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Latest study abroad updates (COVID-19)

IDP will always be there to help you realise your dreams. We are in this together.

We understand these are trying times and so we’re making all efforts to make sure you keep updated with all the latest information about your favourite study destinations.

Australia | The UK | Canada | New Zealand|Ireland


  1. Australia begins vaccination drive – Prime Minister Scott Morrison is one of the first Australians to receive the coronavirus vaccine alongside a small group of aged care residents and staff and frontline pandemic workers. Also, the authorities target to vaccinate all the people in the country by October. (As on February 22, 2021; source: Business Standard

  2. Australia has received its first COVID-19 vaccine shipment — with frontline workers set to begin getting shots as early as next week. (As on February 15, 2021; source: Business Insider

  3. The first 140,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Australia, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced today. After testing, the rollout of the vaccine is tipped to begin as soon as Monday next week. (As on February 15, 2021; source: Business Insider)

  4. The COVID-19 vaccination will be free for all Medicare-eligible Australians and all visa-holders, including student visa holders (subclass 500). (As on January 27, 2021; source: Australian COVID-19 vaccination policy)

  5. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has granted provisional approval to Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd for its COVID-19 vaccine- Comirnaty, making it the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive regulatory approval in Australia. (As on January 25; source: Australian Government)

  6. As per the announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a COVID-19 vaccine rollout is being brought forward to mid to late February. (As on Jan 7; source: The Canberra Times)

  7. As per the announcement, the Victorian Government is working closely with the Federal Government and the sector to welcome international students back to Victoria from early 2021. (Source: International education short-term recovery plan 2020-21 report)

  8. The Australian Government has invested more than $3.3 billion in five separate agreements to strengthen the country's healthcare position and provide access to safe and effective vaccines when they become available. (As on November 26; source: Australian Government)

  9. The five agreements include investments in the vaccines developed by the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca, University of Queensland/CSL, Novavax, Pfizer/BioNTech and for the setup of COVAX Facility. (As on November 26; source: Australian Government)

  10. Up till now an international student needed to be present onshore for 16 months to be eligible for PSW. However, now authorities have permitted online studies, as long as the student holds a student visa and meeting other conditions.*

  11. The government has provided a Visa Application Charges (VAC) free visa for those who already hold a student visa and could not complete their current study in time. A NIL VAC is available to students who held a student visa on or after 1 February 2020 but couldn’t complete their course within their original visa validity due to the impacts of COVID-19.*

  12. For studies to be counted towards Post Study Work visa eligibility, the Australian Study requirements (ASR) requires a student to study a CRICOS-registered course. International students must successfully complete all course requirements as a result of at least two academic years (92 weeks) study to be eligible for a visa.*

  13. The Government will recommence granting student visas in all locations lodged outside Australia. This means when borders re-open, students will already have visas and be able to make arrangements to travel. (As on July 23)

  14. International students will be able to lodge a further student visa application free of charge if they are unable to complete their studies within their original visa validity due to COVID-19. (As on July 23)

  15. Current student visa holders studying online outside Australia due to COVID-19 will be able to use that study to count towards the Australian study requirement for a post-study work visa. (As on July 23)

  16. Graduates who held a student visa will be eligible to apply for a post-study work visa outside Australia if they are unable to return due to COVID-19. (As on July 23)

  17. Additional time will be given for applicants to provide English language results where COVID-19 has disrupted access to these services. (As on July 23)

  18. According to the ESOS framework, educational institutions are bound to support international students by providing information and services concerning their wellbeing during their stay (As on June 10; source:

  19. International students could be allowed back into Australia as early as July with the federal government confirming it will consider an exemption to the travel ban.

  20. The prime minister has released a three-stage "road map" to guide Australia out of coronavirus shutdowns. Issues of international students come into the third step of the plan.

    1. There has been a steady and so far, sustained decline in COVID-19 cases following a peak in cases at the end of March.

    2. Australian universities processing applications for July 2020 and future intakes. (As on May 10)

    3. International students must obey travel and visa bans during the lockdown period. Students can apply for a visa once travel bans are lifted. (As on May 10)

    4. In the next 9 months, there will be 3 Intakes available in Australia, i.e. July 20, Nov 20 (in select universities/institutions) and Feb 21.

    5. Be prepared and enroll on time, commence your classed online and once travel bans are lifted, you can travel to Australia to resume your course physically on campus.

