There is information for current visa holders on the Department of Home Affairs website. This page is updated frequently with new information. Please check the links regularly for new updates and media releases.
The University is working according to the normal compliance requirements of the Department of Home Affairs when considering the impact of COVID-19 for students in Australia. Any withdrawal, suspension or deferral of studies will affect your COE status and may have implications for your student visa. Please contact the International Compliance team by making an AskFlinders request if you have specific enquiries about your visa.
Do I need to apply for a new student visa prior to the expiry of my current student visa expiry is if I am studying offshore?
Yes, It is important to have as you will need a valid student visa to be able to travel to Australia when possible once borders reopen. Your student visa also offers you important ESOS protections. For more information, see the ESOS Act and National Code 2018.
To check your visa expiry date and visa conditions, please check VEVO.
My visa is due to expire. Can I get a fee waiver for a new visa application?
Students who held a student visa on or after 1 February 2020 and who couldn’t complete their course within their original visa validity due to the impacts of COVID-19 may be eligible to apply for a new student visa and have the visa application charge waived. Eligibility requirements apply, as outlined on the Department of Home Affairs website.:
- student deferred study as they were unable to enter Australia
- student was forced to reduce to a part-time study load (the underload must be authorised by International Compliance)
- student was unable to complete WIL or placement.
Applications must be submitted to Home Affairs with the completed form 1545. Applicants are advised to include evidence of the impact of COVID-19 on their studies with their visa application.
The application fee waiver is only available to students whose extension is required as a result of the impact of COVID-19. It is NOT available to students who:
- need new visas for other reasons (eg if you failed topics or you deferred study or reduced your study load for reasons not related to COVID-19)
- have already submitted applications for new visas (ie application charges already paid will not be refunded).
If you think you are eligible for the visa application charge waiver, submit a request through Ask Flinders to request a new COE to extend your studies and attach documentary evidence of how COVID-19 prevented you from completing your studies by your expected completion date. If you have already provided evidence you do not need to provide it again, just advise us in the Ask Flinders request what it is and where it was submitted.
Will online study affect my visa if I am still onshore?
Taking the online options that Flinders has implemented will not affect your student visa. Onshore students should enrol in face-to-face topics where possible, to ensure compliance with the ESOS Act and National Code .
Will online study affect my eligibility for a Post Study Work visa?
If you are in Australia, undertaking online study if a face to face availability is not available will not affect your eligibility for a Post Study Work (PSW) visa.
If you choose to leave Australia and maintain enrolment through online study, it is likely this will not contribute to the Australian study requirement for the PSW visa. Please carefully consider your plans if you wish to leave Australia during your studies as travel restrictions continue to remain enforced and not all topics may not be available for online study.
If you are studying online, you have a student visa and you have not yet travelled to Australia due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions, your online study will count towards the Australian Study Requirement for existing and new student visa holders. Details on this and other flexibility measures is available on the Department of Home Affairs website.
Standard eligibility requirements for the Post Study Work visa are outlined on the Department of Home Affairs website.
If I am not able to enrol in a full-time load of online topics will it affect my visa?
If you are offshore we recognise that your circumstances may not permit full time study so offshore students may enrol in a part-time load. This will not affect your visa.
If you are onshore you are expected to enrol in a full-time study load. Any reduction of study load must be approved by Flinders international before you withdraw from any topics.
If the government health advice changes and Flinders is unable to continue face-to-face teaching, and if the University is unable to deliver your study plan in a fully online mode, you may need to maintain part-time enrolment until face-to-face teaching can resume. If the reduction in study load is required because a full-time online load is unavailable, the part-time load will not affect your COE or your student visa. Please seek written College confirmation of reduced study load and forward it to the Compliance team for approval by submitting an Ask Flinders request.
If I leave Australia, will I be able to return?
The best source of information is the Department of Home Affairs’ COVID and the Border website, which provides information on travel restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as information for current visa holders. These will be updated as the situation changes.
Some students may meet the criteria for individual travel exemptions which are detailed on the Home Affairs website.