Australia Enhances Student Visa Conditions for a More Secure and Positive Study Experience
The Albanese government is cracking down on visa system exploitation through increased student attendance monitoring and restrictions on the cross-ownership of colleges. The move comes in response to recommendations from a review conducted by former Victoria Police Commissioner Christine Nixon.
In pursuit of enhancing the integrity of international education, the Australian government is implementing measures that focus on promoting a more balanced and structured experience for international students.
These measures include refining work hour restrictions, streamlining the enrollment process for the initial six months, and enhancing attendance monitoring to ensure a smoother transition into the Australian education system.
Education Minister Jason Clare recently affirmed that the number of international students in Australia has nearly rebounded to pre-COVID levels.
"Based on data from my Department, an industry that was valued at $40 billion before the pandemic is now approaching that mark once more," Mr. Clare remarked.
"I recognize that this industry faced severe challenges during the pandemic. Border closures and directives for students to return home or seek assistance from charities and friends took a toll," the minister added.
Mr. Clare emphasized that with the return of international students, the Albanese government is redoubling efforts to prevent the exploitation of the visa system.
What has Changed?: Australia Student Visa
In July, the government unveiled changes to international students' working hours, capping them at 24 hours per week instead of having unlimited hours.
"This initial measure was aimed at reducing the attractiveness of using a student visa as a means to work here," noted the education minister.
Additionally, in August, the 'concurrent certificate of enrolment' loophole, which had enabled agents and providers to transfer international students who had been in the country for less than six months from one course to another, was also addressed and closed.
Furthermore, the government has raised the financial requirements for international students seeking a student visa. Starting this month, applicants will be required to demonstrate savings of $24,505.
In addition, the federal government has recently announced its intention to implement measures to prohibit the shared ownership of educational institutions between providers and education agents.
These adjustments will include measures to disallow agents from earning commissions when students change their educational providers within Australia.
The government is also exploring the use of authority granted under section 97 of the ESOS Act to issue suspension certificates to high-risk education providers, thereby restricting their ability to enroll international students.
Furthermore, there will be an expansion of student attendance monitoring efforts by the government.
Christine Nixon's Review on the Widespread Issues With the Australian Visa System
The Nixon Review, led by former Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, Christine Nixon, was initiated by the Australian government to address widespread issues within the visa system.
Another notable upcoming change is the shift from the current Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) criterion to the Genuine Student Test, which will allow international students to express their desire to immigrate.
This represents a departure from the previous requirement that students primarily focus on obtaining a high-quality tertiary education while clearly indicating their intention not to permanently settle in Australia.
What are Experts’ Opinions on This New Implementation?
Former Deputy Secretary of the Department of Immigration, Dr. Abul Rizvi, noted a significant increase in offshore student visa applications since February 2022. Official data indicated that in the last fiscal year (2022-23), nearly 500,000 student visas were issued, with a substantial portion going to Indian students.
Dr. Rizvi stressed that this surge could be attributed to unrestricted work rights and concerns about student visa fraud. While some measures have been introduced, like restrictions on agent commissions and dual certificates of enrollment, he believed more actions were needed.
He emphasized the importance of introducing the 'Genuine Student Test' to replace the 'Genuine Temporary Entry' requirement, which could have a significant impact on the overseas student program.
Ravi Lochan, an education agency director, also supported the 'Genuine Student Test,' as it could encourage honesty regarding students' intentions, potentially signaling an interest in skilled immigration.
However, Mr. Lochan mentioned that the implementation of these changes might not occur until March or April, potentially affecting students arriving in Australia for the 2024 intake. While he acknowledged the importance of closing existing loopholes, he also expressed the need for clarity and recognized the potential challenges in implementing these measures.
How Do You Feel About This Visa System Update?: Voice Your Opinion
Keeping aside the changes and adaptation as a part of Australian study visa application, one of the undeniable facts to be considered is that the nation is one of the best choices you could not afford to lose as an international student.
Have further queries seek GetGIS assistance for all your minor to major doubts regarding Australian Immigration. Our experts are well-versed in providing you with the best and most seamless visa application journey to Australia.
You Must Know!!
Q1. Is it easy to obtain an Australian student visa?
Yes, acquiring an Australian student visa is generally considered to be easier compared to many other countries. However, students interested in studying in Australia must still fulfill specific requirements to be eligible for a visa.
Q2. What is the maximum duration for an Australian study visa?
The maximum duration for an Australian study visa aligns with your enrolled course's length. For instance, if you're pursuing a 2-year program, your visa will be issued for 2 years. Typically, Australian student visas can span up to a maximum of 5 years.
Q3. Is it possible for Indians to study in Australia without taking the IELTS exam?
Yes, it is possible for students to pursue their studies in Australia without the need for an IELTS exam. However, it's essential for students to present proof of their English language proficiency.
Q4. What is the acceptable study gap for Australian universities?
Australian universities typically accept study gaps of up to 2 years. However, if you've been out of formal education for three to five years, more than 50% of universities may decline your application, with some exceptions.
In unique cases, if you can provide strong, valid reasons, a few universities may consider your application with stringent criteria.
Q5. What is the required IELTS score for direct entry to study in Australia?
Typically, for direct entry to study in Australia, you are expected to achieve a minimum overall IELTS score of 6.5, with no individual band score falling below 6.0 for your postgraduate degree.