November 24, 2013

485-Visa-Granted-2014The Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa offers a great opportunity for recently graduated international students to gain valuable work experience after completing their studies. This work experience helps develop the skills graduates gained during their studies and also makes them more employable upon return to their home country.
It is important to note that applicants need to meet a number of eligibility requirements to be granted the temporary graduate visa. And if the visa is granted, temporary graduate visa holders are responsible for finding their own employment.
Applying for this visa
485-Visa-StatisticsMany international students make a decision to apply for the temporary graduate visa upon completion of their studies. Graduates can apply for this visa up to six months after completion of their studies.
There is no guarantee that, on the basis of having previously held a student visa, the applicant will meet the requirements to be granted a temporary graduate visa.
Any decision to apply for a temporary graduate visa is an entirely separate process to a student visa application. Depending on their individual circumstances, applicants may be eligible to apply for a temporary graduate visa through either the graduate work stream or the post-study work stream.
For information on the eligibility requirements for the temporary graduate visa, check out the Who Can Apply tab on the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa webpage.
Finding a job
The temporary graduate visa allows recent graduates to spend time in Australia to gain practical work experience to accompany their Australian qualification(s). There are no restrictions on the type of employment that the temporary graduate visa holder may choose to undertake.
It is important to note that finding a job is the responsibility of the temporary graduate visa holder. The Australian government is not responsible for arranging employment—there are many organisations which offer assistance in job seeking, including through the Australian Government’s JobSearch website.
For further information on latest labour market test (LMT) information on selected 457 visa occupations please contact www.visaagency-australia.com or write to migration@inteducation.com
If you are interested in Australian visas, contact International Education Agency – Australia (IEAA)  for information and advice on which visa is best suited to you. You can also try our migration services to see if you are eligible to apply for a visa to Australia.

November 24, 2013

labour_market_testingLabour Market Testing (LMT) for the Australian subclass 457 visa programme has begun and further details of how it will work have now been issued by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

All applications from 23 November will be subject to the new LMT rules but those lodged before this date will be unaffected.
The Government has sought to moderate the impact on Australian employers, and has consulted widely with industry prior to introduction of the new system.
The impact of Labour Market Testing will be limited to selected occupations only. Employers sponsoring for 457 visas in most occupations will not be affected.
There are also generous exemptions for transfers of employees from subsidiaries in the Asia-Pacific region.
For employers who do not fall within one of the above exemptions, Labour Market Testing will involve an extra administrative step which could cause delay and additional expense in obtaining the necessary 457 visa.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss how the new labour market testing requirement will affect your business.
Which occupations will be affected?
In terms of exemptions, the majority of skill level one and two occupations, generally those requiring a degree or a diploma, will be exempt. But engineers, nurses and trades such as cabinet makers, boat makers, wood machinist, fitters, welders, plumbers and bricklayers are included.
Exemptions due to trade obligations include applicants who are citizens of New Zealand, Chile and Thailand. Applicants who are employed by an associated business in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) could also be exempt.
Labour Market Testing will only be required for the following types of occupations:

  • Trade occupations (ie requiring an apprenticeship or completion of the equivalent of an Australian Certificate IV)
  • Technical occupations (ie requiring a Certificate IV)
  • Engineers
  • Nurses

Which occupations are exempted?

  • Labour Market Testing will NOT be required for:
  • Most Management Positions
  • Most Professional Occupations
  • Most Associate Professional Positions (requiring a diploma level qualification)
  • The main exception to the above are people working in the engineering and nursing fields.

 
Other Exemptions to Labour Market Testing
Even if the occupation is on the LMT list, exemptions from labour market testing apply where:

  • The applicant is a citizen of Chile or Thailand, or a citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand;
  • Where the employee already works for an associated entity of the sponsor in Chile, New Zealand or an ASEAN country (Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand or Vietnam);
  • Where the employee has worked full time for the nominating business for the last 2 years;
  • Where the business operates in a WTO member country and is seeking to sponsor senior management staff to work in Australia; or
  • Where workers are required to respond to a major disaster

