How To Apply For A Student And Working Holiday Visa Refund?

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Students want to know if they can get a refund for the visa application charges for students and working holiday makers.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic considerably affected overseas travel to Australia.

 

Many individuals who apply for student or work and holiday visas for Australia cancel their plans due to travel restrictions. This caused financial difficulties for people who had already paid Visa Application Charges to the Government.

 

To address this issue, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared to provide refunds for Visa Application Charges (VACs) to support students and working holidaymakers who suffered financial losses due to the pandemic.

 

This blog discusses the visa fee refund for international students on student or work and holiday visas, the significance of the Government's support, and how to apply for a visa refund in Australia.

 

 

1. What Is The Refund Policy For International Students In Australia?

 

The Australian Government announced that it would introduce visa refunds and waivers for certain visa holders who could not enter Australia due to the inward travel restriction and those who had to leave Australia due to the pandemic.

 

This Government's measure applies to the following visa holders:

 

  • Visitors

  • Overseas students

  • Seasonal workers

  • Working holidaymakers

  • Temporary skilled workers

  • Prospective partners

 

The above categories of visa holders can request a VAC refund/waiver if:

 

  • Their name matches the 'payer' on their original VAC receipt.

  • They must have arrived in Australia on that visa between January 19, 2022, and March 19, 2022.

 

Student and working holiday visa holders who meet the eligibility criteria will receive a refund of the first instalment of the Visa Application Charge paid for that visa.

 

 

2. What Is The Government's Objective Behind Visa The Refund Initiative?

 

By introducing this positive measure, the Government aims to incentivize fully vaccinated Student and Working Holiday Maker visa holders to return to Australia quickly and help address economic recovery and current workforce shortages caused by COVID 19.

 

The provision of refunds and "on-priority" visa processing will create new interest in Australia and new visa applications for existing offshore visa holders to bring forward their travel.

 

The focus is to build back healthy pipelines of Working Holiday Makers and process these visas quickly. As the country opens for business, there is a surge in demand from overseas students, skilled migrants, and backpackers to Australia.

 

Visit the official immigration website for more details about other VAC refund provisions. To check your visa details and conditions, click here.

 

 

3. Is The Australian Student Visa Fee Refundable?

 

Yes. Fully vaccinated international student visa holders who arrived in Australia between January 19, 2022, and March 19, 2022, will receive a refund for their student visa application charges (VAC).

 

The Government will waive the application fee for the student visa and allow students to submit another student visa application if they held a student visa on or after February 1, 2020, and failed to complete their course within the validity of the original visa due to the pandemic impact.

 

Reasons that verify a student to be Covid 19 impacted are:

 

  • If your studies got delayed as you could not enter Australia due to border closures

  • If you were forced to lessen your study load from full-time to part-time

  • If you were not able to complete your work-based placements or training.

 

Students who are applying for a new student visa due to ordinary reasons such as failing a course or a unit of study, or reduced the study load voluntarily, or due to personal reasons are NOT eligible for a visa fee refund.

 

Eligible students who require a further Student visa to finish their studies or to remain in Australia would not have to pay for their following Student Visa.

 

To be able to apply for a fee waiver or visa fee refund for international students, COVID-19-Impacted students must apply for a student visa and attach a duly filled Form 1545 (received from their education provider) with the application.

 

 

4. Can International Students Claim A Refund?

 

Yes. The Government of Australia is offering a refund for visa application charges to fully vaccinated international student visa holders if they have arrived in Australia between January 19, 2022, and March 19, 2022.

 

Both existing visa holders and new students who have arrived in Australia within the above period are eligible for a refund.

 

This Government's initiative aims to support overseas students and graduates to help them keep living, studying, and working in the country. You must file a claim on the government website to get a student visa refund due to COVID.

 

Students must meet a few eligibility criteria to get a refund for their visa application charge paid for that visa. These include:

 

  • If you hold a valid Student visa (subclasses 500, 560, 570, 571, 572, 573, 574, or 575),

  • You arrived in Australia on that visa between January 19, 2022, and March 19, 2022.

 

Eligible students must visit the Home Affairs Visa Refund Portal to apply online for a visa refund and can lodge a claim up to December 31, 2022.

 

 

5. Can I Get A Refund For Working Holiday Visa?

 

Under the launch of a Visa Application Charge refund for eligible travellers, the Australian Government promises to refund travel visas for fully vaccinated Working Holiday Makers (subclasses 417 or 462) if they arrive between January 19, 2022, and April 19, 2022.

