Australia has announced big changes to its student visa policies, meant to improve the reliability of international education and backing genuine students.
These changes include:
- Reduction of Post-Study Work Visa Duration
- End of Covid-19 Pandemic Concessions
- Increased Financial Requirements
- Introduction of the ‘Genuine Student’ Test
- Enhanced Scrutiny of Visa Applications
- Streamlining of Graduate Visa Routes
- Increased English Language Requirements
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Reduction of Post-Study Work Visa Duration:
The Government of Australia has slashed the duration of post-study work visas for international students by two years. It should be noted that undergraduates in selected programs previously entitled for four years of post-study work will now have two years, even though Master’s students in certain disciplines will have three years instead of five.
End of Covid-19 Pandemic Concessions:
Please note that concessions made during the pandemic, for example uncapped working hours for international students, will end.
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Increased Financial Requirements:
It should be noted that the amount of savings needed by international students to apply for a visa will increase to A$24,505 (£13,000), a 17% rise from previous levels.
Introduction of the ‘Genuine Student’ Test:
This new Genuine Student Test aims to confirm that international students are genuinely interested in studying at Australian institutions, instead of prioritizing work opportunities in Australia. It substitutes the previous Genuine Temporary Entrant obligation.
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Enhanced Scrutiny of Visa Applications:
It was also stated that the visa processing unit will be reinforced to examine non-genuine student visa applications more efficiently and to prevent ‘visa-hopping’.
Streamlining of Graduate Visa Routes:
The process for transitioning from student to graduate visas will be streamlined, with existing routes rationalized into clearer pathways named ‘Post-higher Education Work’ and ‘Post-Vocational Education Work’.
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Increased English Language Requirements:
Please note that Minimum English language requirements for student and graduate visas will be raised to IELTS scores of 6.0 for student visas and 6.5 for temporary graduate visas, effective from early 2024.
Please keep in mind that these new rules are part of a broader strategy by the Australian government to make sure that graduates are employed in roles that match their skill levels and qualifications, especially in sectors where there is a skills shortage. This strategy shift reflects a global trend of countries reconsidering their international student policies to balance educational opportunities with domestic workforce requirements.
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