COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Australian Government agencies are working with states and territories to implement measures to manage the risk of COVID-19. 

To find the information they need to make informed decisions about managing risk associated with COVID-19, students, parents, and education providers, as well as job seekers and employers should visit https://www.dese.gov.au/covid-19.


Visit Australia.gov.au for latest Coronavirus news, updates and advice from other government agencies across Australia.

Exemption to COVID-19 travel restrictions for Year 11 and 12 International Students

On 22 February 2020, the Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, announced that Senior high school students who remain in China due to Australian travel restrictions will be offered a strict pathway to resume their studies in recognition of the importance of the final two years of school.

Year 11 and Year 12 students who are completing their senior secondary schooling can apply for an exemption to the 1 Feb 2020 COVID19 travel restrictions applied to foreign nationals who have been in mainland China. 

The decision was taken based on the best medical advice available and with the safety of Australians as the number one priority.​

Further information for students and schools, please visit: https://www.dese.gov.au/covid-19.


Global Reputation Taskforce

 
On 21 January 2020, the Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, announced the formation of the Global Reputation Taskforce (Taskforce), under the leadership of the Council for International Education (Council). The Taskforce, led by the Hon Phil Honeywood, was initiated to shape Australia’s response in times of reputational damage or significant external risk to the sector, and to accelerate efforts to build a strong cohesive national brand for international education. Formed at the end of the bushfire season, the Taskforce harnessed cross-national expertise to play a critical role in protecting Australia's reputation as a safe, welcoming, high quality destination, and supporting students, families and providers during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Taskforce met 18 times between 3 February and 19 June, producing communiques following meetings on 3 February, 20 February and 12 March. Its membership comprised peak bodies, providers, state and territory governments, and Commonwealth agencies. Minister Tehan, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, and the Hon Alan Tudge, then acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, attended some meetings.


On 12 March the Global Reputation Taskforce submitted eighteen recommendations to the Minister for Education. These were designed to address the immediate challenges posed by the bushfires and COVID-19 and to prepare the international sector for future events. The recommendations can be found hereEach recommendation has been implemented or is under active consideration.

The final meeting of the Taskforce took place on 19 June. It was agreed that the Taskforce had been a vital and successful crisis response mechanism, and that ongoing work arising from it would be continued by the Expert Members of the Council.

 

Data

 
Number of student visa holders from mainland China (excluding the Special Administrative Regions) who may be affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) related travel restrictions and home isolation requirements
 
The tables below show the number of student visa holders for whom China was their place of permanent residence. The latest data for 1 March is shown against the same data for 1 February 2020 when the travel restrictions were first initiated.
Table 1: Student visa holders on 1 March 2020, country of residence is CHINA
Visa subclass
In Australia
Outside Australia
Total
% Outside Australia
Sector as % of total
Higher Education
69,705
87,158
156,863
56%
83%
Independent ELICOS
332
112
444
25%
0%
Non-Award
254
114
368
31%
0%
Postgraduate Research
3,244
1,683
4,927
34%
3%
Schools
8,851
3,519
12,370
28%
7%
Vocational Education and Training
11,049
2,475
13,524
18%
7%
Totals
93,437
95,061
188,498
50%
100%
Source: Department of Home Affairs, 2020
 
Table 2: Student visa holders on 1 February 2020, country of residence is CHINA
Visa subclass
In Australia
Outside Australia
Total
% Outside Australia
Sector as % of total
Higher Education
58,797
97,968
156,765
62%
83%
Independent ELICOS
360
94
454
21%
0.2%
Non-Award
223
125
348
36%
0.2%
Postgraduate Research
3,230
1,777
5,007
35%
3%
Schools
8,669
4,047
12,716
32%
7%
Vocational Education and Training
10,935
2,669
13,604
20%
7%
Totals
82,216
106,680
188,896
56%
100%
Source: Department of Home Affairs, 2020
Important general note for interpretation: Student visa sub-classes do not comprehensively align with the similarly-named education sectors. So for example, a higher education visa holder may study an ELICOS, non-award (foundation) and even a VET course before commencing their higher education course. For this reason, ELICOS and non-award appear vastly under-represented in this data set, those numbers are students who intend to study an ELICOS or a non-award course and go no further.
Table 3: Student visa holders on 1 March 2020, country of residence is CHINA
Location of primary education provider
In Australia
Outside Australia
Total
% Outside Australia
Sector as % of total
New South Wales
32,256
36,332
68,588
53%
36%
Victoria
32,421
31,589
64,010
49%
34%
Queensland
13,949
11,961
25,910
46%
14%
South Australia
5,822
5,668
11,490
49%
6%
Western Australia
3,167
3,010
6,177
49%
3%
Tasmania
1,632
1,158
2,790
42%
1%
Northern Territory
200
82
282
29%
0%
Australian Capital Territory
2,918
4,751
7,669
62%
4%
Unspecified
1,072
510
1,582
32%
1%
Totals
93,437
95,061
188,498
50%
100%
Source: Department of Home Affairs, 2020
 
Caveats                                                                               
·      Not all Chinese student visa holders reported here as outside Australia may be in mainland China.
·      Additional Chinese student visa holders for whom China is not their place of permanent residence are not captured in these data.
·      These data include both primary and secondary applicants combined unless otherwise specified.
·      Over the period 1 February to 1 March 2020, new student visas have been granted to applicants both in and outside Australia and some visas may have lapsed.  
·      These data represent student visa holders and do not include students holding other types of visas that permit study. In particular, many ELICOS students might not hold student visas.
·      ‘Primary’ education provider is generally the provider that confirmed the students’ enrolment for the purposes of granting a visa. So for example, where a student may study an ELICOS or non-award (foundation) course before commencing their higher education course, the higher education provider is generally identified as that student’s primary education provider.
·      These data do not contain information on scheduled commencements dates for students, so not all students shown as Outside Australia are necessarily delayed by the existing travel restrictions.
 
Data is also available on student visa holders from selected countries.pdf who may be affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) related travel restrictions and home isolation requirements.
 
Last modified on 22 April 2020
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