    6. The campuses are expected to open soon but for international students, classes will be conducted online considering travel and visa bans. (As on May 10)

    7. 8 stage process to be followed for admission into an Australian university; the first 4 stages are available to be complied to remotely. (As on May 10)

    8. Schools, beaches, parks, malls and offices are slowing opening in Australia. (As on May 10)

    9. Australian institutions have established independent emergency monetary funds, hardship allowances to help international students. Till date, they have committed over AUD 110 million to assist students.

    10. State agencies and Govt. coming up with student financial grants and packages as well.

    11. International students who’ve been in Australia for more than 12 months will be able to access their Australian superannuation. (As on Apr 22)

    12. The Australian Govt. will increase flexibility for a number of regulations to make it easier for international students to continue their studies. (As on Apr 22)

    13. Flexibility in cases where COVID-19 has prevented international students from meeting the visa conditions. (As on Apr 22)

    14. International students working in aged care and as nurses have had their hours extended to support these critical sectors. (As on Apr 22)

Important updates on Australia by experts


  1. Studies completed outside Canada up to December 31, 2021, will count towards a future PGWP, and international students are now allowed to complete their entire program online from abroad and still be eligible for a PGWP. (As on February 12; source: Government of Canada)

  2. These temporary changes apply to all international students who are enrolled in a PGWP-eligible program and meet all other PGWP criteria. (As on February 12; source: Government of Canada)

  3. Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, and Air Transat are suspending all flights to “sun” destinations such as the Caribbean w.e.f January 31. Besides, these measures will be in place until April 30. (As on February 4; source: CIC News

  4. Starting next week, all international flights can only land in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto. (As on February 4; source: CIC News

  5. Incoming air travellers will need to take COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test upon arrival and will need to stay in a hotel designated by the federal government at their own expense for three days while awaiting test results. (As on February 4; source: CIC News

  6. If the test result is negative, international travellers will then need to quarantine at home for a total quarantine period of 14 days (three days at the hotel plus eleven days at home). Those who report a positive test result will need to stay at a designated government facility. (As on February 4; source: CIC News

  7. Travel to Canada from the US and other countries has been regulated since March and is subject to monthly extensions. The current bans on foreign and U.S. non-essential travel are in effect until at least February 21, 2021. (As on February 4; source: CIC News

  8. A number of people are exempted from these travel restrictions, such as Canadian citizens, permanent residents, certain temporary foreign workers, certain international students, or immediate and extended family members of Canadians, among others. (As on February 4; source: CIC News

  9. If you apply to extend your work permit before it expires, you can legally stay in Canada until a decision is made on your application. (As on December 31; source: Government of Canada)

  10. Students can enter Canada if their DLI has an approved COVID-19 readiness plan in place, this change to travel restrictions affects all international students regardless of where they are travelling from or when their study permit was approved. (As on October 22; source: IRCC)

  11. Any student with a valid visa can travel to Canada provided their institution is approved with COVID-19 readiness plan. (As on October 22; source: IRCC)

  12. Online visa application can be submitted till January 31; however, the processing might take more than the normal time due to shortage of staff. (As on October 22; source: IRCC)

  13. VFS will remain closed till the end of October*; However, VFS will provide a back-office service for passport submission. (As on October 22; source: IRCC)

  14. Approval in Principle Policy will only be applied to applications received before September 15, 2020, as a start date, and for which a visa has not been issued as of March 18th. (As on October 22; source: IRCC)

  15. Students are still eligible for a work permit if they can’t travel to Canada and their study permit is approved, applied for a study permit before starting the program in 2020 or applied for a study permit before beginning the program in Jan 2021 semester (As on October 22; source: IRCC)

  16. As part of Upon Arrival Conditions, an international student should have their quarantine plan ready for 14 days at a suitable place and will be required to undertake a health check the port of entry (As on October 22; source: IRCC)

  17. All the Canadian learning institutions whose COVID-19 readiness plans have been approved by their provincial or territorial government will soon be able to welcome their international students back to their schools. (As on Oct 2; source: Government of Canada)

  18. W.e.f from October 20, amended travel restrictions will come into action that will allow international students to enter Canada if their designated learning institution (DLI) has an approved COVID-19 readiness plan in place approved by their provincial or territorial government. (As on Oct 2; source: Government of Canada)

  19. As part of the readiness plans, DLIs are expected to provide specifics to their provincial or territorial government specifying the steps that will be taken to provide essential information to international students on health and travel requirements prior to their arrival in Canada. (As on Oct 2; source: Government of Canada)

  20. The plan should also cover the help to be extended to students with regards to their quarantine plans and guiding/ assisting them in acquiring the basic essentials, such as food and medication, during their quarantine. (As on Oct 2; source: Government of Canada)

