Fee relief for international education

·2-min read

International education providers hit hard by COVID-19 will be given a multi-million dollar federal government boost, as the sector prepares to welcome back students next year.

The new measures would see almost $28 million given in regulatory fee relief, while more than $9 million will be provided in grants for institutions offering English language intensive courses for overseas students.

Current loan fee exemptions will be extended until the end of 2022, which will benefit an estimated 30,000 undergraduate students.

Meanwhile, international students who have been unable to travel to Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to apply for replacement visas.

The government will also increase the length of stay for temporary graduate visas from two to three years.

Time spent studying online while overseas will also help students qualify for a temporary graduate visa.

Education Minister Alan Tudge said the measures would help education providers recover from the COVID-19 downturn in the sector, ahead of the 2022 academic year.

"This will help ensure the rapid return of international students," Mr Tudge said.

"It provides clear incentives for institutions and students and ensures students are not disadvantaged from being prevented from coming to Australia earlier.

The announcement comes after the government announced visa holders, including international students, would be able to travel to Australia without the need for a travel exemption from December 1.

It's estimated 162,000 student visas will be issued.

While international student enrolments were down 17 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels, enrolments for English language intensive courses for overseas students are down 71 per cent in the same period.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said visa changes were necessary to give international students a reprieve after almost two years of disruption due to COVID-19.

"The changes are targeted to not only support international students but are also a crucial component of our economic recovery and will help us retain and attract skilled workers," Mr Hawke said.

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