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Australia in talks to simplify visa process, waive fees for students

International students in Australia universities could be looking at a future with cheaper and simpler visa processes, as the country works towards resuscitating its international education sector. The Australian Financial Review reports that the Morrison government has been given a roadmap to recovery that includes prioritising students from low-risk countries, simplifying the visa process and waiving fees, regulatory relief for some providers and a marketing campaign to reassure international students they are still welcome to study in Australia.

According to the plan, students from low-risk countries and economies should be given priority “to test alternative quarantine arrangements and vaccine policies.” The daily reported minister for education and youth Alan Tudge was given both a draft 10-year international student strategy and an 18-month roadmap to recovery that had been developed by a coalition of peak groups and tertiary education executives over a week ago.

The roadmap reportedly includes recommendations such as waiving visa fees and simplifying the visa renewal process for international students impacted by COVID-19 so they can continue their studies in Australia without additional hurdles.

Other recommendations include reducing visa application fees for new students to improve Australia’s appeal and a targeted marketing and promotional campaign to help rebuild Australia’s national education brand. The plan says a coordinated approach from federal and state governments, education providers and industry is needed to “provide a strong return for this important sector.”

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