COVID-19 Updates

Don’t let the pandemic stop you from pursuing your goals. Our team is here to help you navigate this whole "studying in Australia" thing, even through a pandemic!

Overview

If you’re wondering how the pandemic has affected international students studying at Australian universities, we’ve got you covered.

Currently, the Australian borders are closed. This means that only Australian citizens, approved residents, and immediate family members are permitted to travel to Australia. Australian citizens are also unable to leave Australia. International students are not permitted to enter the country (whether or not they’ve been vaccinated or have an approved student visa), unless the Australian Government has granted them a “travel exemption.”

How this has affected Australian university studies is a bit of a mixed bag. Some programs are continuing online, while other programs are not enrolling off-shore students (students who are not currently in Australia).

We know there’s a lot to take in, so let’s go through it in sections. Here’s what you’ll find on this page:

We will be keeping this page as up to date as possible throughout the pandemic until our students all arrive in Australia. You can also follow on Instagram where we host regular student takeovers and post relevant COVID-related news.

OzTREKK’s Role

Despite the pandemic, it’s business as usual here. Universities and students are adapting, prospective students are still applying, and students are starting their studies each semester.

OzTREKK’s role in all of this is to be your guide (at least, that’s our goal!). In addition to our typical OzTREKK support, we’re here to sift through and interpret the everchanging details to ensure you are fully informed. We want you to be confident in your decisions as we guide you through your next steps. You deserve to be as prepared as possible to start your degree, whether that’s online or in-person—this year or next!

Here’s how we can help:

Program-specific Updates
We have a very close relationships with our university partners. This ensures we are up to date on program-specific changes, so we can pass this intel along to you.

Personalized Support
The pandemic situation in Australia seems to change daily. We’re here to chat about your “what if” scenarios, back-up plans, and your next course of action—whatever you need to support your pandemic plans.

Predeparture Support
We’re still running our predeparture services, including providing info about student visas, health insurance, accommodation, and more. Should you get a travel exemption or if Australian borders open, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running.

Firsthand Accounts
We’re now a few cohorts into this thing called “being an international student while studying online from Canada.” We’re sharing stories and advice from students who are living this today. We hope you don’t just get the facts, but get a real feel for the day-to-day (the good and the bad!) that might be in your future.

Stay up to date with OzTREKK News and follow us on Instagram for frequent student takeovers.

Universities’ Role

Our universities have taken on a variety of roles throughout this pandemic.

We’ve seen their research efforts amped up, lobbying the state and federal governments to advocate for international student entry (including developing pilot programs for entry), and quick problem-solving to offer a quality educational experience during unusual times.

We are keeping track of which programs our universities are offering online and which require in-person attendance. See our Online or In-person Studies – 2022 Intake document for details. Please be sure to refresh each time you visit as we are still receiving updates from the universities.

University Resources
Here are our universities’ COVID-19 communications sites, which are regularly updated and have contact information:

Read a summary of the COVID response evolution in Australia.

Australian Government’s Role

While the Australian Government has not publicly announced a border-reopening date, it has released a National Plan to transition Australia’s National COVID-19 Response, which does account for international students’ entry into Australia over time.

With this plan, the government will consider permitting international students to enter the country once 80% of Australians are fully vaccinated with their second dose. The news loosely suggests this could happen in November or December 2021.

Important: You should not book travel to Australia until their border situation is clearer. Policies and entry requirements can change at any time. You can book a ticket, but without expressed government approval, you won’t be able to board your plane, and it would be a very costly mistake!

Travel Exemptions
There are multiple approved categories under which non-citizens (and international students) may currently apply for an individual exemption to enter Australia while borders are closed.

The individual exemptions that are relevant to some of our students are as follows:

  • A student who has been selected to take part in an International Student Arrivals Plan that has been approved by the relevant state or territory government, and endorsed by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment as satisfying the Protocols and Preconditions for International Student Arrivals.
  • A student in your final three years of study of a medical university degree, where you have evidence of a confirmed placement in an Australian hospital or medical practice. The placement must commence within the next two months, and provide medical services to the Australian public.
  • A higher degree research student enrolled in an Australian education institution (including master’s by research and PhD students) with evidence of a commonwealth research grant from a commonwealth agency, such as the Australian Research Council or National Health and Medical Research Council.
  • A student in the final two years of study of a dental, nursing, or allied health profession university degree, where you have evidence of a confirmed placement in an Australian hospital or medical practice which begins within the next two months. (Allied health includes physiotherapy and occupational therapy.)

