Australia is making changes to the rules for international students who want to study here. Starting from October 1, 2023, if you want to get a student visa, you’ll need to show that you have enough money – at least $24,505.
This is a bit more money than before, about 17% higher. The goal is to make sure students have enough money to live and study in Australia and to stop anyone from taking advantage of students who might not have enough money.
This new initiative was one of many announced by Jason Clare MP, Minister for Education, and Brendan O’Connor MP, Minister for Skills and Training.
The reform comes on the back of a surge in visa applications from various nations, including India, characterised by fraudulent practices. Instances of students providing inaccurate financial information to gain entry into Australia have been on the rise. Consequently, Australia has declined thousands of such applications.
The sector is also experiencing an increase in exploitative activities that threaten the well-being of students and the country’s global education standing.
The Albanese Government has unveiled a comprehensive suite of measures to buttress the authenticity of the international education domain and extend genuine support to overseas students. These initiatives are designed to curb the proliferation of deceitful courses and shield the industry’s reputation. This development comes as the sector grapples with a surge in exploitative activities, which jeopardize the well-being of students and Australia’s global standing in education.
The joint media statement issued by Jason Clare and Brendan O’Connor spotlights the pivotal role of sustaining the quality and reputation of international education, which stands as Australia’s fourth-largest export industry. The measures intend to address the abuse of the concurrent enrollment system, enhance financial prerequisites for visa applicants, and augment scrutiny of high-risk cohorts.
A pivotal change introduced is the closure of a loophole that previously enabled educational institutions to maneuver international students with less than six months of residence in Australia into a scheme facilitating access to work opportunities in the country. Termed “concurrent enrollment,” this practice has witnessed a significant uptick in 2023, resulting in 17,000 such enrollments during the first half of the year. This surge prompted investigations, exposing the system’s misuse and its potential to compromise the sector’s integrity.
Minister Jason Clare stressed the gravity of this adjustment, stating, “This modification will effectively curtail predatory ‘second’ providers from enrolling students before they have fulfilled the requisite six months of study at their initial provider.” This action aims to shield international students from unethical practices while bolstering the credibility of Australia’s educational offerings.
Brendan O’Connor, the Minister for Skills and Training, accentuated the significance of these amendments for the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector. Acknowledging its pivotal role in preparing the workforce for forthcoming employment prospects, O’Connor emphasized, “Nine out of 10 future jobs will necessitate a post-secondary qualification and VET constitutes a crucial conduit towards securing these jobs.” This underscores the administration’s commitment to elevating the credibility and standing of the sector.
In addition to these measures, the government is intensifying scrutiny of high-risk cohorts and contemplating the use of suspension certificates under Section 97 of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act (ESOS Act) to address providers exhibiting concerning practices. This potential action signifies a landmark step, with the Albanese Government poised to wield its authority to suspend the recruitment of international students by high-risk education providers.
Minister Clare O’Neil reaffirmed the government’s determination to eradicate exploitative practices from the international education panorama: “Our message is unequivocal – the era of irregularities and loopholes undermining this system is drawing to a close.” This proactive stance echoes the government’s dedication to safeguarding international students, preserving the sector’s reputation, and consolidating Australia’s global stature as an education hub.