International students pursuing studies in regional Australia which excludes the major cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, can soon submit applications for a post-study visa extension if they meet all the criteria.
Regional Australia includes the areas which need further development compared to bigger cities in the country. Students who have been studying and living in these areas for two years will be allowed to apply for one year or two years visa extension, while the rules depend on the area, Erudera College News reports.
The Australian Department of Home Affairs (DHS) has announced that international students studying outside Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane will be able to extend their current two-year post-study visa starting from 2021.
“Eligibility will include international students who studied at a regional campus of a metropolitan university. The additional post-study work arrangements will become available in 2021, and will require ongoing residence in a regional area,” reads the DHS statement.
Students living and pursuing studies in areas considered as Category 2 will receive an extension for one year. The Category 2 areas include:
- Gold Coast
- Sunshine Coast
- Canberra Newcastle/Lake Macquarie
- Wollongong/Illawarra Geelong and Hobart
Whereas, students residing in the Category 3, which excludes cities in Category 1 and Category 2 but includes all other areas, will be permitted to apply for a two-year extension.
According to DHS, the initiative aims to encourage international students to pursue studies at regional institutions in the country as well as to motivate them to live and work in regional areas as it could lead to boosting prosperity and diversity.
The government’s initiative to grant visa extensions for international students in regional areas also aims to bring more international skilled talents in the country and contribute to boosting the economy and country’s development.
Professor of law at the University of Adelaide, Alex Reilly, also told Financial Times that the move has taken in an effort of Australia to attract the brightest minds.
“But we also want skilled migrants that we can put into the labour market right away through the employer-sponsored route. Australia really needs migration to keep the economy growing. No one wants to put that at risk.”
Earlier this year, a report on an inquiry on working holidaymakers by the Australian Parliamentary Committee, had among other things proposed Australian government to create a programme which could simplify the living and immigration process for international students, offering visa extensions to those students working in farms during non-teaching periods.