04 May 2011

Universities call for ease on Australian student visa restrictions

With a significant drop in student arrivals from India and China, Australian universities are calling on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) to ease visa restrictions for student arrivals from these countries.

Australian student visa

Australian universities are calling on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) to ease student visa restrictions.

In recent years, India and China have provided the majority of international students arriving in Australia. However, a recent drop off in arrivals from these countries has put many self-funded Australian universities at a severe financial risk, resulting in these higher education providers calling on Australian student visa restrictions to be eased.

The focus of the universities is on revamping the Assessment Level system, which is responsible for determining the key requirements (e.g. English language skills, financials) for international students interested in Australian education.

Currently, students from India and China are classified under Assessment Level 3 and 4. To give a very basic summation of how the visa requirements work, they essentially become more stringent as the level goes up.

Universities Australia commented on how difficult these Assessment Levels made it for Indian and Chinese students to qualify for an Australian visa in their submission to the Knight Review of Student Visa Program, saying: "Broadly, the extraordinary burden placed on high quality university students from Assessment Level 3 and 4 countries, particularly in terms of financial proof, is critically prohibitive to the ongoing sustainability of the international education industry."

UA went on to suggest that varied Assessment Levels be allowed for applicants from China and India depending on the region where they are applying from, as "in India and China, if high rates of fraud and non-compliance exist in Punjab and Fujian respectively, then they should attract a much higher Assessment Level compared to other regions within those large countries".

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australian visa application with the Australian High Commission

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