    1. Further, readiness plans must establish protocols with an aim to safeguard the health of students in case they are suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases at the school. (As on Oct 2; source: Government of Canada)

    2. The amended travel restrictions will affect all international students, irrespective of their origin of travel or the date when study permit was approved (As on Oct 2; source: Government of Canada)

    3. International students are advised not to initiate any travel plans until they have met all requirements and received all the necessary authorisations. (As on Oct 2; source: Government of Canada)

    4. The travel of asymptomatic international students with all the necessary documents to enter Canada and whose DLI is on the list of institutions with approved COVID-19 readiness plans in place will be considered to be non-discretionary and non-optional, unless there is evidence that clearly exhibits the purpose of travel to Canada is for a discretionary or optional purpose, such as tourism. (As on Oct 2; source: Government of Canada)

    5. As per the amended travel restrictions, immediate family members may be able to accompany an international student to Canada if the reason for travel is non-optional or non-discretionary, such as getting established in Canada in support of the principal applicant’s study program, including the mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon arrival in Canada. (As on Oct 2; source: Government of Canada)

    6. International students can now study online from abroad until April 30, 2021, with no time deducted from the length of a future post-graduation work permit, provided 50% of their program of study is eventually completed in Canada. (As on August 26)

    7. International students who have enrolled in a program that is between 8-12 months in length with a start-date from May to September 2020 will be able to complete their entire program online from abroad and still be eligible for a post-graduation work permit. (As on August 26)

    8. International students who enroll in a program with a start-date from May-September 2020 will be able to study online up to April 30, 2021 and who graduate from more than one eligible program of study may be able to combine the length of their programs of study when they apply for a PWGP in the future. (As on August 26)

    9. Students can apply for a PWGP in the future in this case as long as 50% of their total studies are completed in Canada. (As on August 26)

    10. To be eligible for these measures, students must submit a study permit application no later than September 15, 2020 for programs with a fall start date. (As on August 26)

    11. IRCC will process study permits on priority basis for international students who have submitted a completed application online. (As on July 14)

    12. IRCC to introduce a temporary two-stage approval process for international students who are unable to submit a complete study permit application but are willing to begin their education program online with a Canadian institution. The process is open to those students who plan to start their program during this fall intake and will submit their study permit application by September 15, 2020 (As on July 14)

    13. Meanwhile, IRCC is also enabling international students to begin their studies online with a Canadian institution while they are still abroad. This time will be counted towards their Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) eligibility provided they have submitted their study permit application and if at least 50 per cent of the course is completed in Canada. (As on July 14)

    14. The Canadian government has enforced a mandatory 14-day quarantine plan for all incoming travellers. In the absence of a suitable quarantine plan, they will be referred to a public health agency staff member. Post this they can be sent to a government-approved facility to fulfil the quarantine requirement to obtain the permission to cross the border. (As on July 12)

    15. Incomplete applications will not be rejected if submitted within 90 days and they should include an explanatory note specifying circumstances beyond control, letters of support by DLIs and/or any accompanying documentation. (As on June 5; source: IRCC)

    16. IRCC continues to process study permit applications but at limited capacity, also incomplete applications might lead to delay in processing. (As on June 5; source: IRCC)

    17. International students whose study permit is approved after March 18 will not be able to enter Canada and obtain their study permit at a Port of Entry as they are not exempt from the current travel restrictions related to COVID-19. (As on June 5; source: IRCC)

    18. IRCC is developing guidelines for applicants outside Canada whose enrollment has been deferred to September. (As on June 5; source: IRCC)

    19. The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) eligibility will not affect international students who are approved for a study permit and taking online classes to begin their spring, summer or fall session 2020. (As on June 5; source: IRCC)

    20. International students can complete up to 50% of their program via distance learning. Also, this time will not be deducted from the length of a future post-graduation work permit for studies completed outside of Canada, up to December 31, 2020. (As on June 5; source: IRCC)

    21. A study permit is not required to start and complete programs of study outside of Canada, however, this time would not be counted towards Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) eligibility or the length of the PGWP issued. (As on June 5; source: IRCC)

    22. The following foreign nationals who are currently outside Canada are exempt from travel restrictions i.e., can travel if the purpose is non-optional or non-discretionary:

      a)  Who holds a valid Canadian study permit as defined in section 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations

      b)  Who has received a letter of introduction from IRCC dated on or before March 18, 2020

    23. As per revised guidelines, proof of health insurance is not a requirement for study permit applications and there is no such expectation that students provide proof of coverage upon arrival at a port of entry. (As on June 5; source: IRCC)

