22 September 2008

Honk Kong students given an easier path to Australian immigration

Changes to the Australian student visa Assessment Levels (ALs) which came into effect on Monday 01 September 2008 mean that international students from 43 countries have a better chance of being granted a visa for Australia.

As a result of a review into the Australian student visa program, the Government has made legislative changes to the Assessment Levels (ALs), which student visa applications are assessed against. 

The changes mean the ALs in 52 countries have been amended.  All applications for a student visa from nationals in these countries are now subject to these amendments.  All applications which were already being processed before this date will not be affected by the changes.

As part of the changes, the immigration risk of 43 countries has been lowered, including China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and Brazil, meaning they now have to provide less evidence to support their Australian visa application. 

Students in Hong Kong have been celebrating the changes, as their Assessment Level has been upgraded from Level 2 to Level 1.  All Australian student visa applications from Hong Kong are now evaluated against a lower immigration risk and therefore have an easier route to Australian immigration.  The change, according to News.gov.hk, is a reflection of the Hong Kong international students’ compliance with visa regulations.  However, all applications lodged before 01 September this year will be subject to the previous immigration laws and ALs.

In related news, according to the Australian, 392,000 international students were enrolled in Australian educational students in the past year, which is a 20 per cent increase on the year before.  Although the Department for Immigration and Citizenship has made it harder for Indian students to get a student visa, the numbers of Indian students in Australia increased by 55 per cent.  The numbers from China and Nepal continue to grow, while the Hong Kong, Japanese and Taiwan student markets are declining.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people apply for an Australia visa.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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