Students “in limbo” during two-year wait for Australia visas

These students say they are “in limbo” as Australia’s Department of Home Affairs, which oversees immigration, refuses to provide a clear timeline of when students can expect to hear the outcome of their applications.

Alokita, an Indian student, received an offer to study aerospace engineering at UNSW Canberra in September 2020 and was due to begin her PhD in February 2021. Her visa has been “under assessment” since she submitted the application at the beginning of October 2020 and she says when she asks for updates from the DHA, she only ever receives “generic” responses.

Alokita says the university has been “very supportive” and has already let her defer her place five times due to the delay, but it will not allow any further deferments – if her visa is not accepted by June, she will lose her scholarship and PhD place.

“Every day I wake up in a hope to get a conclusion, a direction, and a fixed course of action but every day I am faced with the same uncertainties,” Alokita said, adding that the last two years have been “filled with insane amounts of stress”.

UNSW Canberra did not respond to requests for comment.

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