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Australia changes to study visas

20 February 2016 by News Desk

AustraliaAustralia is one of the world’s top destinations for overseas students and it will continue to welcome those seeking to study in the country.

The new changes are aimed at making the visa process simpler. But some key criteria will change.

Australia has made key changes under the new Streamlined Student Visa Framework (SSVF) including:

1) A reduction in the number of student visa sub-classes, from eight to two.

2) A simplified single immigration risk framework for all international students.

“The existing student visa process in Australia is complex,” says Darrell Todd, CEO of thinkingaustralia. “It involves eight visa sub-classes, the Assessment Level framework and streamlined visa processing arrangements.

“The new changes are designed to make the student visa process simpler to navigate for genuine students.”

Currently, prospective students must apply for the student visa subclass applicable to their intended level of study – for example, subclass 573 for Higher Education.

Prospective student visa applicants are then either assessed under the Assessment Level (AL) framework or streamlined visa processing (SVP) arrangements. These determine the level of evidence of financial capacity, English language proficiency and academic background that the student needs to provide with their student visa application.

Under the AL framework, there are three assessment levels with AL1 representing the lowest immigration risk and AL3 the highest. The higher the AL, the greater the amount of evidence an applicant is required to provide to support their student visa application.

Under streamlined visa processing, eligible student visa applicants whose main course of study is an Advanced Diploma, Bachelor degree, Masters, Doctoral degree or eligible exchange programme at a participating SVP education provider – are not assigned an AL.

If a student is eligible for streamlined visa processing they will generally have requirements for financial capacity, English language proficiency and academic background related requirements that are similar to those that apply under the current AL1, regardless of their country of origin.

The new Streamlined Student Visa Framework (SSVF) will replace existing streamlined visa processing and AL framework arrangements.

Under the new SSVF, the combined immigration risk outcomes of the student’s education provider and country of citizenship will be used to determine the level of documentation relating to financial capacity and English language proficiency that the student will need to provide with their student visa application.

In addition, students will no longer apply for a specific student visa subclass applicable to their level of study – for example, subclass 573 for Higher Education. Under the new rules there will be only one student visa subclass for which all prospective students will apply.

The level of documentary evidence required in relation to financial and English language capacity will be determined by the combined immigration risk of the prospective student’s education provider and country of citizenship.

Students enrolled at an education provider with the lowest immigration risk outcomes will have lower evidence requirements, regardless of their nationality.

The eligibility criteria for the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa will not change.

“Students that have an existing study visa will not be affected,” says Darrell Todd. “The new rules will only apply to student visa applications that are lodged after the middle of 2016 and will not affect existing student visa holders.

Current student visa processing arrangements will remain unchanged until the new rules come into force in mid-2016.

For more info on study in Australia, contact our free expert helpline.

Click here for details of student visas: Study visas down under

Click here for Australian Border Agency:  Australian Border Agency



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