The Australian Department of Home Affairs unveils plans to introduce new Visa Incentives for international students studying in regional areas in 2021
In December 2020, the Department of Home Affairs released a statement indicating the Central Government’s plans to grant a second Temporary Graduate Visa, also known as TGV, to international students who study at Regional Universities and Colleges. The Post-Study workstream Visas were only used to be issued to international students coming to Australia to study. However, many of them have outlived their visas leading to a significant student population living in the country without legal documents.
The Government’s new announcement aims to legalise their residency by issuing them a second Temporary Graduate Visa. Funny enough, many of the beneficiaries of this second wave of TGV grants are students who have already completed their academic studies in the country. Specially created for those who currently live in Regional Australia, holders are expected to remain in their current locations in the regional areas during the course of their stay under the new arrangement.
There are two categories of international graduates who are eligible for a second TGV under the new arrangement. These are as follows:
- International students who, after graduating, have lived in the following cities and regional centres may apply for a second TGV
Perth – Adelaide – Sunshine Coast – Gold Coast – Wollongong – Canberra – Geelong – Newcastle/Lake Macquarie – Hobart
- Students who have studied and remained in other regions not mentioned in the list above will also be eligible for a second TGV for another year.
An Economic Push
This move appears to be a strategic one on the part of the Australian Government. In light of the havoc caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic, world governments are adopting new methods and strategies to boost their economies. For a country like Australia with so many regional and underdeveloped areas in the coastal regions and the hinterland, issuing new visas to foreign graduates is one step towards boosting the economies of these regions, especially when you consider the fact that TGV holders will only be allowed to live and work in their cities and regions of residence.
The new announcement is one that international students will welcome with open arms. Having lived in a state of uncertainty about their futures after their visas’ expiration, many were either left stranded or facing the possibility of leaving the country one way or another. As they remain in their current locations, the Department of Home Affairs hopes their stay will boost the labour force in these areas and stimulate economic integration and growth. Australia is not the first country to introduce Visa extension programs. The United Kingdom and quite a few other countries with significant student populations have done the same.