How Australia’s New Student Visa Rule Change Affects Indians

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Australia has recently implemented stricter visa rules for international students, significantly affecting Indian students aspiring to study there. The most notable change is the increased required savings a student must have to qualify for a visa. 

Here’s a detailed look at how these new rules impact Indian students and what they mean for future applicants.

Increased Financial Requirements

Starting May 10, 2024, international students must show they have at least A$29,710 (₹16,29,964) in savings to qualify for a visa. This amount is pegged to 75% of the national minimum wage in Australia. The adjustment aims to ensure that students can afford their living expenses, considering that they might not be in class for 25% of the year and might need to work during that period. This financial requirement will help students plan their future better, ensuring they have enough funds to sustain themselves while studying.

This is the second increase in seven months, following a hike from A$21,041 (₹11,54,361) to A$24,505 (₹13,44,405) in October. The repeated increases underscore the government’s intent to make sure that only those students who can genuinely afford to live and study in Australia without undue financial strain are granted visas.

Reasons Behind the Stricter Rules

The Australian government has tightened visa rules due to the significant influx of people since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in 2022. This surge in population has led to problems such as a shortage of rental homes. By raising the financial threshold for student visas, the government aims to manage the flow of international students and ease the pressure on housing and other resources.

In addition to financial requirements, the government has raised English language requirements for student visas and is implementing policies to prevent students from extending their stay through loopholes.

Record High in Student Visas

Despite these tighter regulations, the number of temporary student visas granted reached a record high of 6,54,870 in July 2023, showing a significant increase from the previous year. This surge indicates the continuing strong demand for Australian education among international students.

Other Measures to Support International Students

To support international students, the Australian government has implemented several other measures:

  1. Genuine Student (GS) Requirement: The Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement has been replaced with the Genuine Student (GS) requirement. This ensures that students are genuinely coming to study rather than to work.
  2. Post-Study Work Rights (PSWR): From July 1, 2023, Post-Study Work Rights were extended by up to two years, allowing students to find employment related to their field of study.
  3. Minimum Language Proficiency: International students must now have a minimum total score of 5.5 to enroll in universities and programs.
  4. Limited Work Hours: Work hours during study terms and semesters have been limited to 48 hours per fortnight from July 1, 2023, ensuring that students focus primarily on their studies.
  5. Skilled-Recognised Graduate Visa: The Skilled-Recognised Graduate visa, previously allowing recent engineering graduates to stay, work, or study in Australia for up to 18 months, now has limitations effective from December 22, 2023.
  6. Course Enrolment Restrictions: Effective September 8, 2023, international students can no longer enroll in two courses simultaneously within the first six months of their principal course.

These changes reflect the government’s broader strategy to manage migration, maintain a sustainable rental market, and ensure the international education sector operates with integrity.

Last Words

The new visa rules introduced by the Australian government mark a significant shift in its approach to managing international students. While these changes might pose challenges for Indian students planning to study in Australia, they are designed to ensure that students who do come can afford to live and study comfortably. Future applicants must carefully plan their finances and meet the new requirements to pursue their educational goals in Australia.

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