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new rules for australia student visa march 2024

We, education ONE, committed to update this page to provide you with all information regarding new rules for Australia student visa.

Click on the updates on the list below and see what’s happening on the Australian Student Visa.

breaking new student visa

New Rules for Australia Student Visa in March 2024

In relation to the previous update in December 2023, the Australia Student Visa new rules are finally here on March 23, 2024.

Major changes have been made to the Australian government’s student visa policies, which will take effect on March 23, 2024. The Genuine Student (GS) test has taken the place of the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement. 

The GS test evaluates a student’s sincerity of intention to study in Australia by examining a number of factors, including the student’s current circumstances, relationships to family and community, financial security, and motivations for selecting Australia as their study destination. 

Higher English language proficiency requirements for applications for Australian student visas

The government has also raised the English language proficiency standards for those applying for student visas in an effort to guarantee that students can engage fully in both the social and academic life of Australia. 

Strong Warning to Higher education institutions Acting as “Visa Factories”

Concerns regarding low-quality education providers are also addressed by policies that have consequences for educational institutions that put profit ahead of teaching.  

The overall goals of these adjustments are to uphold the highest quality of instruction for overseas learners and strengthen Australia’s standing as a top study abroad destination.

Read full news about the Genuine Student (GS) test here.

New Rules for Australia Student Visa December 2023

International students and graduates serve as a wellspring of talent, enhancing Australia’s economic productivity, fulfilling critical skills needs, and driving exports. 

The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the substantial contribution of student and temporary graduate visa holders to our labour market, particularly in the retail and hospitality sectors.

Unfortunately there are concerns about the behaviour of certain education providers that have been identified in the Nixon Review, which made recommendations regarding the exploitation of Australia’s student visa program.

The VET sector, in particular, faces scrutiny, with the Nixon Review recognizing that exploitation of the student visa program is more prevalent in VET courses.

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What Happens with Australian Education?

The recent surge in international education has been marred by the infiltration of non-genuine students and unscrupulous education providers. 

These entities are manipulating aspects of the existing regulatory framework, taking advantage of pandemic-induced visa concessions, such as unrestricted working hours for international students.

A recent interim report by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Trade, under the Inquiry into Australia’s Tourism and International Education Sector, echoed these concerns, highlighting ‘deep-seated integrity issues’ in parts of the sector. 

Evidence presented during the inquiry indicated the existence of non-genuine education providers, colloquially termed ‘ghost schools,’ where non-genuine students allegedly maintain enrollment without attending classes. 

The report concluded that ‘some providers in the private VET sector have systematically exploited Australia’s education system and broken migration law.’

Increased English Requirements to Boost Student Standards

Responding to the Migration Review‘s call for action, the government has set its sights on aligning the English language requirements for Student and Temporary Graduate visas with those of skilled visas. 

The anticipated changes, scheduled for early 2024, include a significant upswing in the required test scores:

  • Temporary Graduate Visa: Up from 6.0 to 6.5
  • Student Visa: Up from 5.5 to 6.0
  • ELICOS Students: Up from 4.5 to 5.0
  • Pathway Programs: Staying strong at 5.5

The Australian government is set to fortify education provider requirements, mandating the reporting of students’ English language proficiency at the time of enrollment.

NEW ERA: Genuine Student Test

The centrepiece of this revolutionary initiative is the introduction of the Genuine Student test; crafted to meticulously scrutinise applicants, this test is poised to be a game-changer. 

Australia student visa new rules 2022

Out with the old and in with the new, as the Genuine Student test replaces the existing Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement. 

Acknowledging the diverse pathways available post-study, this test aims to strike a delicate balance, providing opportunities for eligible individuals while maintaining the system’s integrity.

To ensure the success of this ambitious venture, two Ministerial Directions will be rolled out, acting as the guardians of the student visa caseload integrity.

Academic Fortitude

The first Ministerial Direction will chart key considerations for decision-makers. It delves into the heart of the applicant’s circumstances, scrutinising academic and career progression, and assessing the value of the intended study to their future careers. 

Non-compliance with these expectations will result in visa refusal, sending a clear message to applicants.

Risk-based Prioritisation

The second Ministerial Direction will act as the compass for prioritising visa caseload processing; the initiated risk-based prioritisation system will be implemented by the end of 2023.

This system will evaluate providers based on risk levels, introducing a tiered approach that adjusts processing times accordingly.

Higher-risk providers will face heightened scrutiny, ensuring the integrity of both provider and student applications.

Visa Hopping Threatening System Integrity and Fueling ‘Perpetual Transience’

Australia is facing a contemporary challenge as certain international students and temporary visa holders exploit it for ‘visa hopping’; manoeuvring from one visa to another, prolonging their stay without genuine prospects of achieving permanent residency. 

