Australia to waive off visa fees for international students, backpackers

On Wednesday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the government would waive visa fees for overseas students and backpackers to help with the worker shortage caused by the nationwide outbreak of Covid-19.

International students arriving in Australia in the next eight weeks and backpackers arriving in the next 12 weeks are among them, according to media.

“And there are around 150,000 students with visas who we are pushing to return for the start of their university or college year,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“But we also want them to come here and be able to help cover some of these key workforce gaps,” he said, referring to those who work and are trained in health care, aged care, and similar fields.

According to health department estimates from states and territories, Australia recorded more than 70,000 locally acquired coronavirus infections and more than 60 deaths on Wednesday.

After more than 70 deaths on Tuesday, the newest data puts today as the second deadliest day of the coronavirus outbreak in Australia.

An overwhelming majority of Australians want the federal government to finance rapid antigen tests (RATs) for Covid-19, according to a poll released by Nine Entertainment publications on Wednesday.

According to the Resolve Political Monitor, 86% of voters feel that RATs should be free or subsidised in some way.

Despite an increase in the number of cases and staff shortages in vital supply chains, Morrison said that Australia was “doing better than nearly any other country in the world” in the fight against Omicron.

“Our death rate related to Omicron is one of the lowest in the world,” he stated, despite the fact that there have been more than 350 deaths in the last week.

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