457 visa rules
The new rules require employers to test the local labour market before seeking to employ an overseas worker on a subclass 457 visa.
The government said that it believes it is adopting a sensible approach to the implementation of the new rules requiring employers to test the local labour market before seeking to employ an overseas worker on a subclass 457 visa.
But the rules are not as rigorous as they might have been under the previous government, most notably there is no minimum requirement for the length of time a job has to be advertised within Australia.
Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Michaelia Cash, said that labour market testing is a requirement of the Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Act 2013 which was introduced by the previous government and passed by the previous Parliament in June. The current government does not believe that there was adequate consultation.
‘The government is committed to ensuring that the subclass 457 programme acts as a supplement to, and not a substitute for Australian workers. The government fully supports the principle that Australian workers have priority, but to bind employers up in needless red tape will only stymie Australian business and cost Australian jobs over the long run,’ explained Cash.
She announced that highly skilled occupations will be exempt from the LMT requirement and employers can advertise positions on their own company websites and on social media. Businesses that are part of a Labour Agreement will also be exempt from the requirements.
Labour market testing will apply to mainly technical and trade occupations available for sponsorship under the subclass 457 visa programme. Cash explained that exemptions will also apply in a small number of cases in which labour market testing would conflict with Australia’s international trade obligations.  The Act also allows for the minister to declare exemptions in the event of a major disaster, in order to allow overseas disaster relief and recovery workers to enter Australia unimpeded.
She also said that the LMT implementation should be done in a practical way which accounts for its impact on Australian businesses and Australian workers alike.
How Must Labour Market Testing Be Conducted?
If required, Labour Market Testing will in general involve advertising the position and indicating why no suitable applicants were found from the Australian labour pool.
Labour Market Testing must have been done for the occupation at some stage in the 12 months prior to application. However, if staff have been made redundant in the occupation within the last 4 months, Labour Market Testing must be done after the redundancies have occurred.
Information provided in a Department of Immigration FAQ sheet indicates that advertising of positions via social media, company websites and other free means are perfectly acceptable ways to meet the Labour Market Testing requirement.
Alternatively, employers can provide:

  • Labour Market Research;
  • Support letters from government employment agencies; or
  • Details of the business participating in job and career expos

For further information on latest labour market test (LMT) information on selected 457 visa occupations please contactwww.visaagency-australia.comor write tomigration@inteducation.com
If you are interested in Australian visas, contact International Education Agency – Australia (IEAA)  for information and advice on which visa is best suited to you. You can also try ourmigration services to see if you are eligible to apply for a visa to Australia.

 

November 15, 2013

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The student visa program enables overseas students to come to Australia to undertake full-time study in registered courses.

When processing applications, the department ensures:

·         transparency in the requirements to be granted a student visa

·         consistency in decision-making

·         integrity of the student visa program by using objective measures of risk to determine visa requirements.

Eligibility

Before applying for a student visa, students must have been accepted for full-time study in a registered course in Australia.

A registered course is an accredited education or training course listed on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) and offered by an Australian education provider registered to offer courses to overseas students.
See:CRICOS

Applying for a student visa

Students must apply for a visa in the sector that relates to their main course of study:

·         Independent English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS) sector (subclass 570) visa

·         Schools sector (subclass 571) visa

·         Vocational Education and Training sector (subclass 572) visa

·         Higher Education sector (subclass 573) visa

·         Postgraduate Research sector (subclass 574) visa

·         Non-award sector (subclass 575) visa

·         AusAID and Defence sector (subclass 576) visa.

Generally, only students subject to Assessment Level 1 or students eligible for streamlined visa processing may be granted their first student visa while they are in Australia. Other students may only be able to obtain their first student visa while they are in Australia under exceptional circumstances.
See: Student Visa Program—Assessment Levels (formerly known as Form 1219i) (144KB PDF file)

Students who already have a student visa to study in Australia, but want to change their main course of study to one in a different education sector must apply for a new student visa in the education sector appropriate to their new main course of study.
See:Applying for a student visa (formerly known as Form 1160i) (128KB PDF file)

Assessment factors and streamlined visa processing

Students must provide evidence to satisfy the assessment criteria that apply to them before they can be granted a student visa. This may include evidence that they have the financial capacity to cover living costs in Australia—tuition fees, travel costs and capacity to support any family members. Applicants must also satisfy criteria for proficiency in English, level of education and other matters such as the potential to breach visa conditions.

The evidence required for these criteria varies according to the student visa applicant’s assessment level. Assessment Level 1 represents the lowest evidentiary requirements and Assessment Level 5 represents the highest.
See: Student Visa Program—Assessment Levels (formerly known as Form 1219i) (144KB PDF file)

Streamlined visa processing is available for prospective international students with a confirmation of enrolment (CoE) from a participating university at bachelor, masters or doctoral degree level. Student visa applicants who are eligible for streamlined visa processing are not subject to assessment levels.
See: The university sector streamlined visa processing( 80KB PDF file)

All students and accompanying family members must meet character and health requirements and obtain overseas student health cover (OSHC) for the duration of their visa. Students from Belgium, Norway and Sweden may not need OSHC if they have acceptable health cover offered by those countries.

