To study in Australia, acquiring visa is a crucial step. The Australian Government is planning to bring some changes in the current student visa rules. Some of the frequently asked questions about proposed Australia visa changes – 2011 are as follows:
What are the proposed new changes in student visa processing?
A number of changes are proposed in order to help simplify and improve the student visa application process and the processing of student visas. The main suggested changes include:
- A reduction in financial requirements for Assessment Level (AL) 3 and AL4 student visa applicants.
- Streamlined visa processing for some students.
- Stopping the Pre-Visa Assessment (PVA) policy.
- Student visas will be able to be granted in advance of four months before the start of the course
- The regular review and update of the living cost component of student visa financial requirements.
How would the financial requirements for higher risk AL3 and AL4 student visa applicants change?
The government has proposed to reduce the financial requirements for AL3 and AL4 student visa applicants. The following changes have been suggested:
- Evidence of funds for AL4 applicants would be reduced from 36 to 24 months and their savings history reduced from six to three months
- Evidence of funds for AL3 applicants would be reduced from 24 to 18 months.
This means that the financial requirements would reduce by around AUD36 000 for an AL4 applicant and around AUD18 000 for an AL3 applicant.
What is the streamlined visa processing proposal?
The Australian government proposes to treat student visa applicants with a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from a participating Australian university at Bachelor, Masters or postgraduate by research degree as one of lower migration risk. This is similar to the current Assessment Level 1. It applies to all students regardless of their country of origin (source).
How would the streamlined arrangements work?
The visa applications of low migration risk or those in the current Assessment Level 1 are treated on priority basis and therefore take less time for processing. The student would also not have the same documentary burdens that currently exist under the higher Assessment levels.
However, students would still have to satisfy requirements for English-language and finances. They would also have to meet the new genuine temporary entrant requirement.
Which applicants would be eligible for streamlined processing?
It is proposed that eligible applicants would include those enrolled in:
- Bachelor degree
- 2 plus 2 (or 3 plus 1) arrangements with partner universities
- Masters degrees by coursework
- Masters degrees by research
- English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS)
- 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 enrolment is made.
When would the streamlined arrangements be implemented?
It is proposed that the streamlined visa processing arrangements will be implemented in the first half of 2012.
What are the current part time work entitlements?
Under the current arrangements, student visa holders and their dependant family members can work a maximum of 20 hours per week during the term once the course has commenced, and unlimited hours when the course is not in session.
There is a relaxation of this rule for dependents of students enrolled in masters by research or doctoral degree who can work full time.
What is proposed to change?
Under the proposed arrangement, the student work visa entitlements would be measured as 40 hours per fortnight during any fortnight in the course session. A fortnight means a period of 14 days commencing on a Monday.
Who would be eligible for the post-study work visa?
University graduates who have completed a Bachelor degree or Masters by coursework in Australia are proposed to be eligible for a two year post-study work visa.
University graduates who have completed a Masters by research or PhD degree in Australia are proposed to be eligible for a post-study work visa for three or four years respectively.
What would be the visa eligibility requirements for the post-study work visa?
It is proposed that In the last six months before applying for the visa, the applicant must have completed at least a Bachelor degree (or a higher level course such as a Masters or PhD) obtained from a university in Australia.
It is also proposed that English language, health, character and security requirements must be met. Students also need to provide the evidence of adequate health insurance for the duration of the visa.
It is also likely that the visa applicant would have needed to study in Australia for a minimum period of time.
Would applicants need to nominate an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List when applying for this visa?
It is proposed that applicants eligible for this visa would not be required to nominate an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List or undertake a skills assessment.
What changes are being proposed to assist the English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) sector?
A number of the proposed changes would assist the ELICOS sector including:
- A reduction in financial requirements for high risk Assessment Level 3 and Assessment Level 4 for the student visa applicants.
- Streamlined visa processing for students who package their ELICOS course with an eligible university course.
- Certain changes stand alone for ELICOS visa applicants including removing the English language test requirements for higher risk Assessment Level 4 and above.
- Allowing all school student visa holders to study English for up to 50 weeks.
- Giving student guardian unlimited part-time study rights for ELICOS.
When would these changes be introduced?
These changes would be introduced progressively from late 2011 through to the first half of 2012.