Students at Coventry University

The Australian government will start granting international student visas in an attempt to restart international education, Minister for Population and Acting Minister for Immigration Alan Tudge announced on Monday

This was in response to pressure from the university sector to help it attract international students.

Under the changes, the government will resume granting student visas, allowing international students to enter Australia as soon as the nation’s borders are re-opened.

Students granted visas will be able to have online study undertaken while waiting to enter Australia count towards the requirements for a post-study work visa, which usually requires applicants to study in the country.

Tudge told reporters that “international students should not be further disadvantaged by COVID-19.”

“These measures back the international education sector, our fourth-largest export sector, and will assist its recovery,” he said.

Universities in Australia warned in June that the industry would lose up to 16 billion Australian dollars (11.2 billion U.S. dollars) by 2023 due to a collapse in the international education market amid the pandemic.

Monday’s announcement has been largely welcomed by universities.

Margaret Gardner, the interim chair of the prestigious Group of Eight, said that the coalition of elite universities was pleased that the “government has recognized the need for flexibility around visa settings in the current circumstances.”

“This will ensure students who have been forced to study offshore due to travel restrictions will still have access to post-study work rights,” she said. Enditem

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