Passport holders from certain countries may be entitled to Medicare, however it is still a requirement for overseas students to obtain OSHC for the duration of their stay in Australia while on a student visa.
See:Health insurance for students 

Course packaging

Students may ‘package’ their studies to combine a preliminary course with their main course of study on the one student visa. The subclass that applies to the package would be the one that corresponds to the main course of study. The student’s assessment level is based on the package of courses they are studying.
See: Course packaging

Visa conditions

Permission to work

Students and their dependent family members who were granted a student visa on or after 26 April 2008 have permission to work.
See:New permission to work arrangement for student visa holders(58KB PDF file)

Students and dependent family members who were granted a student visa before 26 April 2008 and have not yet applied for permission to work may only apply for permission to work after they have started their course in Australia.
See:How to apply for permission to work

Students and their dependent family members with permission to work must not undertake work until the main student visa holder has started their course in Australia. They are limited to 40 hours work per fortnight while their course is in session, but may work unlimited hours during formal holiday periods. Holders of a Postgraduate Research (subclass 574) visa who have started their course have unrestricted permission to work.

Student visa holders found to be working in excess of their limited work rights  may be subject to visa cancellation.

Family members’ permission to work

Family members who have permission to work can work up to 40 hours per fortnight once the main student visa holder has started the course of study.

Where students are on a Higher Education (subclass 573) visa, Postgraduate (subclass 574) or AusAID and Defence (subclass 576) visa and have started a masters or doctorate course, any family member who has permission to work can do so for unlimited hours.

No extension of stay

Most Assessment Level 3 and all Assessment Level 4 students (except those in the schools sector) undertaking a course or courses of 10 months duration or less, are subject to a ‘Further Stay Restricted’ condition. This condition generally prevents students from extending their stay in Australia, although they may apply for a Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa or a student visa with permission to work or a student visa with permission to work.

If an Assessment Level 3 student provides evidence of funds to cover a further 12 month stay, the ‘Further Stay Restricted’ condition is no longer mandatory.

Students who are sponsored by the Australian Government, or the government of their home country, may also be subject to a ‘Further Stay Restricted’ condition. They will only be able to extend their studies in Australia if the sponsoring government gives written consent.

Change of address

Students must inform their education provider of their current residential address within seven days of arrival and of any change of address in Australia within seven days of the change. Students must also notify their current provider of any change of enrolment to a new provider.

Family members

Family members aged 18 years or over may only study for up to three months. If they want to undertake a course of study that exceeds three months, they must apply for a student visa in their own right.

School-age family members, children aged 5–18 years, who join the student in Australia for more than three months must attend school. The student must meet any associated education or tuition costs for that child.

A student’s child aged 18 years or over cannot apply for a student visa as a family member. If they want to study in Australia, they must apply for a student visa in their own right.

Student Guardian (subclass 580) visa

Where students are under 18 years of age, it is possible for a parent or relative to apply for a student guardian visa to accompany them to Australia. The student guardian visa allows that person to stay in Australia to care for the student until they turn 18. A student guardian does not have permission to work while in Australia.

Statistics

The student visa program report is a quarterly statistical publication that provides data on the student visa program administered by the department. This report will be a valuable resource for anyone who has an interest in the international student sector.
See:Student visa statistics

Further information for students

The Education Services for Overseas Student Act 2000 provides important safeguards for overseas students in Australia. The Act regulates the activities of education providers delivering education and training to international students by setting standards and providing tuition and financial assurance.
See:Australian Education International

If students choose to work part-time while studying in Australia they have the same work rights as Australian permanent residents and citizens. For more information and advice about conditions of employment in Australia students can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman.
See:Fair Work Ombudsman

Further information is available on the department’s website.
See:www.immi.gov.au

The department also operates a national general enquiries line.
Telephone:131 881
Hours of operation:Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm. Recorded information is available outside these hours.

Fact Sheet 50 – Overseas Students in Australia

Produced by the National Communications Branch, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Canberra.  Last reviewed April 2013.

