’t meet the requirements for another visa, you may be eligible for the Temporary Activity (Subclass 408) Australian Government Endorsed Event stream (COVID-19 Pandemic event visa).

You’ll need to demonstrate why you can’t meet the requirements for another visa. This could include a statement and evidence that you do not have access to sufficient funds to be able to pay a further visa application charge (VAC).