The consequence? A burgeoning cohort of ‘permanently temporary’ former international students now calls Australia home.

The Government is set to intensify scrutiny on international students seeking a second student visa. 

While acquiring fresh qualifications is a commendable pursuit for deeper specialisation and career development, the rising trend of students hopping between courses, often opting for those beneath their current academic level, is alarming. 

Statistics reveal a staggering 30% surge in international students holding subsequent visas—surpassing 150,000 in 2022–23—with the VET sector witnessing the most substantial spike, reaching almost 69,000 students, compared to 42,000 pre-pandemic in 2018–19.

The government’s response is marked by the introduction of the Genuine Student test, a stringent measure aimed at evaluating the authenticity of students’ course progressions. 

Eligible students applying within Australia must now substantiate, through compelling evidence, that their subsequent courses align with career or academic aspirations.

Failure to demonstrate a logical course progression may render them ineligible under the Genuine Student test.

The Australian government is also restricting Temporary Graduate visa holders from transitioning back to student visas while onshore.

The Grattan Institute’s recent “Graduates in Limbo” report disclosed a troubling revelation: 32% of Temporary Graduate visa holders resort to returning to study to extend their stay in Australia as avenues for permanent residency diminish. 

To counter this, the government aims to implement changes to the points test and other skilled visa settings, fostering permanent residency for skilled graduates while alleviating the uncertainty faced by those with fewer prospects.

In a bid to curb onshore visa hopping that circumvents offshore procedures, the government hints at forthcoming announcements in early 2024. 

As the nation tightens its grip on the integrity of its visa system, these strategic measures aim to reshape the landscape, ensuring that those who contribute to Australia’s skilled workforce find a lasting home while deterring practices that undermine the system’s core.

Also Read: Australia’s Bold Migration Strategy: Halving Intake, Genuine Student Tests, and Post-Study Visa

New Rules for Australia Student Visa in July 2023

The working hours for international students holding Australian student visas are poised for yet another transformation.

A twelve-month reprieve allowed holders of Australian Student Visas to enjoy unrestricted working hours. This lenient arrangement is scheduled to conclude post-June 30, 2023, reverting the working hours back to the standard 40 hours per fortnight.

Upcoming Rule Change for July 2023

As the winds of change sweep in, it is imperative for Australian Student Visa holders to be cognizant of the impending alteration to working hours. Amidst these modifications, a noteworthy adjustment is on the horizon.

Commencing February 2023, the established 40-hour fortnightly cap will be temporarily superseded by a more relaxed limit. Effective July 2023, international students will be permitted to engage in employment for up to 48 hours per fortnight.

Minister Clare on Extended Work Opportunities

The Minister for Education, Jason Clare, emphasised the positive implications for both students and the Australian workforce.

“We teach and train these skilled workers. This will mean they can stay on longer and use the skills they’ve gained in Australia to help fill some of the chronic skills shortages we have right now.”

Government’s Directive from July 1, 2023

Come July 1, 2023, the Australian government is set to reinstate work restrictions for student visa holders. 

During academic sessions, the permissible working hours will be capped at 48 hours per fortnight, while the shackles are loosened during semester breaks, allowing unlimited work hours.

Also Read: International Students Can Have a Longer Student Visa Working Hours Australia Under New Regulations in 2023

New Rules for Australia Student Visa in July 2022

Here are the new rules for Australia student visa 2022: International students in Australia will need to get the approval of the Minister before they can change their courses.

When will the New Rules of Australia for Student Visas Be Official?

According to NRI Affairs, the Australian government is announcing these new visa rules for Australian student visa (subclass 500) holders, which is expected to take effect this July.

The Australian student visa (subclass 500) is a temporary visa obtained to study in the country for up to 5 years. Students can attend an eligible course of study, travel in and out of the country, and work limited hours in any sector as a temporary measure.

The new rules for Australia Student Visa 2022, which went into effect on July 1, make it more difficult for international students to switch courses or leave their universities. International students in Australia cannot change their courses under a new law unless with the Minister’s approval.

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Citing an explanatory statement from the federal home legislation “The Minister cannot approve the change unless satisfied that there is not an unreasonable risk of unwanted transfer of critical technology by the Student (subclass 500) visa holders studying, or intending to undertake, higher education studies that they do not change their degree or research subject”.

What’s Behind the New Rules of Australia for Student Visas?

The Minister must be satisfied that there is not an unreasonable risk that the visa holder will transfer critical technology to a foreign country.

