Those waiting and planning to apply for Student visas should expect extreme delays in visa outcomes. While the maximum wait on any student visa processing time is usually 12 months, based on The Department of Home Affairs website, this is not the case for a lot of student visa applicants. The Department of Home Affairs claims to be undergoing thorough procedures in ensuring all criteria is met in each individual application in areas such as mandatory health checks and character and national security checks, explaining this is very time consuming.
74,700 offshore student visa applications were submitted to the department as of 30 June 2022 and only 5,000 applicants have received a response. Standard procedure times for student visas is 2 months, however some applicants have been waiting for over 18 months. The delays in student visa processing times are causing many international students to apply for student visas in Europe, simply due to the fact that visa procedures and processing times are shorter. This is having a negative impact on Australia due to the recent boarder closures relating to COVID-19. The closure of borders made it difficult for international students to come to study in Australia. Now that the borders are open there is great pressure on the Department of Home Affairs to process applications in order to clear backlogs and return Australian student visas processing times to their original reasonable state. Those non-citizens wishing to study in Australia who have already applied are becoming stressed and anxious due to the long wait, making it difficult to explore other educational options due to the lack of uncertainty.
The advantage in the circumstances is that bridging visa a will be granted for on shore applications allowing work rights. In addition, due to covid-19, work rights on student visas now allows 40 hours rather than the more limited 20 hours per week.
As always, students should explore studying courses which allow a pathway to occupations in demand due to covid-19 and where there are skill shortages.