Australia’s new student visa rules challenge international students

4 min read

Due to the new migration rules introduced by the Australian government, the country recently announced significant cuts to its immigration levels, which will hurt the higher education sector.

Moreover, the strategy aims to improve English language standards for students as well as facilitate the entry of highly skilled workers by creating a Skills in Demand visa and streamlining the approval process.

The changes to student visas, however, are primarily intended to target non-university providers, commonly known as ghost colleges, for the lack of education they provide while their students are employed in low-paid positions.

As a result of these changes, international students may face new hurdles when entering Australian universities, which may adversely affect the lucrative market which is currently recovering from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Research Professional News reports that the duration of doctoral students’ post-study work rights will be reduced from four to three years, with a guarantee of a 21-day processing period for visas.

Extensions will only be available to students who studied in regional areas. A dedicated student visa section will be created within the Department of Home Affairs.

A levy on international students may be included in the Australian Universities Accord, which is eagerly awaited by the higher education sector.

Some universities indeed have significantly higher enrollment rates of international students than others, particularly the research-intensive Group of Eight universities.

According to Catriona Jackson, chief executive of Universities Australia, the vice-chancellors’ group welcomed most of the changes, including the introduction of the “genuine student test”.

Creating new visa streams will help attract researchers to our universities and keep more international graduates in Australia, Jackson said.

She cautioned, however, that “any changes, now or in the future, that restrict the movement of genuine students to our shores must be carefully considered in light of the significant benefits they bring, both during and after their studies”.

Later, she told ABC Radio that the university sector opposed further restrictions, such as caps on student enrollment.

It would be surprising if “those [genuine student] numbers dropped enormously” as a result of the new policy.

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