    24. IRCC is monitoring the evolution of travel restrictions and working closely with CBSA colleagues to draft guidelines for the arrival of international students. (As on June 5; Source: IRCC)

    25. As per the announcement of the Ontario government, return to on-campus instruction across a range of college programs will begin in July. For now, online learning sessions will continue for programs without hands-on components. (As on June 10)

    26. The Canadian government has imposed travel restrictions on people who are not from Canadian origin and will continue till June 30. (As on Mar 25)

    27. People who can travel are the ones who’ve received their visas on or before May 18. (As on Mar 25)

    28. For the cancelled may intake, there is an option to defer the May intake to the next available intake. (As on Apr 21)

    29. Applications for September intake are open for Colleges and Universities. (As on Apr 21)

    30. All Canadian institutions working virtually to support international students and issuing conditional/unconditional admission letters to eligible students. (As on Apr 21)

    31. If any student is unable to make fee payment due to lockdown, Institutions are being flexible and offering an extension for fee payment. (As on Apr 21)

    32. Some institutions are offering May intake as a virtual intake through online classes. (As on Apr 21)

    33. IRCC – students who opt for online classes for SEM 1 (starting in May or June) will be eligible for PSW as before. (As on Apr 21)

    34. Most universities have extended application deadlines. (As on Apr 21)

    35. Most Institutions are accepting conditional applications – basis without IELTS scores or final semester’s mark sheet. Conditional offers are being issued as of now. (As on Apr 21)

    36. Many colleges are also providing an application fee waiver. (As on Apr 21)

    37. Canadian High Commission accepting and processing online visa applications with a timeline of 60-90 days’ timeline for biometric. (As on Apr 21)

    38. Applications are also open for January 2021 intake. (As on Apr 21) 

New Zealand

  1. Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao (ENZ) welcomes the minister's announcement allowing border exceptions for up to 1,000 bachelors degree-level (or higher) international students to return to complete their study, saying it signals New Zealand’s commitment to international education. (As on January 13; source: ENZ Government)

  2. To be eligible students must hold or have held a valid visa to study in 2020 and have studied in New Zealand in 2019 or 2020 towards their current qualification and be returning to complete their study with their current provider. (As on January 13; source: ENZ Government)

  3. The Government announced that a new border exception category will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies. (As on October 12; source: Education New Zealand)

  4. Students who are outside New Zealand can study online without a visa. When New Zealand’s border restrictions are lifted, you can provide evidence of your online study to support your visa application (source: Immigration New Zealand)

  5. If you choose to study online in your home country first, you will still need to meet standard student visa requirements to be granted a student visa. These requirements include being a genuine student, having sufficient funds for maintenance, and being of good health and character (source: Immigration New Zealand)

  6. If you choose to study online in your home country first you will still need to meet the requirement to study in New Zealand to be eligible for a post-study work visa (source: Immigration New Zealand)

  7. From 10 August 2020, Immigration New Zealand has temporarily suspended applications for temporary visas, including student visas, from outside New Zealand for 3 months (source: Immigration New Zealand)

  8. New Zealand’s Minister of Education announced a long-term recovery plan for the international education sector, it includes a $51.6 million investment from the COVID-19 recovery and response fund to help reset New Zealand’s international education sector. (As on July 27; source: Education New Zealand)

  9. The Plan consists of three concurrent workstreams that focus on stabilising the international education sector, strengthening the system, and accelerating the transformation of the sector as signalled in the 2018 International Education Strategy. (As on July 27; source: Education New Zealand)

  10. Many institutions waiving off LOR and English proficiency test scores for issuing conditional offer letters. But many institutions and universities have started accepting IELTS Indicators and other online proficiency tests for issuing unconditional offer letter. (As on Apr 3)

  11. Immigration NZ issued a notice for the period April 2- June 25 – all temporary class visas to be extended where holders are still in New Zealand. (As on Apr 3)

  12. Visa holders with visa renewal date between April 2- July 9 have an extension till Sep 25, 2020. (As on Apr 3)

  13. If a student has opted to defer their intake till later 2020 or start of 2021 then your counsellor should intimate Immigration NZ as your file will be updated with the latest info. (As on Apr 3)

  14. Most institutions in New Zealand are offering online classes and zoom calls with a schedule at par with the semester schedule. (As on Apr 3)

  15. Students can begin semesters online if stuck in travel bans and apply for visas when the ban is lifted. (As on Apr 3)

