Graduates plead for extension of work visa

For months, these graduates have pleaded with the federal government to freeze or extend their 485 visas, knowing that the head of the queue to enter the country is reserved for the 46,500 Australians who wish to return home but have been thwarted. by arrival ceilings and limited flights. .

Saad Ahmad, a 25-year-old Pakistani man, said he paid $ 65,000 for an accounting degree from the private college Holmes Institute in Melbourne before obtaining a two-year 485 visa in December 2019, but a few months remaining of his visa home in Pakistan after returning to visit his sick mother in January 2020.

“We’re not saying the government should let us go back to Australia just yet. We understand and respect that the safety of Australians is the number one priority. We are just asking the government to give us at least some relief and extend our visas or just suspend them until the situation improves, ”he said.

“It is getting really painful now to watch my visa run out. We have paid thousands of dollars for our degrees, and after completing them, we get this once in a lifetime opportunity, which is just being wasted, ”Ahmad said.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke this week gave his strongest indication that an announcement was on the horizon.

“I expect we will have an announcement for you by this year,” Mr. Hawke told Sky News. “I am working on this with the Minister of Education and these proposals are materializing well.

Labor MP Julian Hill, a former executive director of international education in the Victorian government before entering the Federal Parliament, said the government had “made a promise to these graduates and we should honor it”.

“The government’s silence is shameful and makes our country look like a bunch of international crooks,” Lee said. “These people had lives here. They had dogs, cats and girlfriends, stuff in the fridge, and we just locked them out without a word of attention.

Phil Honeywood, chief executive of the International Education Association of Australia, said major agencies have been pushing for student visa reform throughout the pandemic months.

“Failure by our nation to deliver on this promise to young people would further damage our reputation as a favorable study destination,” said Mr. Honeywood.

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