 

Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister of Australia, explains this move as "a thank you for returning and continuing to choose Australia." It encourages working holidaymakers to return to Australia to begin their studies and support the country's economic recovery.

 

Young people can now work for up to a year in any sector in any Australian state and territory except Western Australia, which is still under a strict lockdown.

 

Eligibility conditions for Working Holiday Makers to receive a VAC refund concerning that visa if:

 

  • You possess a valid Working Holiday or Work and Holiday visa (subclasses 417 or 462), and

  • You arrived in Australia on that visa between January 19, 2022, and April 19, 2022. 

 

Visit the official Visa Refund Portal to check your eligibility and file a claim.

 

 

6. How To Apply For A Student or Working Holiday Visa Refund?

 

If you are a Student or Working Holiday visa holder, follow the below steps to apply for a refund:
 

 

Step 1: Check the Eligibility Criteria Before You File A Claim

 

 

Student Visa Holders:

 

  • Have a valid Student visa (subclasses 500, 560, 570, 571, 572, 573, 574, or 575),

  • You must have arrived in Australia on that visa between January 19, 2022, and March 19, 2022.

 

 

Working Holiday Visa Holders:

 

  • Possess a valid Working Holiday or Work and Holiday visa (subclasses 417 or 462) and

  • You must have arrived in Australia on that visa between January 19, 2022, and April 19, 2022.

 

 

Step 2: Complete The Necessary Documentation.

 

Keep the following documents handy when filing a claim request:

 

  • Passport details.

  • Transaction Reference Number of the application for which you claim the refund.  

  • Bank account or credit card details.  

 

 

Step 3: Create an Account on The VISA Refund Portal

 

Let's begin with the actual claim filing process. Create an account on the Department of Home Affairs' VISA Refund Portal by providing the below information:

 

  • First Name

  • Last Name

  • Password

  • Email account

  • Password

 

Once created, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to your registered email Id. Click on the link to validate your email.

 

Once your account is up and active, log in to the account with your credentials and find the instructions to file a VAC refund claim. On this page, you can also check your eligibility for a visa refund and read helpful articles on the claim process.

 

 

Step 4: File Your Refund Claim

 

After logging into your account, you will land on the page "Visa application charge refunds for students and working holiday makers."

 

Scroll down the page while reading the content and click "Submit New Request." It will open a new page titled "Visa Refund page." You will be asked to submit the following details:

 

  • Transaction Reference Number

  • Visa Subclass

  • Application Id

  • Date of Entry

  • Given Name

  • Family Name

  • Birth Date

  • Passport Number

  • Passport Country

  • Contact Number

  • Email Address

  • Bank account details

  • Did you pay for your visa?

 

After entering the above details, agree to the terms and conditions and click submit.

 

It completes the claim filing process. You will receive an email on your registered email Id confirming the receipt of the application by the Department of Home Affairs.

 

As refunds are not released immediately, you will have to wait a few days to obtain the outcome of your visa application. If approved, you will receive the refund in your nominated account/credit card. However, in the case of refusal, you can request a review within 21 days of the application outcome.

 

 

7. What Is The VAC Refund For Students And Working Holiday Makers?

 

 

For Working Holiday Maker Visa Holders

 

Those presently offshore and coming to Australia during the next twelve weeks are eligible for a VAC refund.

 

 

For Student Visa Holders

 

Those presently offshore and coming to Australia over the next eight weeks are eligible for a VAC refund.

 

The current VAC for a student is AUD 650, and for a Working Holiday Maker, it is AUD 510. As per the new rules, you can get it fully refunded if you arrive before April 19, 2022.

 

 

8. Do I Get A Refund If My Student Visa Is Refused?

 

You pay a visa application charge (VAC), so the Government can evaluate your application. You cannot get a student visa refund in Australia in 2022 because your claim application was refused or unsuccessful.

 

Usually, a VAC is refunded only in specific cases, including when:

 

  • The nomination or sponsorship was not successful.

  • The Department made an error.

  • The applicant has died.

  • The application was unnecessary at the time it was made.

  • If the applicant made an application by mistake.

 

 

9. What Happens If I Cancel My Student Visa In Australia?

 

Suppose you cancel your Student visa in Australia. In that case, you may only be eligible for lodging another visa application once a certain period has passed.

 

If you cancel your student visa after paying the VAC, then you will not be eligible for a refund of the VAC. However, if you haven't paid the VAC for your student visa, you will not need to pay if you cancel your visa application.

 

However, Visa rules and requirements in Australia can vary based on your circumstances and the type of visa involved. You should seek advice from the Australian Department of Home Affairs for detailed information.

