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Visa processing update

Improving visa processing times

The Australian Government is supporting its Department of Home Affairs to address current delays in visa applications as an urgent priority.

To improve visa processing times, the Department has employed nearly 140 new staff in visa processing roles since May 2022 and moved back to pre-pandemic decision making processes.

What this means for you

If you lodge an incomplete application, you will receive a notification in your ImmiAccount with a Request for Information (RFI) from the Department of Home Affairs.

When an RFI is received, you must provide the requested information as soon as possible.

If you do not provide the requested information before the specified due date, the Department of Home Affairs will finalise your visa application without the information they requested. Not having all the information assessed means your visa may not be approved.

What you need to do

  • Lodge a student visa application at least 6-8 weeks before course commencement.

  • Regularly check your ImmiAccount for any requests from the Department of Home Affairs.

  • Respond to any requests for further information or documentation BEFORE the stated deadline (the sooner, the better).

  • If you are having difficulty getting the required information, you should request an extension of time through your ImmiAccount.

  • If you are requesting an extension, you should provide evidence of any actions you have taken to obtain the required information, such as a payment receipt or booking confirmation, in order to support your request for more time.

Latest advice on student visas

  • The Australian Government is continuing to grant student visas and we advise the following:

  • If you are a new student, please first enrol at an education institution and then apply for a student visa.

  • If you are waiting for a visa approval, you may wish to consider continuing or commencing your studies online. Australian education providers offer a range of online learning and study load options – please contact your education institution for further details.

  • If you have already commenced studying online or in transnational education programs and do not have a student visa, we encourage you to apply for a student visa now.

  • If you already hold a student visa, online study or transnational education undertaken outside of Australia due to COVID-19 can count towards the Australian study requirement for a post-study work visa.

  •  In January 2022, the Australian Government temporarily removed restrictions on student visa holder working hours. This means there is currently no restriction on the number of hours that students can work while studying in Australia. However, work hours for international students will be capped again from July 2023. This will be revised with a view to finding the right balance between work and study. 

  • The temporary removal of restrictions on working hours does not change the requirement that international students must still meet satisfactory course progress requirements, and balance work and study commitments.

  • International students are protected by Australia's workplace laws. Please visit the Study Australia Employability Hub for student and graduate work information.

  • Your visa application fee will be waived to allow you to submit a further student visa application, if you held a student visa on or after 1 February 2020 and could not complete your course within the original visa time period because of the impacts of COVID-19.

  • International students wishing to commence higher degree research (post-graduate study) in critical technology-related fields in Australia may need to have their application approved by the Minister for Education. This condition does not apply to current student visa holders.

  • If you are already located in Australia, health and well-being support remains available through education providers, government and community services.

  • It is important that you are able to financially support yourself throughout your studies during your time in Australia. Please refer to this guide to calculate your living costs while living and studying in Australia.

  • International students currently outside Australia should check their visa status via the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) website prior to making arrangements to travel to Australia.

Latest advice on graduate visas

  • The length of stay, for those students who have the Temporary Graduate visa, has been extended from two (2) to three (3) years for Masters by Coursework graduates, matching the provisions for Masters by Research graduates. Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector graduates will also receive a two (2) year Temporary Graduate visa.

  • There is a planned increase for the duration of post-study work rights for international students eligible for a Temporary Graduate Work visa (subclass 485), in select fields of study. These extended ‘stay and work’ periods will apply to students graduating with higher education degrees linked to identified workforce shortages. The Department will announce which degrees will be selected for work-rights extensions in late October 2022. Students who are studying select degrees will have Temporary Graduate Work visa (subclass 485) stay period increases of four years for Bachelor degree graduates, up from two years previously, five years for Master degree graduates, up from three years previously and six years for PhD graduates, up from four years previously.

  • From 1 July 2022, current and former Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders who lost time in Australia due to COVID-19 international travel restrictions can apply for a replacement visa. This includes people who were outside of Australia at any time between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021 while they held a Temporary Graduate visa. Applications may be made until 31 December 2026. Click here for more information on the Home Affairs website.

  • From 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023, applicants for the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa Graduate Work stream will not need to nominate an occupation from the skilled occupation list and obtain a skills assessment. This will apply to all applications lodged on or after 1 July 2022 until 30 June 2023. It will not be applied to applications lodged before 1 July 2022.

Referenced by 02.02.23

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