November 7, 2013
November 7, 2013

THE Abbott government yesterday moved to loosen visa restrictions to attract international students, prompting calls for increased funding for regulators to ensure there was no return to the “visa factory” that marked the height of the 2008-09 higher education boom.

From next year, tougher restrictions on students from countries with the highest risk of visa fraud will be scrapped, effectively reducing the cash such applicants are required to have in the bank to support themselves during their study.

The government has also fast-tracked a decision to extend streamlined visa processing beyond the university sector to 22 TAFEs and private providers that deliver bachelor degrees and higher qualifications.

The government wants to boost international student revenue from about $15 billion last year back to the former peak of almost $19bn. “The changes will assist all providers, but particularly the vocational education and training sector, making access to Australia’s education system more attractive for overseas students,” Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said.

TAFE Directors Australia’s head of international engagement Peter Holden welcomed the move, noting that the previous Labor government had not acted on a vow to extend streamlined processing, instead sitting on a decision for 18 months.

Mr Holden said he was disappointed that it remained limited to bachelor degree- and higher-qualification students, noting that public TAFEs should be trusted to monitor students doing sub-degree programs.

He said the loosening of restrictions should be matched by more resources for the Australian Skills Quality Authority to adequately monitor the sector. “We would be looking to ASQA to maintain, if not increase their surveillance.” Phil Honeywood, head of the International Education Association of Australia, also urged the government to extend the streamlined system to reputable vocational providers offering diplomas and certificates.

He was confident that scrutiny on degree-granting providers was sufficient, but extending streamlined processing to students undertaking diplomas and certificates would need to be backed by sufficient monitoring.

Adrian McCoomb, head of the Council of Private Higher Education, was delighted, saying that under Labor it had been a “debacle” trying to get approval for private providers to compete for international students on equal terms with universities.

Opposition higher education spokesman Kim Carr said the government should be cautious. “The advice provided to me during my time as minister was that the quality of the companies operating in this area varied considerably and that unsustainable levels of international students can lead to further questions about the quality of education.”

Source: ANDREW TROUNSON,  THE AUSTRALIAN  OCTOBER 30, 2013 

November 7, 2013

The number of visa applications granted for overseas students to study in Australia has increased by approximately 4% marking the second year in a row of growth for the sector.

Numbers had previously been falling but the financial year 2012/2013 has seen figures rise with the previous year of 290,761 applications lodged compared with 280,003, according to data from the annual Student Visa Programme Trends report.

In the second quarter of 2013, approximately 93% of visa applications assessed during this period were granted a visa.

The report shows that student visa numbers have returned to a sustainable growth over the last two years and this is part of a broader trend throughout the past 10 years.

The report states that this growth has been driven by applications lodged outside of Australia which increased by 11.1% in the same period and there were 304,251 student visa holders in Australia as of 30 June 2013. Of these visa holders, 23.4% were from China, the largest cohort, followed by 10% from India.

During the June 2013 quarter, 75% of all student visas were processed within 30 days, while 50% were processed within 14 days. About 93% of applications assessed during this period were granted a visa.

International students must have a valid visa for the duration of their studies in Australia. Most international students will need a student visa. However, visitor visas permit up to three months study and working holiday maker visas permit up to four months study.

To be eligible for a student visa, applicants must be accepted for full time study in a course listed on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS.) Applicants must also meet financial, health insurance, English language proficiency and character requirements.

There is no limit on the number of student visas issued each year. If applicants meet requirements, they will be granted a student visa. Student visas are issued for the entire period of study in Australia. Visas are issued in alignment with the period for which the applicant has Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC.)

There are two other visas related to the student visa programme, the Student Guardian (subclass 580) visa and the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa. The Student Guardian visa is for individuals who wish to accompany and care for minors studying in Australia. The Temporary Graduate visa allows international students to live and work in Australia temporarily after they have finished their studies.

Student visas include a condition that, once the course has commenced, allows most students to work for up to 40 hours per fortnight while their course is in session and for unlimited hours during course breaks.

There can be some confusion about working hours but students are urged to make sure that they know what they are permitted to do. ‘The limitation imposed by this visa condition reflects the purpose of a student visa; that it is to allow entry to Australia in order to study, not to work. Secondary visa holders are subject to a visa condition that limits them to 40 hours work per fortnight at any time,’ said an immigration spokesman.

April 11, 2012

The changes to the permanent employer sponsored visas (ENS and RSMS) coming in on 1 July 2012 are quite significant. One of the main intentions behind the changes to the ENS/RSMS programs is to streamline the process of applying for permanent residence whilst holding a 457 visa.

