5 new rules in Australia student visa policy overhaul

By Minh Nga   March 1, 2024 | 12:25 am PT
5 new rules in Australia student visa policy overhaul
Students study at a library of the University of Sydney, Camperdown NSW, Australia in 2022. Photo by Unsplash/Andy Wang
Australia has announced a series of amendments to its visa policy for international students aimed at enhancing the quality of its education system and ensuring the welfare of the students.

This move, expected to have a profound impact on the global student community, underscores Australia's commitment to maintaining its status as a premier destination for higher education.

Here's a recap of what have been changed so far, as announced by Australia's Department of Home Affairs and Department of Education.

Increase in financial proof

The Australian government has stipulated an increase in the minimum savings requirement for obtaining a student visa.

As of October last year, international students are required to demonstrate savings amounting to AUD$24,505 (US$15,943), a 17% surge from the previous level.

Stricter assessment

Prospective students must now pass a Genuine Student Test (GST), a measure introduced by the Australian government last November as part of its visa application process for international students.

This new test is designed to assess whether applicants genuinely intend to stay in Australia temporarily for the purpose of study. The GST replaces the previous Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement. It aims at distinguishing and favoring those most likely to have the primary purpose of studying rather than working and contribute needed skills to the Australian economy.

In effect, students pursuing lower levels of credential are those most likely to be refused a visa.

Higher English levels

The English proficiency requirement for undergraduate international students increased from IELTS 5.5 to 6 and for postgraduate programs, from 6 to 6.5.

Institutions ranking

The Australian Department of Home Affairs announced last December to rank universities based on their risk level.

Based on the data of students who previously violated visa regulations, universities are categorized into three groups. International students applying to Group 1 will be prioritized.

For those in Groups 2 and 3, the visa application process will take more time, requiring additional proof of English proficiency and financial capacity.

Following this latest policy, several Australian universities have so far this year announced to cancel admission offers for international students or request withdrawal of applications in a move to protect their reputation.

Cutting post-study extension

Starting from the middle of this year, Australia will adjust its post-study work rights policy for international students, reducing the duration international graduates can stay in the country for work purposes.

Previously, the Australian government had extended the post-study work visa durations for undergraduates, master's, and PhD students in selected programs, allowing them to stay for up to 4-6 years depending on their level of study.

These durations will now revert to the original 2-3 years, according to the announcement made by Australia's Department of Education last month.

go to top