Australia has taken decisive steps to strengthen its international education system by closing a significant loophole that allowed education providers to shift international students into work arrangements shortly after their arrival.
In addition to this, the Australian government has increased the financial requirements for international students applying for a student visa, aiming to ensure their financial stability during their studies.
Financial Requirement Increase
Effective October 1, 2023, international students seeking a student visa for Australia will now be required to demonstrate evidence of financial capacity amounting to $24,505. This figure represents a 17 per cent increase from the previous requirement.
The adjustment accounts for indexation since 2019, and it’s important to note that this financial threshold pertains to the student applicant only. If the applicant wishes to bring dependents, they must meet the revised financial capacity criteria as specified by the visa requirements.
Why is Australia making these changes?
The Australian government has identified a number of concerning trends in the international education sector, including:
- A sharp increase in the use of the concurrent function, allows international students to enrol in multiple courses at the same time.
- A significant number of international students transfer to cheaper, lower-quality courses after arriving in Australia.
- A number of cases of international students being exploited by unscrupulous education providers.
Ensuring Student Financial Stability
This substantial increase in the financial requirement is a proactive measure taken by the Australian government to ensure that international students arriving in the country can adequately support themselves financially.
The move is designed to prevent students from facing undue pressure to seek immediate employment upon arrival, which can sometimes lead to exploitation and compromise the quality of their educational experience.
Enhanced Scrutiny and Fraud Prevention
To further strengthen the integrity of the international education system, the Australian government will intensify its scrutiny of high-risk applicant cohorts. Additional documentation and verification procedures will be implemented to prevent fraud in visa applications.
These measures are aimed at upholding the credibility and reputation of Australia’s international education sector.
Addressing a Loophole
The closure of the visa loophole is a significant step in preserving the integrity of the international education system in Australia. In 2023, there has been a sharp increase in the use of this loophole, with 17,000 concurrent enrollments recorded in the first half of the year.
This number is notably higher than the combined total for the same period in 2019 and 2022, which stood at approximately 10,500.
Government’s Commitment to Quality Education
Australia recognizes the importance of its international education sector, which is its fourth-largest export. Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neil emphasized the government’s commitment to maintaining a global reputation for quality education.
She stated, “International education is our fourth largest export — it’s essential that we maintain our global reputation for quality education. Our government has no tolerance for people who exploit students. Our message is clear — the party is over, and the rorts and loopholes that have plagued this system will be shut down.”
In summary, Australia’s measures to close the visa loophole and increase financial requirements for international students reflect its commitment to safeguarding the quality and integrity of its international education sector while ensuring the well-being of students pursuing their studies in the country.