  16. If students do not opt for online sessions, universities will issue a deferred offer letter. (As on Apr 3)


The UK

  1. UK medicines regulator authorises first COVID-19 vaccine. (As on December 2; source: UK Government

  2. Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine meets the regulator’s strict standards of safety, efficacy and quality. (As on December 2; source: UK Government

  3. The vaccine to be made available across the UK to priority groups from next week. (As on December 2; source: UK Government

  4. International students are eligible for post-study work rights after graduation, even if they opt to take online classes to begin their 2021 academic session.(As on June 16; source:

  5. The UK Home Office confirms that international students who are currently studying by distance/blended learning will be eligible to access the graduate immigration route, provided they should be in the UK by April 6, 2021 and complete their final semester there. (As on June 16)

  6. Students stuck in the UK on expired visas will be regarded as overstayers and their visas will be extended till 31st May 2020. (As on Apr 3)

  7. Those who need to return to their home country for different category of visa will now be allowed to apply from the UK to switch including those whose leave has been extended. (As on Apr 3)

  8. Tier 4 students are now allowed to take distant learning courses, this will be treated as an exception. (As on Apr 3)   



  1. All travellers into Ireland, coming from anywhere except Northern Ireland, must:

    a)  Complete a Passenger Locator form  (As on January 16, source:

    b)  Provide evidence that you have a negative or ‘not detected’ result from a COVID-19 PCR test carried out no more than 72 hours before you arrive in Ireland (As on January 16, source:

  2. As per the Guidelines by Health Protection Surveillance Centre, Higher Education Institutes in Ireland will operate within the parameters of public health and safety advice at all times.

  3. All international students have free access to the Irish healthcare system for treatment related to COVID-19.

  4. All International students irrespective of planning for online course or physical course will require a study visa.

  5. As per guidelines laid by the Irish Government, you will be required to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form before you arrive in Ireland and submit it at the airport.

  6. Once you reach Ireland, you will be required to restrict your movement for 14 days. 'Restricted Movement' is different from ‘Self-Isolation’ and ‘Quarantine’. It means:

    1. a) Avoid using public transport

    2. b) Avoid visiting others or having visitors

    3. c) Avoid meeting face-to-face with anyone who is at higher risk from COVID-19 (older people, pregnant women, people with long-term illness)

    4. d) Do not go to the shop unless absolutely necessary. You must wear a face mask if going to the shop for grocery or essentials such as SIM card

    5. e) If you are sharing an apartment, please minimise sharing and remain in the same household pod for the 14 days

    6. f) You can still exercise outdoors by yourself as long as you keep 2 metres distance from others


  7. Concerning COVID-19, following discussions were held by the Departments of Justice and Equality and Education and Skills (Dublin Business School, Ireland) on the operation of the Third Level Graduate Permission Scheme (TLGPS)/ Graduate stay back option: 

    1. a)  On the once-off basis, international students who were about to commence their program from September will have to now complete the first semester online while the rest of the study program can be completed on-campus 

    2. b)  International students who returned to their home country and opted for the online mode to complete their studies and exams, are now eligible to apply for the scheme and receive an award from the university on the once-off basis (As on May 26)


  8. The above 2 points are strictly one-off arrangements as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic and subject to the usual criteria of the programme:

    1. a)  International students who intend to study for the full year with the university through online mode will not be allowed to avail the programme (As on May 26)


  9. Please note that the Government’s International Education Strategy (2016-2020) is currently being evaluated through an independent consultant. This evaluation includes a review of the TLGPS. (As on May 26)

Updated on February 16, 2021

Uncertain times need extraordinary measures. We want you to know that IDP is still working with the same enthusiasm to help you achieve your goals. To make this happen, we’ve taken several initiatives to ensure you keep driven to achieve your goals!

Student placement

1. Virtual counselling
To make it more convenient for you, we also offer free virtual counselling sessions online. As always, all our counselling sessions are free, and we are committed to ensuring that you have access to the right information, support and care.

Book my virtual counselling session

2. Virtual fairs
You can join our virtual fairs easily using your mobile phones, desktops or laptops. These events offer free online pre-counselling with our international education experts, one-on-one interaction with representatives of top institutions and an opportunity to apply on-the-spot to your desired institution. You can also discuss your scholarship and internship options, get all your study abroad queries answered and avail application fee waivers too.

3. Social media live sessions
Our study abroad and destination experts frequently hold live insightful sessions on Instagram and Facebook to address your queries. They touch upon the latest international education updates in destination s like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, the UK and the US.

4. Institution sessions
In these sessions, we invite representatives to talk about their respective institutions, teaching methodologies and other important information that you might be seeking to make a well-informed decision.



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