As the aim of the Department of Immigration to consolidate requirements and “strengthen the integrity of the program”, the Student Visa Program has simplified and changed since 1st July of 2016.
Let’s have a look to the changes:
- Only one Student Visa. One for all, SIMPLE!
There used to be 8 Student Visa Subclasses (including the Student Guardian, for those coming to Australia to look after underage students). Now it will be only one Student Visa, the Subclass 500 (Student) and a Visa for Guardians of Students under 18 years old, the Subclass 590 (Student Guardian).
- No more assessment levels by country
The previous system determined the document requirements of the visa application based on an applicant’s nationality and the enrolled courses. It has now been replaced by a single document checklist tool available on the the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) website. The risk level is determined by the nationality and the education provider(s). See below for details.
- Now Education Providers are part of the decision.
The government wants that English language colleges, vocational colleges and universities to only accept genuine students, therefore they will be rated by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and be given a Risk Rating from 1 to 3. Additionally, they will be rated by the DIBP and allocated a risk rating from 1 to 3. The risk assessment result determines whether the student visa application will go through a STREAMLINED or REGULAR way of processing.
Risk Rating 1: If a Student applies to study with a provider that has a low risk rating (Risk Rating 1), their application will be treated as “Streamlined” and they will not have to demonstrate minimum levels of English, they just have to declare having access to funds to support themselves and family members during their stay in Australia.
Risk Rating 2: If a Student applies to study with a provider that has a Risk Rating of 2, their application will be treated as “Streamlined” and they will be the same treat as Risk Rating 1 as above, however, some countries considered “risk countries” by the department of immigration will have their applications treated as “Regular”. In those cases, applicants for Student Visas will need to show evidence of having minimum levels of English (through English tests) and demonstrate they have enough financial resources to support themselves and family members during their stay in Australia.
Risk Rating 3: If the education provider Risk Rating 3, then even more countries will be classified as a “Regular” Student Visa application process having to show English and financial evidence.
The Risk Rating of an educational institution will be reviewed every 6 months based on the percentage of the students accepted that ended up becoming illegal after their studies, who had their Student Visas cancelled for breaching their conditions, who had their Student Visa applications refused for presenting fake documents or fraudulent information, among others.
What will remain the same?
- Application fees. Take into account, the Department of Immigration can increase fees without further notice;
- Students will still have to make arrangements for their private health covers (OSHC);
- Most visa conditions remain the same;
- The Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) will remain – in fact it will be stricter.