 

 

10. How Long Does It Take For A Visa Refund?

 

There is no standard timeframe to process a refund request as each visa refund request is evaluated individually under the relevant legal authority or admin rules.

 

 

11. What Happens If I Don't Use My Working Holiday Visa In Australia?

 

You may not be entitled to a VAC refund if you have been granted a working holiday visa but have yet to use it. Once you obtain a visa, the visa application charge is non-refundable.

 

However, according to the latest VAC refund guideline for working holiday visas (WHM), you can only receive the refund if you hold visa 417 or 462 and satisfy All the below conditions to receive a refund:

 

  • You received a WHM visa before March 20, 2020

  • Your visa expired between March 20, 2020, and December 31, 2021, while you were out of Australia.

  • While Australia's overseas travel restrictions were in place, you could not enter Australia on that visa or enter Australia on that visa but leave before your visa expires.

  • You have not filed a replacement WHM visa application. 

  • You fail to meet the age band for another WHM visa.

 

 

12. Can I Get A Refund On Working Holiday Visa 417?

 

Refunds and waivers are available for existing WHV holders who left Australia due to COVID-19 or cannot enter Australia due to border closures.

 

 

Individuals Who Left The Country Earlier Due To The COVID-19

 

Travellers who fall into this category will be eligible for a refund or a waiver.

 

 

In The Vase of a Waiver:

 

WHV holders can apply for the same visa for free if they decide to return to Australia. There is no time constraint that the WHV holder must have stayed in Australia before leaving to be eligible to apply for a waiver or refund.

 

However, you are not eligible for a refund if you left before the start of the pandemic. You must have left the country due to Covid 19 to apply for a VAC waiver or refund.

 

 

In The Case of a Refund:

 

Suppose you have passed the age limit for a WHM visa and are not eligible to further apply for a WHM visa. In that case, you will be able to receive a refund instead. You must be 18 to 30 years old (inclusive) to apply for a WHM visa, except for French, Irish, and Canadian citizens up to 35 (inclusive).

 

All eligible WHM visa holders can apply for a refund on the government website.

 

 

Individuals Who Could Not Enter The Country Due To COVID-19

 

WHM makers in this category can file a new application free of charge. If they are within the age limit of applying for a new WHM visa, they can apply for a new visa for free or will get a refund if they have exceeded it.

 

As the Government has not extended the age limit, visa holders cannot apply for a new visa but will get a VAC refund.

 

All WHV holders must meet the following requirements to request a refund.

 

  • You received a WHM visa before March 20, 2020

  • During overseas travel restrictions in Australia, you cannot enter Australia on that visa or arrive in Australia on that visa. Still, you can leave before your visa expires.

  • Your visa expired between March 20, 2020, and December 31, 2021, while you were out of Australia,

  • You have not applied for a replacement WHM visa. 

  • You exceed the age requirement for a new WHM visa.

 

Note: You must be outside Australia, and your visa must be ceased to request a refund.

 

 

13. How Do I Get A Refund On My Australian Visa?

 

Eligible visa holders must create an account and log in to the Visa Refund Portal to make a claim.

 

Do not hurry to lodge a claim, as you can do it up to December 31, 2022, provided that:

 

  • You hold a student or Work and Holiday/ Working Holiday visa

  • Paid the VAC

  • Not claimed a refund or a waiver before, and

  • Arrived on that visa within the stated time bracket.

 

You must complete the Students and WHM refunds form? to make a claim. Before filing a claim, arrange the below acceptable identity verification documents, such as:

 

  • Name, 

  • Date of birth

  • Passport details

  • Transaction Reference Number of the application for which you claim the refund.  

  • Bank account or credit card details. 

 

Only file one refund claim for the same eligible visa. Once you lodge a claim request, your application will get assessed and verified so that the right person receives the refund.

 

You will not get a student visa fee refund right after submitting a claim request. The time required to process the claim will vary for each visa holder as each refund is processed based on the individual circumstances of the visa holder.

 

Nominating an Australian bank account or a valid credit card for refund credit is preferred over an international money transfer to get the refund faster.

 

The Department will contact the applicant if it needs additional information or to intimate about the refund payment.

 

For the latest and more detailed information on VAC refunds, visit the Australian Government's Department of Home Affairs website here.

 

 

14. Conclusion

 

The availability of VAC refunds is an excellent relief for international students and working holidaymakers who have faced financial hardships during these challenging times.

 

This positive move by the Australian Government will bring much-needed financial relief to these groups adversely impacted by the pandemic.

 

Though the visa refund process is straightforward, applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for a refund and provide the essential documentation to support the claim.

 

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