The Australian government has introduced several changes to the student visa program in 2024, aiming to enhance the quality and integrity of international education in the country.
As an international student looking to study in Australia, it’s important you understand these new rules and how they will impact your plans. This comprehensive guide outlines the key updates you need to know.
1. Stricter English Language Requirements
One of the most significant student visa changes is the increase in English language test scores needed for visa approval. From early 2024, the minimum IELTS score required will be 6.0 for student visa applicants, up from 5.5 previously.
For post-study work visas, the minimum IELTS score will be 6.5. This change ensures students have a strong grasp of English to support their studies and integration in Australia.
2. New “Genuine Student” Test
A new “Genuine Student” test will be introduced in 2024, replacing the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement.
This test aims to ensure student visa applicants are genuine in their intention to study, not just work, in Australia. Students will need to provide more evidence about their study plans and intentions.
3. Increased Financial Requirements
The minimum funds international students need to show when applying for a visa will be increased to A$24,505, up 17% from the previous level. This change accounts for increasing costs of living and studying in Australia. It prevents financial distress that could impact students’ education.
4. Fewer Work Hours Allowed
Currently, international students can work 40 hours per fortnight while studying full-time. But from July 2023, this will be reduced to just 48 hours per fortnight – 24 hours maximum per week.
The change aims to ensure students are focused on their studies, not prioritising work.
5. Extra Scrutiny For High-Risk Students
Student visa applications from “high-risk” courses or education providers will receive extra scrutiny from immigration officials. This aims to clamp down on dodgy providers exploiting the international student system.
6. Stronger Visa Compliance
Immigration officials warn compliance checking on student visa applications will be stronger than ever in 2024.
Students must ensure their documents are genuine and they fully meet eligibility criteria to gain visa approval and avoid cancellation later.
7. Recognition of Indian Degrees
One positive change is that from late 2023, educational degrees earned in India will be formally recognised for skilled migration in Australia, and vice versa. This benefits Indian students who want to work in Australia post-study.
The Australian government’s changes to student visas aim to enhance integrity in international education and manage record migration levels. For students, it means meeting higher English and financial requirements, reduced work rights, and more scrutiny on visa applications.
Visa compliance post-arrival will also be tighter. While more demanding, the changes ultimately sustain Australia’s world-class education system. Carefully reviewing the new rules is vital for prospective international students.