Australia continues to tighten student visas

By Minh Nga   June 20, 2024 | 02:27 am PT
Australia continues to tighten student visas
International students in Australia. Photo by Reuters
Australia will stop converting tourist visas to student status starting next month, continuing a series of policies aimed at reducing immigration.

As announced last week by the Australian Department of Home Affairs, the move is a key commitment in the Migration Strategy, which was released last year.

It is to restrict "visa hopping," putting an end to the loopholes that allow students and other temporary visa holders to continuously extend their stay in Australia, in some cases indefinitely.

This move comes amid a situation where the number of people applying to convert from a tourist to a student visa had reached 36,000 people from mid-last year to May this year.

Additionally, Temporary Graduate Visa holders will not be able to apply for Student Visas onshore, the department said.

"The migration system we inherited was completely broken, and our goal is to build a smaller, better planned, more strategic migration system that works for Australia," said Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security Clare O’Neil on his website.

"Our Migration Strategy outlines a clear plan to close the loopholes in international education and this is the next step in delivering that plan. We need a migration system which delivers the skills we need, but doesn’t trade in loopholes and exploitation," he said.

Since the end of last year, Australia has introduced many policies tightening visas for international students. The goal is to reduce the number of immigrants to half the current number within the next two years.

In February, the country reduced the time for international students to stay with visa from four to six years to two to four years. Universities were also divided into three groups, depending on the risk level of recruitment. Visa processing at level 2 and 3 universities will be slower compared to level 1.

In March, the English requirement for international students was raised to 6.0-6.5 IELTS, 0.5 points higher than before, and the part-time work limit was set to 24 hours, whereas previously there was no limit.

Last month, Australia increased the financial proof requirement for international students to AUD$29,710 (US$19,820), 20% higher than before.

Australia is one of the most popular study destinations in the world.

International education is one of Australia's largest export industries and was worth AUD$36.4 billion to the economy last year.

From the beginning of the year to the end of March this year, Australia had over 740,000 international students, with Vietnamese students accounting for 5%.

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