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australia migration strategy

In a dramatic move to cut the annual intake from a record high of 510,000, Australia’s net migration will be halved within two years as a part of Australia migration strategy.

According to the Migration Strategy documents, 108,000 foreign students and graduates have resided in Australia for five years or longer, accounting for the largest proportion of “permanently temporary” migrants.

To address this, the Department of Home Affairs will implement a new “genuine student test” for all international students, ensuring international students in Australia will return home.

Check out education ONE’s summary on the latest migration strategy updates for genuine student test and change to temporary graduate visa which possibly will be implemented in 2024.

Addressing Challenges Post-Pandemic

A standout addition to the strategy is the establishment of a Department of Home Affairs’ “student visa integrity unit” with an initial funding of AUS$19 million. 

Minister for Education Jason Clare emphasised that this unit aims to send a clear message, preventing the exploitation of students and safeguarding Australia’s reputation as a high-quality international education provider.

addressing challenge post pandemic jason clare

The strategy comes on the heels of the pandemic, which significantly disrupted the integrity of the international education system in Australia.

The closure of borders for two years resulted in a financial toll on schools, universities, and vocational education and training (VET) providers.

While policies were expedited to bring back international students once borders reopened, the migration report points out that post-COVID growth was partially driven by non-genuine students and unscrupulous education providers exploiting regulatory loopholes and pandemic-related concessions.

Tackling Non-Genuine Students

To address these challenges, the strategy adopts a multi-pronged approach to discourage non-genuine students.

Stakeholders’ concerns about certain education providers, especially in the VET sector, aiding non-genuine students to access Australia’s labour market using a student visa have prompted the government to consider using its powers to issue suspension certificates to high-risk education providers.

The strategy explores increased regulation of agents through an expansion of the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority.

Genuine Student Test and Post-Study Work Rights

This move aims to place more scrutiny on VET providers and agents, reducing migration levels as fewer non-genuine students and providers enter the system.

A significant deterrent for non-genuine students will be the introduction of a new “Genuine Student Test” applicable to all international students.

This test is designed to incentivise applications from genuine students while making it clear that the majority of students in Australia are expected to return home after their studies.

Providers judged to be at “higher risk” will experience slower visa processing times starting as early as this month.

The strategy also addresses the issue of “permanent temporariness,” where students transition from course to course and visa to visa to prolong their stay in Australia without pursuing permanent residency.

Reforms to Post-Study Work Rights and Points Test

The review found that the number of students obtaining more than one student visa while in Australia has increased by over 30% to more than 150,000 in the 2022/23 academic year.

The VET sector has particularly come under scrutiny, with the report highlighting a lower likelihood of credible course progression in this sector.

The new Genuine Student Test will include a requirement for students to prove that any additional courses taken while in Australia complement their degree and contribute to upgrading their credentials.

What’s The New Approach In Temporary Graduate Visa?

The review also revealed that former students constitute a significant portion of ‘permanently temporary’ migrants, with over 50% of Temporary Graduate visa holders working in low-skilled jobs that do not contribute significantly to their eligibility for permanent residency.

The government is adjusting the length and eligibility of post-study work rights with no extensions except in regional areas in response to this matter. Check what change in Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) on the infographic below.

graduate visa 2024 key change

Changes to the Subclass 485 Temporary Graduate visa limits have also been implemented to align with these adjustments.

The strategy introduces proposed reforms to the points test, providing graduates working in skilled jobs faster pathways to permanent residency as a counterbalance.

The government also plans to collaborate with education providers and employers to facilitate the graduation of students with in-demand skills through more integrated learning approaches, such as work placements and co-op programs.

Increased English-Language Scores Requirement

A notable adjustment set to take effect in early 2024 is the increase in English-language scores required for Australian visas, a significant update within the framework of the Australia Migration Strategy. 

The Temporary Graduate Visa will see the required IELTS score rise from 6.0 to 6.5, the Student Visa score will increase from 5.5 to 6.0, ELICOS students will see a change from 4.5 to 5.0, and university foundation or pathway program students will be required to achieve a score of 5.5.

new ielts scores to study in australia

This genuine student visa and change to temporary graduate visa Australia will bring many effects to current and future students to adjust, make sure you are eligible for the change.

Discuss your eligibility with a free consultation session with our Career Development Consultant today.

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