New Australian student visa rules 

Pursuing education abroad offers a transformative experience. But it first entails navigating the intricacies of the visa application process. This includes delving into the nuances of visa requirements and staying updated on new student visa rules and other changes in regulations. Keeping oneself in the know about the latest news is vital for international students. This applies especially to those in a top study destination like Australia. Regions like these constantly review and realign their immigration regulations following the sectors‘ needs. In this article, we’ll go through some of the new Australian student visa rules in 2024 and what they mean for international students.


About the Australian student visa

The Australian student visa (Subclass 500) is a temporary visa that allows the holder to:

  • participate in an eligible course of study in Australia
  • travel in and out of Australia
  • work up to 48 hours a fortnight when their course of study or training is in session (students studying a master’s by research or doctoral degree, and their families, have no work limit).

This visa costs AUD710 for the main applicant (unless they are exempt from paying) and is valid for up to five years, depending on their study program. As of January 2024, there were 82,890 international student arrivals to Australia—an increase of 23,660 students compared with the corresponding month of the previous year. This number reflects a 92% rise from January 2019. Overall, Australia’s population rose 2.5% – the fastest pace on record – to 26.8 million people in the year to last September 2023.


New Australian student visa rules in 2024

As one of the world’s top study destinations, countries like Australia constantly refresh their student visa rules and regulations to ensure that all stakeholders are protected and provided with quality services. Here are some of the latest changes to student visa rules in Australia this year:

The Migration Strategy for Australia

One of the eight tasks under the Migration Strategy, released by the Australian government last 11 December 2023, is “strengthening the integrity and quality of international education.” This is a package of integrity measures that aims to lift the standards for international students and education providers, while also ensuring graduates help meet skills shortages and do not become “permanently temporary” in the country. The new commitments under this section, which include some student visa Australia restrictions, include:

– Temporary Graduate Visa: the required IELTS score will go up from 6.0 to 6.5;

– Student Visa: the required score will increase from 5.5 to 6.0;

– for students beginning courses with an English-language training provider (ELICOS), the score changes from a 4.5 to a 5.0;

– for students going into university foundation or pathway programs, the needed score will be 5.5.

  • more scrutiny of high-risk student visa applications
  • an AU$19m investment into the Department of Home Affairs’ new “student visa integrity unit”
  • restrictions on onshore visa hopping that undermine system integrity and drive “permanent temporariness”
  • measures to support international students and graduates to realise their potential.

The Genuine Student (GS) requirement

As part of the Migration Strategy, from 23 March 2024, the GS requirement replaces the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement for Student visas. The purpose of this amendment is “to clarify the assessment of a student’s intention to genuinely study in Australia and to remove the confusion about whether the student can express a desire to migrate to Australia.” The GS requirement focuses on a student’s genuine intention to study in Australia. It considers several factors, such as their:

  • personal circumstances
  • evidence of course progression
  • immigration history
  • compliance with visa conditions
  • other relevant matter.

Changes to the Temporary Graduate visa program

Also under the Migration Strategy, the government shall apply changes to strengthen and simplify the Temporary Graduate visa (Subclass 485) to be applied by 1 July 2024.

The Graduate Work stream will be renamed to the Post-Vocational Education Work stream. The maximum eligible age for applicants goes down to 35 years of age or under. Meanwhile, Hong Kong and British passport holders will continue to be eligible if they’re under 50. Applicants must hold:

Applicants will be allowed to stay for 18 months. Hong Kong and British passport holders, however, can stay for up to five years.

Meanwhile, the Post-Study Work stream will be renamed to the Post-Higher Education Work stream. The maximum eligible age for applicants will also be reduced to 35 years of age or under (while Hong Kong and British passport holders will continue to be eligible if they’re under 50). Moreover, stay periods will change to the following:

  •  Bachelor’s degrees still allow for two years of work;
  •  Master’s by coursework degrees have been reduced from three years to two years
  •  Master’s by research degrees remain at three years
  •  PhDs have been reduced from four years to three years.

Hong Kong and British passport holders will be allowed to stay for up to five years. Meanwhile, there is a special scheme specific to Indian nationals due to the Australian Indian – Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA).

To always stay updated with the new Australian student visa rules and news concerning international students, connect with our business development experts today!

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