Students who meet the above criteria and who wish to apply for an exemption are able to do so once they

  • have accepted an offer from an Australian university and have received a confirmation of enrollment (CoE);
  • have completed their student visa application; and
  • it is within two months from their planned arrival date, but not less than two weeks from this date.

Important: Please note that exemptions are not guaranteed. Many of our students had to apply several times before receiving an approval while many were not approved at all. Travel arrangements should not be made until an exemption has been approved.

For all the exemption details, including a complete list of travel exemptions and how to apply, please visit the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs site.

Quarantine
Should you be approved for a travel exemption, you will be required to complete a 14-day government-arranged quarantine upon entering Australia. Each Australian state manages its own quarantine program.

You are responsible to cover the cost of your quarantine (approximately $2,500, but varies by state) which includes all transportation (from airport), hotel accommodation, food, testing, etc. You are not permitted to arrange quarantine yourself. This is not self-isolation like we have in Canada.

Contact the state or territory health department for more information about their quarantine requirements. The following sites also provide more information about what you can expect during quarantine:

Additional Australian Government Resources

Students’ Role

We’re all working through this together. If you have any questions or want to discuss anything, please feel free to reach out to our team. We encourage you to stay in touch to stay informed.

We also encourage you to consider online learning. There are pros (yes, pros!) and cons to starting online. Talk to an OzTREKK admissions officer about whether this is right for you. We want you to be successful in your degree.

Check out these articles from OzTREKK students currently studying online:

Important: Whenever borders open, we are expecting Australia to require any entrants to be double-vaccinated. As the vaccination process can take a few months, we strongly encourage any student who is thinking about studying in Australia to start their vaccination process and plan in advance.

FAQs

Of course everyone has questions, and our goal is to answer as many as we can here. Please check regularly as we update often.

If you don’t see your question, please email info@oztrekk.com.

If my program is on hiatus, can I take classes at other universities?

If you have to take a leave of absence from your program because you can’t return to Australia, OzTREKK recommends that you do not undertake additional studies from other universities. Your Australian university may request to assess those courses before you recommence.

We’ve reached out to our university partners regarding this, and we’ll post more information once we receive it.

Updated: September 30, 2021

Why isn’t my university offering any/all components online?

All universities are doing their best right now to structure everything in a way that meets requirements. Professors and all supporting staff are working beyond their normal working hours to make online studies as suitable for students as they can be. In instances where a high level of instruction is not possible online, universities have made the difficult decision to forego online studies even though this means that numerous high-quality and competitive international students will be unable to enroll at this time.

Updated: September 30, 2021

How do online studies work?

Online studies will differ by university and by program. We recommend that you enroll in your courses as early as possible, so that you may secure course times that work well with your North American time zone.

Please keep in mind that there will be some tutorials and sessions that require group work, and these could be in the middle of the night. You’ll need to go into this prepared to study at odd hours, and to adjust your schedule and sleep patterns accordingly.

Updated: September 30, 2021

Will online studies be continued during mandatory quarantine?

Your university will be supportive during your quarantine period, and should provide you with a faculty-level contact who can support your transition from online studies to in person.

Updated: September 30, 2021

Do I have to apply for my visa right now?

Yes! If your program would typically be offered on campus (in Australia), but you are studying online due to the pandemic, you are still required to apply for your Australian student visa. You will need to obtain this before your program start date listed on your confirmation of enrollment (CoE).

Should the Australian borders open or a travel exemption be granted, having your Australian student visa already approved will be one important item checked off your to-do list before you get ready to travel to Australia.

We recommend that you apply for your Australian student visa once you are 100% confident you want to attend the institution you’ve accepted (see Release Policy) and it is within 3 months prior to your program start date.

Questions?
Students in Canada or the U.S. who have questions about Australian student visas can phone the Global Service Centre in Australia at +61 2 6196 0196 (international call cost will apply). Office hours: Monday to Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Eastern time).

Please note that OzTREKK cannot answer specific questions regarding your student visa as we are not registered with the Australian Government as an official migration agent.

