Australian Home Affairs Minister Clare O'neil launching the Migration Strategy Report today

Tough new visa conditions for student visas to Australia

The Australian Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil today launched the Migration Strategy of the Australian government for the next 10 years.

While there are several parts of the Migration Strategy the one most relevant to Bhutan is changes in the Student Visas.

The test score required for a Student visa will increase from IELTS (or equivalent) 5.5 to 6.0.

The test score required for a Temporary Graduate visa will increase from an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score (or equivalent) of 6.0 to 6.5 .

The test score required for students undertaking an English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS) before their main course of study will increase from IELTS (or equivalent) 4.5 to 5.0 .

The Australian Government will introduce a new Genuine Student test for all international students. The Genuine Student test will clearly incentivise applications from genuine students and discourage non-genuine students, whose primary intention is to work rather than study, from accessing Australia’s international education system.

This test will replace the existing Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement to acknowledge that post-study temporary migration (and beyond) pathways are available for those who may be eligible. At the same time, the new Genuine Student test will be clear that the vast majority of international students in Australia will return home.

To complement the introduction of the new Genuine Student test, the Government will invest AUD 19 million to significantly bolster the student visa integrity unit in Home Affairs. This will reduce the misuse of student visas by those using it to seek work in Australia instead of study and those seeking to exploit international students.v

The Government will pursue measures to further strengthen integrity, quality, entry requirements and student support across the international education sector to target non-genuine providers.

The Australian Government will apply additional scrutiny to international students applying for another student visa.

Using the new Genuine Student test, the Government will require any eligible students applying inside Australia to provide evidence in their application to demonstrate that any subsequent course is furthering their career or academic aspirations, such as undertaking a practical VET course to complement their degree, or undertaking research to gain a Masters qualification in their field of expertise.

Prospective international students who cannot demonstrate this sensible course progression from their initial course of study will not meet the Genuine Student test.

The Australian Government will restrict Temporary Graduate visa holders from transferring back to student visas while onshore.

The Australian Government is also considering other changes to restrict onshore visa hopping where it circumvents offshore processes and will make further announcements early in 2024.

The maximum eligible age for a Temporary Graduate Visa will be reduced to 35.

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