Critical technology means:

  1. The technology of a kind specified for the purposes of this definition by the Minister; or
  2. Property of every description (whether tangible or intangible) that is:
    • part of; or
    • a result of; or
    • used for the purposes of researching, testing, developing or manufacturing; any technology of a kind specified for the purposes of this definition by the Minister.

new rules for australian higher education students changing course 2022

If the Minister is satisfied there is an unreasonable risk of a technology transfer being unwanted, the Australia Student Visa visa may be cancelled.

An unwanted transfer of critical technology by a person means any direct or indirect:

  1. Transfer of critical technologies; or
  2. Transfer of information about critical technologies;

By a person who would:

  1. Damage or impair the security or defence of Australia, including operations, capabilities or technologies, methods or sources used by domestic  intelligence agencies; and public authorities or by foreign intelligence agencies (within the meaning of the Criminal Code);
  2. Cause harm or prejudice to the health and safety of the Australian public or any part thereof. parts; or
  3. Interfere with or prejudice the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of a criminal offence against the Commonwealth Act; or
  4. Harm or damage to Australia’s international relations

New Student Visa Conditions in 2022

The new visa conditions, 8204A and 8204B, have been added to student visa holders studying a higher education course or postgraduate research course and intend to change their course of study, thesis or research topic. Otherwise, the Department of Home Affairs may cancel your Student Visa in Australia.

As described on the Australian legislation website, here are the new visa conditions:

8204A: Student visa holder must not change the holder’s course of study, or thesis or research topic, unless:

  1. the Minister is satisfied that there is not an unreasonable risk of an unwanted transfer of critical technology by the holder; and
  2. the Minister has approved the change in writing.

8204B: Student visa holder must not undertake or change a course of study or research, thesis or research topic, for:

  1. a graduate certificate, a graduate diploma, a master’s degree or a doctorate; or
  2. any bridging course required as a prerequisite to a course of study or research for a master’s degree or a doctorate;

unless:

  1. the Minister is satisfied that there is not an unreasonable risk of an unwanted transfer of critical technology by the holder; and
  2. the Minister has approved in writing the holder undertaking or changing the course of study or research, or thesis or research topic.

What Will be the Effect of Changing Your Course of Study on Your Australian Student Visa?

  • Previously, international students could change the course they were pursuing for six months or more with the approval of their educational institution only.
  • The new rules will give the Minister the power not to approve an international student’s decision to change courses in the public’s interest. However, Australian student visa holders can still challenge the Minister’s decision, the report claimed.
  • The new visa conditions only apply to student visas received after July 1, 2022. Applications made before this date will not be affected by the new ruling.
  • International students must not change their course of study or research topic without the approval of the Minister for a graduate certificate, graduate diploma, master’s degree, or doctorate, or a bridging course may be required as a prerequisite for a course of study or research for a master’s or doctorate.
  • Suppose your application to change course is declined. In that case, visa cancellation will be discretionary for ‘relevant visas’ (certain protection visas and related bridging visas) but mandatory for all other visa types.

course rules 2022

Also Read: 5 Cases When Your Study Situation Has Changed – The Ultimate Guide

Students who are considering changing their thesis, major or research topic must complete Form 1221 and submit it to [email protected].

Once these new rules for Australia Student Visa 2022 have been official, they will be reflected here. Up until now, there is not any further information available on whether or not these student visa new rules will affect international students studying other levels of courses in Australia.

We will update the details as soon as available on our website.

Also read: You’ll Be Sorry If You Miss this Guide To Understanding Australia Student Visa Requirements.

What We Can Do to Help You

  • Along with our in-house Registered Migration Agents, ONE derland Consulting, we will be able to give you legal and professional advice on your chances of securing a Student Visa (Subclass 500) to Australia that is based on your personal goals to make sure you will not feel like you are studying the wrong course of study in Australia.
  • We can guide you through each step of securing your Student Visa worry-free! Get our completed document checklist tailored to your circumstances and goals in Australia.
  • Our experiences in securing Student Visa (Subclass 500) in no time for our clients who want to realise their Australian study dreams make us confident with the latest Australian immigration regulations.

Also read: Student Visa Working Hours Australia Unlimited in 2022

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You may be one of the international students who plan to study your higher degrees in Australia. Of course, you do not want to have to change your course while you could not?

If you are unsure of what the next step to prepare for your dream education in Australia, or if you want to discuss your visa and the updated regulations, book a FREE consultation with one of our education specialists or contact us, education ONE Australia, through email at [email protected] or via phone at 1300 083 663.

With years of experience helping students from many different countries, we will be delighted to assist you. Our Career Development Consultants will guide you, no matter how complex your circumstances are.

What are you waiting for? Contact us right now, and have a thorough study plan with us!

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