If you hold a Student or Working Holiday Maker visa and are eligible for a refund of your first instalment of the visa application charge (VAC)
The Australian Government is providing an incentive for fully vaccinated Student and Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa holders to travel to Australia as soon as possible.
For Students, you will be eligible for a refund of the visa application charge paid in relation to that visa if:
you hold a valid Student visa (subclasses 500, 560, 571, 572, 573, 574 or 575) , and
arrive in Australia on that visa between 19 January 2022 and 19 March 2022.
Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa holders will be eligible for a refund of the VAC paid in relation to that visa if they:
hold a valid Working Holiday Maker visa (subclasses 417 or 462); and
arrive in Australia on that visa between 19 January 2022 and 19 April 2022.
You do not need to lodge your claim immediately. If you hold a Student or WHM visa, and you arrive within the specified period, you will be eligible for a refund.
You will not receive a refund automatically. You must make a claim using the Students and WHM refunds form.
You can make a claim any time up until 31 December 2022.
Full reopening of Australian borders from 21 Feb 2022
Australia will reopen to all fully vaccinated visa holders, welcoming the return of tourists, business travellers, and other visitors from 21 February. These changes will ensure we protect the health of Australians, while we continue to secure our economic recovery. Australia’s health system has demonstrated its resilience throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including though the recent Omicron wave. With improving health conditions, including a recent 23 per cent decline in hospitalisations due to COVID, the National Security Committee of Cabinet today agreed Australia is ready to further progress the staged reopening of our international border. Visa holders who are not fully vaccinated will still require a valid travel exemption to enter Australia, and will be subject to state and territory quarantine requirements.
Temporary relaxation of working hours
for student visa holders
Due to workforce shortages, there is a temporary relaxation of student visa work limits to all sectors of the economy. This takes effect immediately for all ongoing students as well as new student arrivals who wish to commence a job prior to course commencement. This means that international students can work before their course commences and work more than 40 hours a fortnight in any sector of the economy. This also includes secondary applicants.
This is a temporary arrangement and will be reviewed by the Government in April 2022. Check back regularly for updates.
In addition, if a student visa holder travels to Australia between 19 January to 19 March 2022, they will be eligible for a refund of their visa application charge. Students will be able to apply for a refund up until 31 December 2022. Details of how to apply for a refund will be available shortly.
The Government will extend Skilled Regional (Provisional) (subclass 489, 491 and 494) visas by 3 years if the visa holder was affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
The Government will extend Skilled Regional (Provisional) (subclass 485, 489, 491 and 494) visas by 3 years if the visa holder was affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
We will extend visas for Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa holders if the primary visa holder was outside Australia at any time between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021 (inclusive) as the holder of a valid Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa.
Affected Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa holders will then have time to make travel plans to start or resume living and working in regional Australia. For more information see the COVID-19 and the border – regional Australia page.