People will be affected differently by the new changes depending on their circumstances. This article goes through the main winners under the new system.

ENS/RSMS Eligibility Streams

The requirements for ENS and RSMS vary depending on which “eligibility stream” you apply under from 1 July. To appreciate the impact of the changes, it’s important to have an understanding of the eligibility streams:

Temporary Residence Transition:

where applicants have worked with the employer on a 457 visa for the last 2 years. Applicants in this category have a streamlined pathway onto permanent residence through ENS and RSMS from 1 July.

Direct Entry Stream:

for applicants who have not worked in Australia, or who have worked in Australia on a visa other than a 457 visa. Criteria for these applicants are higher – for ENS they must have a skills assessment and 3 years of work experience in their occupation, and RSMS applicants must get approval from a Regional Certifying Body and may also require skills assessment.

Agreement Stream:

for applicants whose employer has a Labour Agreement. Labour agreements are special arrangements individually negotiated with the Department of Immigration, and allow sponsorship in a wider range of occupations and are required for the “on-hire” or “labour hire” industry.

1. People on 457 visas in non-ENS occupations

There are many people on 457 visas who have been sponsored in an occupation which is not on the current ENS Occupations List.

Examples of such occupations include:

  • Cafe or Restaurant Manager
  • Customer Service Managers
  • Various IT specialisations
  • Intermediate service managers (eg
  • Divers and Diving Instructors
  • Farmers

People sponsored for 457 visas in these occupations are currently on a “road to nowhere” – they can stay in Australia on 457 visas, but have limited options in applying for permanent residence.

From 1 July 2012, there will be a single consolidated list of occupations which applies to 457, ENS and State/Territory Sponsored Skilled Visas.

As a result, people already on a 457 visa will be able to look at an ENS visa once they have worked with their employer on a 457 visa in their occupation for 2 years, even if their occupation is not on the current ENS list.

2. Applicants between 45 and 50 years of Age

The age limit for ENS and RSMS visas will increase from 45 to 50 from 1 July 2012.

As a result, applicants between 45 and 50 will be able to qualify for an ENS or RSMS visa without needing to show Exceptional Circumstances.

3. Applicants over 60 years on 457 visas

Under current arrangements, it is extremely difficult for applicants aged over 60 to obtain an ENS or RSMS visa. Under current DIAC policy, applicants must show that they will make a significant economic contribution to Australia and have a very high salary level ($213,000 or more).

From 1 July 2012, applicants who have worked for their employer for the last 4 years on a 457 visa and who have a salary of over $118,000 should be eligible for an exemption to the age requirement.

This will make it far more possible for applicants over 60 to qualify for migration under the Employer Nomination Scheme.

 

March 23, 2012

 

The international education sector is one of Australia’s largest export industries and is important to Australia in supporting bilateral ties with key partner countries, supporting employment in a broad range of occupations throughout the Australian economy, as well as delivering high-value skills to the economy.

In December 2010, the Australian Government appointed the Hon Michael Knight AO to conduct the first strategic review of the student visa program to help enhance the quality, integrity and competitiveness of the student visa program.

On 7 March 2011, Mr Knight released a discussion paper and encouraged interested parties to make a written submission to the review.
See: Student Visa Program Review Discussion Paper (212KB PDF file)

There were 200 submissions received and they are available on the department’s website.
See: Submissions Received by the Review Team

Report released

Mr Knight reported to the government on 30 June 2011 with 41 recommendations. On 22 September 2011, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, and Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations, Senator Chris Evans, released Mr Knight’s report, Strategic Review of the Student Visa Program 2011.
See: Strategic Review of the Student Visa Program 2011 (1.7MB PDF file)

Government’s response

The government supports in principle all of Mr Knight’s recommendations, however some recommendations will be modified in places to enhance the performance of the Australian education sector and to better safeguard the integrity of the visa system.
See: Boost to International Education Sector in Response to Knight Review – Media release

The fact sheet on the Government Response to the Knight Review of the Student Visa Program is available on the department’s website.
See: Fact Sheet – Government Response to the Knight Review of the Student Visa Program ( 72KB PDF file)

All of Mr Knight’s recommendations are available, as well as the actual or planned implementation dates.
See: Knight Review of the Student Visa Program—Recommendations with Expected Implementation Date

