Changes in Australia's Migration Strategy - How does that impact international students from India?
Australia’s new immigration policy was announced on Monday, bringing an overhaul of the entire system with stricter rules for those on temporary visas. What Australia aims to do by this is to reduce the high levels of immigration to the country and to bring it down to more manageable levels.
Some changes that have been introduced that specifically impact international students are:
- Stricter English Language requirements for both the Student Visa and the Temporary Graduate Visa
IELTS (or equivalent) 5.5 to 6.0
English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS) 4.5 to 5.0
Temporary Graduate Visa
IELTS (or equivalent) 6.0 to 6.5
- The Genuine Student Test (GST) replaces the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) as a way to better identify actual genuine students whose intention is to study.
- Restrictions on switching between Visas/ ‘Visa-Hopping Restrictions’; additional scrutiny for those applying for a second student visa, switching back to a student visa from a Temporary Graduate Visa, while still onshore in Australia, will also no longer be permitted.
- Education Providers; low-risk education providers will receive priority when it comes to processing visa applications. New steps will also be introduced to ensure the integrity and quality of education providers along with the support they provide to international students which will be a way to target shady education providers
Impact on International Students from India
However, if you are an Indian student, you need not panic. Though the new immigration strategy brings in stricter rules and reduces the duration of the Temporary Graduate Visa, Indian students may not be impacted by this particular change. In 2022, India and Australia signed the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA). This agreement came into force in December 2022.
Under this agreement, it was clearly specified in relation to Post-Study Work Visas, Australia agrees to maintain the following opportunities for former students to live, study and work in Australia temporarily after finishing their studies:
- upon completion of diploma or trade qualifications, stays of up to 18 months
- upon completion of bachelor degree (including honours), stays of up to 2 years
- upon completion of masters by research and masters by coursework, stays of up to 3 years
- upon completion of doctoral degrees, stays of up to 4 years.
Australian High Commissioner to India, Philip Green has said that any “commitments agreed between India and Australia under the AI-ECTA will be upheld under the terms of the new Migration Strategy.” Green confirmed that Indian student graduates will continue to remain eligible for the Temporary Graduate Visa lengths (as listed above) on the basis of their educational achievements.
Though the new Migration Strategy may not end up having a major impact on Indian Indian students; however, do keep in mind that, as part of the reforms, Indian students will have to follow the newer, more strict requirements while applying for Visas. This is to ensure that visas for all genuine student applicants are processed. So, if you are a genuine student, then you need not panic while lodging your Visa application.