Updated: September 30, 2021

How will studying online affect things like clinical components, program requirements, and licensing?”

How mandatory program components are affected is dependent on your program/university, when borders open, and your ability to gain entry into Australia. With the pandemic continuously putting a spin on things, universities and licensing bodies are regularly looking at the situation at hand and working to overcome any hurdles.

If a university does not feel that a program can properly operate and/or meet program requirements through online learning, they will restrict international students (outside Australia) from starting unless a travel exemption has been granted.

Clinical Components
Some programs contain hands-on clinical components that must be completed to meet program requirements (for graduation) and/or licensing requirements (for entry into the profession).

If you commence your studies online and are unable to get to Australia for the foreseeable future, it is possible that you may not finish your clinical components on time to graduate. You may need to pause your studies until you are able to continue in person, or, where some clinical hours have been obtained, you may need to extend your course.

Cost and structure will vary by university and program; however, it is likely that you will be charged per additional course block, and of course any additional living expenses and OSHC for the duration of your remaining studies.

It is your responsibility to be aware of the program components and hours needed to meet licensing standards, and we encourage you to stay in close communication with your university and licensing authority as your studies progress.

Once your studies commence, you must contact you program coordinator directly to discuss clinical placement details. If you’re having difficulty, please let your OzTREKK admissions officer know and they can follow up with your university.

Updated: September 30, 2021

What do I do when borders open? How do I navigate flights, quarantine, and accommodation?

Please note that OzTREKK will provide detailed predeparture (flights, accommodation, student visaa, transferring money, etc.) advice and resources once you are ready to commence this part of the process. Below is a short summary.  

Flights
You should prepare to get to Australia promptly after borders reopen. It will be your responsibility to book your flights, so please make yourself familiar with the flights available from week to week moving forward. Commercial flight availability to and from Australia is currently very limited, and this is likely to continue into 2022. Even passengers with tickets are not guaranteed to travel and delays and cancellations have been reported.

Quarantine
Should you be approved for a travel exemption, you will be required to complete a 14-day government-arranged quarantine upon entering Australia. Each Australian state manages its own quarantine program.

Contact the state or territory health department for more information about their quarantine requirements. The following sites also provide more information about what you can expect during quarantine:

Accommodation
Once your quarantine is over, you can look at the real estate market (the same as you would in a normal year). Most students book temporary accommodation when they arrive (hotel/airbnb/hostel, etc.) while they set up appointments to look at apartments/shared/private housing.

If you’re considering on-campus or managed accommodation, you can apply before you get to Australia.

Please make sure that you’re familiar with the refund policy and have read all the fine print before booking and paying, as it’s highly likely that you will not be able to arrive on the agreed upon move-in date.

Once you commence the predeparture stage of the process, OzTREKK will provide you with detailed resources outlining how you can secure accommodation.  And of course, you’ll be invited to our accommodation webinars!

Updated: September 30, 2021

I am supposed to start my program in semester 1, 2022. What should I do if borders do not open?

Important: This FAQ has not yet been updated. We are still waiting on a few of our university partners to confirm their plans for the 2022 intake. Please check back often.

As the situation is everchanging, we are unsure of what it will look like for your 2021 study plans. There is currently a travel ban prohibiting non-residents (including students with Visas) from entering Australia.

Several adjustments have been made across our Universities in order to best support students in their study planning. Some programs are allowing students to commence their studies online, while other programs will not be able to support online studies, meaning students may need to defer studies should borders not open in time for program commencement. Here is what we know so far:

Medicine

UNIVERSITY Will my program be offered online if borders do not open in time for semester 1 commencement? What about deferrals?
Deakin University Online studies for first semester; second semester under review
Flinders University Yes
Griffith University BSc: Online with transition to Australia ASAP. Must be in Australia for MD portion
MD: First year online, will need to complete components in person once onshore; second year must be onshore
James Cook University Unable to start online; must arrive by March 31, 2021. Students can defer to 2022.
Macquarie University Unable to start online. Students can defer to 2022.
Monash University First year online
University of Melbourne Yes, as long as travel is not permitted. Students should make a decision about deferral by offer lapse date. The university cannot guarantee that late applications for deferral will be considered unless there are extraordinary circumstances outside of COVID.
University of Queensland Online studies for first semester. Deferrals not allowed
University of Sydney Unable to start online
University of Western Australia Unable to start online. Students may defer to 2022.

