Knight Review on Student Visas:
“It’s time to fulfill your dream to study in Australia – as getting visa for studying in Australia will be easier from 2012!”
The revised visa system is proposed to brand Australia as an attractive place to study and work – a desired destination for International students. It means less tiresome process for students and relaxed Financial and English Language requirements to apply visa. The changes in the rule are expected to be implemented early 2012.
Under the new student visa regulations International students will have greater prospect to gain Australian post study work experience for a period of 2 to 4 years, and enjoy better, faster, streamline student visas options.
The new relaxed visa regime will benefit students from countries like India, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
1. Changes in English language requirement:
Implementation of Alternative English Language Tests for Student Visas other than IELTS
1 Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT)
2 Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic.
3 Cambridge English: Advanced Test CAE (also known as Certificate in Advanced English)
The department will be able to accept test scores from the alternative English Language tests for student visa applications for all countries lodged on or after 5 November 2011.
This is really a boon to the students who wants to pursue their higher education in Australia. Earlier one has to pass IELTS only for their higher education in Australia, now they can apply for Australia with other English Language Tests.
2. Reduction in financial requirements for International Student visa applicants.
The new changes would mean that students will have to show fewer funds in order to obtain the student visa for higher education sector.
The funds are required to be only three months old as against the six-month requirement.”
The new rule will also allow students to be sponsored by any individual against the current legal requirement for Higher education sector. For VET sector that limits the sponsorship to the applicant’s spouse, parents, siblings, grandparents and uncle by meeting certain criterion.
Financial Requirements for the International Student Visa Applicants were reduced in the following way:
• Evidence of funds for VET sector applicants reduced from 36 to 24 months and, if evidence is being presented as a cash deposit, their savings history reduced from 6 to 3 months.
• Evidence of funds for Higher Education sector has reduced from 24 to 18 months.
Now students need to show up to $36,000 less in the bank for applying for a visa.
These changes will increase the Competitiveness of International Educational Sector by reducing the requirement for financial evidence. These changes are going to reduce the fraud financial documentation and make the process easy and genuine for the genuine students.
3. The Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement:
It is proposed that student visa applicants must satisfy both a GTE and a Genuine Student to be granted a Visa.
A number of the proposed changes arising from the Strategic Review of the Student Visa Program would relax visa requirements for International Students
o Students will have to meet both the Genuine Student and the Genuine Temporary Entrant requirements.
o Student visa holders who have completed their studies and not obtained a further visa will be required to depart Australia.
o Applications lodged before the commencement of the proposed GTE requirement would be assessed according to the current provisions.
The GTE process will easily identify applicants seeking to exploit the student visa program, for example those, whose main purpose is to work, will have their applications refused.
4. Visa Extension for Higher Degree Research (HDR) students:
All new Post graduate Research (Subclass 574) students’ will be granted six months additional visa period to allow them to complete their interactive marking of a thesis.
Stream lined processing has been implemented for HDR visas. With the new rules these HRD students will be provided with additional 3 or
4 years post study work visa along with unlimited work rights during the study.
Lot more facilities are provided to the International research students . The universities are funded to provide scholarships to these students along with stipends .
6. Streamlined Visa Processing:
It is proposed that the Streamline Visa Processing arrangements will be implemented in the first half of 2012. The proposed implementation date would allow time to consult with Universities on their responsibilities under the arrangements.
Streamlined Visa processing would be available for students who package their non-university course with an eligible university course at the time when the offer of university enrollment is made.
Eligibility for Streamline Visa processing:
1 Bachelor degrees.
2 2 plus 2 (or 3 plus 1) arrangements with partner universities.
3 Masters degrees by coursework.
4 Masters degrees by research.
English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) and/or foundation and other preparatory courses, including Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, which are explicitly packaged with an eligible university course at the time when the offer of enrollment is made.
Semester or yearlong non-award courses at an Australian University as part of their home university’s degree course and/or as part of an agreed student exchange between Universities.
Under the proposed streamlined processing arrangements, Universities could be confident that the majority of their students would have their Visa applications processed quickly. In addition, student Visa applicants applying under the proposed streamlining arrangements would generally have reduced evidentiary requirements and faster process.
A student who pay the university fee ahead and also pay for the home stay , will be required show less financial balances. These applications will be treated as low risk profiles and are given special priority in clearing the applications.
Home Stay Arrangements:
Now the universities are asked to provide the home stay for the students. This process will make the student safer and will be staying close to the university. This is one of the main initiatives taken by the Australian government to check on the safety of the International students. The universities will be taking the responsibility of the safety of the student, when someone is taking university provided home stay.
From 5 November 2011, prepaid fees for formal home stay arrangements through education providers will be treated the same way.
7. Under the new rule all university students will be treated as ‘low risk’.
As the university is taking the responsibility of selecting genuine students on to their shoulders, It will become easy for the department to chose the right student to grant visa. That’s the reason; university students are termed as low risk students in the current legislation. The department is giving priority processing for those students who have pre-paid their university fee and the home stay fee. Students can lodge their application 4 months ahead of their start date of their university.
8. Work Permit for Students:
Students who have studied for a minimum of 2 years will be permitted work for 2 years who completed Bachelors or Masters in Australia and for master by research students can work for 3 years, and PHD students are eligible to get a work permit of 4 years.
9. Students who gain jobs in their relevant field of education have lot of opportunities to get settled in Australia through residency. The new changes will build a good platform for their career and helps them after completion of their academics to gain experience in the same country after studying. These changes will help the genuine students to have an edge over the non genuine students and gain appropriate visa to complete their dreams. Australia encourages the students with preceding professional skills to get settled and to contribute in clearing the skill shortage. There is high possibility for the merit students to get Permanent Residence in Australia and citizenship of Australia , if they are getting placed in the field they have chosen.
In the border perspective, the knight’s review is a positive boon for Indian students and their future career. It is always important to choose the right career pathway than selecting those careers which others choose.