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Student visa: Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) to be abolished?

The proposed reforms introduce the concept of a Genuine Student Test (GST) which will prioritize high-skilled applicants capable of contributing to Australia's workforce.

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In a significant move, the Albanese government is introducing reforms to Australia’s student visa system, offering international students an enhanced opportunity to migrate to the country’s workforce after completing their studies. The new regulations aim to bolster Australia’s skilled workforce while addressing concerns over the effectiveness of the current student visa program.

Nimit Dutta’s story resonates with many aspiring international students who faced disappointment when their student visa applications were denied due to concerns about their intentions to return to their home countries after completing their studies. Nimit, like others, had dreams of pursuing education in Australia, but his plans were dashed when officials deemed him a potential risk of staying in the country indefinitely.

However, these circumstances are set to change. The forthcoming reforms will allow international students to express their intent to migrate in their visa applications, marking a significant departure from the current Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement. Under the GTE, students were limited to seeking a “quality” tertiary education with clear indication of their intention not to settle in Australia permanently.

According to a report by the Sky News, the proposed reforms introduce the concept of a Genuine Student Test (GST) which will prioritize high-skilled applicants capable of contributing to Australia’s workforce. This move is a response to the findings of the Migration Review, which highlighted the need for Australia to attract and retain talented international students. The review identified a gap between the potential of the student visa program and its actual impact on the nation’s labor force.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s government has emphasized that these reforms are a crucial step towards addressing the nation’s labour shortage while ensuring that the student visa program aligns more closely with Australia’s broader immigration goals. This comes as part of a larger effort to strengthen the country’s education export sector while tapping into the pool of high-potential international students.

Melbourne-based migration expert Chaman Preet says it’s a positive move which will eliminate the unnecessary loopholes in the system.

“It will help students express their intentions/future goals very clearly and upfront. The old system required the students to express intentions that they would return back to their home country after completing studies which was contrary to what some of them aimed for,” Ms Chaman Preet told Indian Link.

However, these changes to the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement are not without their critics. Concerns have been raised about potential abuse of the new system, with fears of sham visa submissions from applicants who may not genuinely be interested in pursuing education. To counter this, authorities will need to implement robust measures to ensure the integrity of the program.

Additionally, the expansion of net migration has sparked debate over its impact on Australia’s housing market. With projections indicating a surge of 750,000 people over the next two years and nearly 1.5 million within the next five, there are concerns about exacerbating the country’s housing supply issues. Prime Minister Albanese’s $3 billion funding commitment to construct 1.2 million homes over the next five years has been hailed as a significant step toward addressing these housing challenges.

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