Stage one implementation

Stage one implementation of the Knight Review changes commenced on 5 November 2011. The following fact sheet details these changes.
See:
Fact Sheet – Stage One Implementation of the Knight Review Changes to the Student Visa program ( 66KB PDF file)
Students to Benefit as Knight Review Changes Rolled Out – Media release

Stage two implementation

The majority of the stage two Knight Review changes commenced on 24 and 26 March 2012. This includes streamlined visa processing for certain university applicants from 24 March 2012. Other stage two Knight Review changes are proposed to commence later in 2012 and in early 2013.
See:
Fact Sheet – Stage Two Implementation of the Knight Review Changes to the Student Visa Program ( 68KB PDF file)
Changes to Boost International Education – Media Release

One of the recommendations agreed to by government is the introduction of new post-study work arrangements, which are planned to come into effect in 2013.

On 30 November 2011, the government announced plans to extend eligibility of the post-study work visa. In addition to university graduates, the new post-study work arrangements are to be extended to Bachelor, Masters by coursework, Masters by research and PhD degree graduates from other education providers accredited to offer degree level programs in Australia.

The government also announced that graduates must complete their qualifications as a result of meeting the Australian study requirement which requires at least two academic years’ study in Australia.
See:
Government Extends Support for International Education – Media Release
Australian Study Requirement

To address recommendation 24 of the Knight Review, the government has recently introduced a Bill into Parliament that proposes to cease the automatic cancellation of student visas. 
See: Improvements for Existing Student Visa Holders ( 76KB PDF file)

Discussion paper on the Review of the Student Visa Assessment Level Framework (Recommendation 32)

Comments on the discussion paper on the Review of the Student Visa Assessment Level Framework closed on 16 March 2012.
See: Discussion Paper on the Review of the Student Visa AL Framework (201KB PDF file)

Frequently asked questions

The following information package provides further detail on the Knight Review changes to the student visa program.
See:
The University Sector – Streamlined Processing ( 88KB PDF file)
Post-Study Work Arrangements ( 75KB PDF file)
Genuine Temporary Entrant Requirement ( 94KB PDF file)
Vocational Education and Training (VET), Schools and Non-Award Sectors ( 87KB PDF file)
English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) Sector ( 76KB PDF file)
Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Sector ( 79KB PDF file)
More Flexible Work Conditions ( 68KB PDF file)
Improvements for Existing Student Visa Holders ( 76KB PDF file)
Visa Processing Improvements ( 75KB PDF file)
Education Visa Consultative Committee (EVCC) ( 49KB PDF file)
Review of Assessment Level Framework ( 62KB PDF file)

See also: 
Review of Assessment Level Framework – Terms of Reference ( 59KB PDF file)
List of External Reference Group Members – Revi
ew of Assessment Level Framework

 

March 23, 2012

 

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, today announced key changes to the student visa program recommended by the Knight Review will commence from 24 March, as part of the government’s commitment to position Australia as a preferred study destination for international students.

‘International education plays a vital role in a growing economy, educational outcomes and Australia’s diplomatic engagement with other countries, so it’s important that we give it the best possible support,’ Mr Bowen said.

‘From 24 March, we are implementing streamlined visa processing arrangements for prospective students enrolled in Bachelor, Masters or Doctoral degrees at participating universities, making the application process simpler and faster.’

In recognition of these institutions’ track record, university students — regardless of their country of origin — will be treated as though they are lower risk and will need to submit less evidence in support of their visa application, similar to the current assessment level (AL) 1.

‘Universities in Australia have embraced the opportunity to sign up to the arrangements, which are expected to help boost international enrolments for semester two 2012 and beyond,’ Mr Bowen said.

From 26 March, the government will provide more flexible work conditions for all student visa holders, which will also provide more flexibility for their employers.

In recognition of the importance of the higher degree by research sector, the government will also allow postgraduate research (subclass 574) visa holders to work an unlimited amount of hours per week once their course has commenced, which will mean they can engage in employment related to their research.

Other Knight Review changes to be implemented from 24 March include:

Improved access to English language study for schools sector visa applicants and for student guardian visa holders

Removal of the requirement for higher risk schools sector visa applicants to provide evidence of an English language proficiency test.

In line with the Knight Review recommendations, the minister today introduced legislation to Parliament to abolish the automatic visa cancellation process for international students.

The Student Legislation Amendment (Student Visas) Bill will reduce complexity and uncertainty for students and provide for fairer, more efficient monitoring and compliance processes.

 

Thursday, 22 March 2012