Australia’s Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen, has announced that the government will make the visa application process easier for students from 29 countries.
Assessment levels across a range of student visa subclasses will be reduced from 24 March as part of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s (DIAC) 2011 review of student visa assessment level settings, which recommended that a number of assessment levels be changed.
‘While it was recommended that some assessment levels be increased, I have decided to only implement the reductions in order to best support Australia’s international education sector,’ Bowen said.
‘Lowering the minimum evidentiary requirement for the grant of a student visa for selected countries and visa subclasses is expected to help around 10,500 prospective students,’ he explained.
‘These changes will particularly benefit the postgraduate research sector, English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) and vocational education and training (VET) providers,’ he added.
For example, South Koreans studying VET and ELICOS courses and postgraduate research students from China, India and Indonesia will now find it easier to apply for visas.
Bowen said that the reduction in assessment levels builds on the measures implemented as a result of the Strategic Review of the Student Visa Programme undertaken by Michael Knight to ensure Australia remains an attractive study option for overseas students.
He confirmed that assessment levels are regarded as an important tool in managing the student visa programme as they ensure the efficient delivery of services to a diverse range of students while supporting the integrity of Australia’s immigration programme.
Assessment levels align visa requirements to the immigration risk posed by students from every country and in each education sector. They are regularly reviewed and amended to accurately reflect the risk posed by a student cohort.
Those countries and sectors that were recommended to be subject to an increase in assessment levels will be placed on notice and reviewed as part of any future reforms to the risk management framework.