Australia’s recent announcement of a new immigration policy has stirred confusion among aspiring Indian students looking to pursue higher education in the country. The key amendment revolves around the upper age limit for applying for a temporary graduate visa (TGV) with work rights, which has been reduced from 50 to 35.
Australia’s New Immigration Policy
Key changes like the reduced age limit for Temporary Graduate Visas (TGVs) with work rights and unclear implementation details have sparked concerns. Let’s unpack the key points and address some of the pressing questions.
Age Limit Ambiguity
One major point of confusion is whether this age limit applies to already enrolled students or exclusively to future admissions.
The lack of clarity on this crucial aspect has left many students uncertain about their eligibility for Temporary Graduate Visas, particularly those who embarked on their higher education journey after the age of 35 in the past few years.
Insights from Webinar Interaction
A recent webinar shed light on the new policy, where Indian immigration consultants engaged with officials from the Australian Education Department, Home Affairs, and Austrade departments. Despite the informative session, the officials remained silent on the applicability of the age limit criterion to existing students, leaving a void of uncertainty.
The Impact on International Students
Numerous Indian students currently in Australia find themselves grappling with confusion. Some are exploring alternative options such as the employer sponsorship visa, which allows regional employers to address labour shortages by sponsoring skilled overseas workers.
However, this avenue restricts candidates to working exclusively for the sponsoring employer.
Addressing ‘Visa Hopping’
Sources suggest that the Australian government implemented the age limit reduction to curb instances of ‘visa hopping.’ This practice involved tourists entering Australia on a visitor visa, enrolling in a study program, and subsequently applying for an on-shore study visa.
The recent policy change puts an end to this onshore visa-granting facility, aiming to streamline the immigration process.
Special Provisions and Concerns
While the new policy introduces changes, certain provisions offer opportunities for Indian students. Those undertaking a two-year diploma course can benefit from 18 months of work rights under the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA).
Master’s students enjoy a continuous three-year work right, while PhD candidates can work for four years post-completion.
However, students enrolled in STEM courses, ranging from three to four years, face uncertainties. Originally proposed as a five-year work visa, they now qualify for two to three years, with first-class honours securing a three-year work permit.
Government’s Message: Focusing on Youthful Talent
With the reduction of the age limit for TGV applications to 35 years, the Australian government sends a clear signal about their preference for young and genuine students. This move aligns with the broader goal of fostering a youthful and talented student population within the country.
In conclusion, while the new immigration policy introduces challenges and uncertainties, it also presents opportunities for Indian students. Navigating these changes requires a thorough understanding of the policy’s nuances and the potential impact on individual academic and professional journeys.