The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said that from 1 January 2010, overseas students who require a new Australian Student Visa to complete their studies at another school or college will be exempt from paying the student visa application charge.
Senator Evans said that although most students will be able to complete their studies on their existing Australian Student Visa, some may need to enrol in a new course that finishes after their existing student visa expires and will require a new Australian Student Visa.
This is particularly helpful if students face a situation where their education provider has closed, and the student needs to enrol with another provider.
“In situations where an education provider can no longer offer a course, the government’s primary concern is the welfare of the student,' Senator Evans said.
“We understand that these situations are not the fault of the student and the introduction of a fee exemption will ensure they are not shouldered with an additional financial burden.”
In the interim, students will be able to apply to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship for a refund of their visa application fee if they’ve been affected by the closure of an education provider in 2009 and have had to apply for a new Australian Student Visa.
Senator Evans said the government is also increasing the minimum financial requirements for overseas students to ensure they can meet their living costs while in Australia.
From 1 January 2010, prospective overseas students wanting to study in Australia will need to demonstrate that they have access to at least $18,000 a year to fund their living costs in Australia, instead of the current $12,000.
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with Australian visas.