Australia Crackdown on Visa Hopping: New Rules for Visitor to Student Visa Starting July 1

Australia is implementing stricter student visa regulations to prevent "visa hopping." The new rules, effective July 1, 2024, restrict applications for student visas from those already in Australia on visitor or temporary graduate visas.
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Starting July 1, Australia will implement a significant change to its visa policies, effectively closing the door on transitioning from a visitor visa to a student visa while onshore.

This announcement, made by Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil on June 12, aims to eliminate what the government describes as “visa hopping” within the migration system.

What is Visa Hopping?

Visa hopping refers to the practice of strategically using different temporary visas to extend one’s stay in a country beyond the validity of their initial visa. This might involve leaving the country briefly and re-entering to obtain a new visa or switching between different types of temporary visas allowed within the country.

New Measures Announced

Effective July 1, 2024, applying for a student visa from within Australia on a visitor or temporary graduate visa will no longer be possible. This move aims to address concerns about individuals using temporary visas as a stepping stone to extended stays in the country.

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Must Read: Top 7 Updates to Australia’s Student Visa and Immigration Rules for 2024

Government’s Perspective

Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neil stated that these changes align with the government’s Migration Strategy, which prioritizes attracting international students with genuine study intentions.

She emphasized the need for a migration system that fosters desired skills while maintaining integrity and preventing exploitation of loopholes.

Impact on International Education

The new regulations have drawn criticism from the industry. English Australia, an industry body, expressed concerns that the changes unfairly penalize genuine students who initially visit to assess their study environment.

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They argue that this approach could negatively impact high-quality institutions catering to such students.

Additionally, concerns were raised about a lack of data-driven evidence for the policy’s effectiveness and its potential to hinder Australia’s economic growth, potentially leading to a recession.

Also Read: Australia Launches Innovation Visa Program, Ending Golden Visas

Student Considerations

Previously, prospective students often opted for visitor visas to explore potential study locations and institutions before committing to a student visa application. This practice, according to English Australia, represents genuine student behaviour and should be encouraged, not discouraged.

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Further Changes on the Horizon

These student visa reforms are part of a broader trend of adjustments to Australia’s higher education sector. The coming months are expected to see the implementation of enrollment caps for international students, further complicating the application process.

Additionally, changes to temporary graduate visas implemented in March 2024 include reduced post-study work rights, stricter age limits, and increased language requirements.

Conclusion

As Australia navigates these significant changes to its migration policies, prospective international students and educational providers must adapt to a new regulatory environment. The full impact of these reforms will unfold in the coming months, shaping the future of Australia’s international education sector.


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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Travelobiz.com, he's passionate about writing.

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