Australian student visa changes to boost international students to universities
The Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, has announced changes to Australia’s student visa program, effective from last Friday March 24.
‘From 24 March, we are implementing streamlined visa processing arrangements for prospective students enrolled in Bachelor, Masters or Doctoral degrees at participating universities, making the application process simpler and faster.
‘In recognition of these institutions’ track record, university students — regardless of their country of origin — will be treated as though they are lower risk and will need to submit less evidence in support of their visa application, similar to the current assessment level (AL) 1.
‘Universities in Australia have embraced the opportunity to sign up to the arrangements, which are expected to help boost international enrolments for semester two 2012 and beyond,’ Mr Bowen said.
These were among the changes recommended by the recent review into Australia’s student visa program, the Knight Review. Other changes recommended by the Knight Review which will be implemented from 24 March include:
- Improved access to English language study for schools sector visa applicants and for student guardian visa holders
- Removal of the requirement for higher risk schools sector visa applicants to provide evidence of an English language proficiency test.
In line with the Knight Review recommendations, the minister last week introduced legislation to Parliament to abolish the automatic visa cancellation process for international students.
The Student Legislation Amendment (Student Visas) Bill will reduce complexity and uncertainty for students and provide for fairer, more efficient monitoring and compliance processes.
Changes to boost international education (2012) Minister for Immigration and Citizenship [online]. Available from: www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/cb/2012/cb184479.htm [Accessed 26th March 2012]