22 September 2011

Australia announces changes to student visa program

The Australian federal Government has today announced a raft of measures aimed at attracting greater numbers of international students to Australia.

Australian visa

The Australian Government has made a number of changes to the student visa program

The announcement of the Australian immigration changes comes in response to the Government's Strategic Review of the Student Visa conducted by former NSW government minister Michael Knight (Knight Review) which was also released today.

While the final recommendations of the Knight Review has not yet been released, the Government has already indicated it will act on some of the issues raised in the review.

According to a joint statement from the Minsister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations, Senator Chris Evans and Minister for Immigration Chris Bowen MP, the Government will "introduce new streamlined visa processing arrangements for a range of Australian university courses for faster, easier visa access for prospective students".

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) will now treat international students enrolled in bachelor or higher degrees, who are applying for Australian visas, as 'low risk'. 

Furthermore, the Government has stated it will "undertake a fundamental review of the Student Visa risk management framework".

The Ministerial statement also explains that financial burdens on international students will be decreased.

"We are reducing the financial requirements for some applicants, with students now needing around $36,000 less in the bank when applying for a visa," Mr Bowen said.

One of the key issues addressed in the Knight Review is the opportunity for students to gain work experience in their host country following graduation.

"Many international students want to work in Australia for a period after completing their courses...Work related to the area of study gives students a valuable start in the employment stakes, whether their intention is to continue to work in Australia, work in their home country, work internationally, or a combination of all three".

In response the Government will make a two to four year post-study visa available. The visa will be granted depending on the level of study completed. The new visa will not replace the exisiting Temporary Skilled 457 visa or Skilled Graduate visa but will be offered concurrently.

The new Australian student visa will "offer university students a more complete study exerience," Senator Evans said.

Other new measures include an extension of the time a doctoral candidate can stay in Australia while their thesis is marked, the establishment an Education Visa Consultative Committee, and discontinuing the automatic cancellation and mandatory cancellation provisions for student visas.

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

Bookmark and Share