Updated: November 27, 2020

 

Dentistry

UNIVERSITY Will my program be offered online if borders do not open in time for semester 1 commencement? What about deferrals?
Charles Sturt University Yes
Griffith University Yes. Some components cannot be completed online and will need to be completed once students arrive in Australia to study on campus. Students must be in Australia at the commencement of second year.
James Cook University Yes, semester 1 can be completed online
University of Melbourne Online studies not available; must be in person. Anyone impacted by the travel restrictions is eligible for an automatic deferral.
University of Otago Unable to start online. Students may defer to 2022.
University of Queensland Yes
University of Sydney Unable to start online
University of Western Australia Yes

Updated: November 27, 2020

 

Rehabilitation Sciences

UNIVERSITY Will my program be offered online if borders do not open in time for semester 1 commencement? What about deferrals?
  Physiotherapy Occupational Therapy Chiropractic Science Speech Pathology Audiology
Flinders University Yes Yes Yes Yes
Griffith University       Unable to start online; accepting deferrals for 1 year
Macquarie University     Yes Unable to start online University has not made a decision
University of Melbourne Online studies not available; students have until Dec. 4 to request a deferral. If borders open after that,  students can request for a start in 2021 pending available places available.        
University of Queensland Yes. (November 2020 commencement)       Yes
University of Sydney Yes Yes   Yes  

Updated: December 2, 2020

 

Law

UNIVERSITY Will my program be offered online if borders do not open in time for semester 1 commencement? What about deferrals?
Bond University Program available for online delivery. Deferrals also accepted.
Flinders University Students commencing in 2021 who are unable to come to Australia due to the current travel restrictions will be able to commence their course online.
Griffith University Program available for online delivery. Deferrals also accepted.
Monash University Program is available online should restrictions remain in place. Faculty will contact offer students directly to confirm arrangements. Deferrals available.
University of  Melbourne Program available online. Further information will be noted in mid-December as to what this will look like. No deferrals available.
University of Newcastle Program available for online delivery until travel to Australia is permitted. Deferrals also accepted.
University of Sydney Program available online. Some non-essential units may not be available to be studied remotely. Deferral requests can be made.
University of Western Australia Studies will not be online. Students should consider deferral to 2022.

Updated: December 2, 2020

 

Veterinary Medicine

UNIVERSITY Will my program be offered online if borders do not open in time for semester 1 commencement? What about deferrals?
University of Melbourne Yes, for semester 1. Deferrals not approved.
University of Sydney DVM – Yes, for sem 1. Sem 2 must be in country

BVB/DVM – University has not made a decision

University of Queensland Yes

Updated: November 27, 2020

 

Pharmacy/Public Health/Nursing/Optometry/Teacher’s Education

 

University Will my program be offered online if borders do not open in time for semester 1 commencement? What about deferrals?
  Pharmacy Public Health Nursing Optometry Teacher Education
Charles Sturt University University has not made a decision University has not made a decision
Deakin University Yes University has not made a decision Not available online
Flinders University Yes University has not made a decision Available for online delivery
Griffith University Program available for online delivery Yes Yes   Not available online; accepting deferrals for one year
James Cook University Not available online; deferrals accepted Yes University has not made a decision Not available online; accepting deferrals for one year
Macquarie University   Yes   University has not made a decision
Monash University Available online. Students in the undergraduate stream may consider starting the program at Monash Malaysia campus. Yes  
University of Melbourne Yes   University has not made a decision
First semester to be delivered online; details regarding July semester not yet determined
University of Newcastle University has not made a decision Yes      
University of Queensland Program available for online delivery Yes University has not made a decision.   Not available online; accepting deferrals for one year
University of Sydney University has noted that students will be required to attend in-person for 1-2022. In the interim online studies will be available. Yes No, studies must be in person. Students may defer to 2022.   Some units of study not available online; students will be required to be on campus for semester 2
University of Western Australia Yes   University has not made a decision

Updated: January 6, 2021

 

Don’t see commencement plans for your program? Contact meghan@oztrekk.com for more information on whether or not your program will be offered online should borders remain closed.