Australia Plans to Implement Stricter Visa Rules for Int’l Students to Curb Migration Numbers

Australia Oceania International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News Dec 12, 2023

Australian bridge

Australia has recently announced that it would implement stricter visa rules for international students and low-skilled workers in an attempt to curb migration numbers.

The government said it plans to halve the migration intake over the next two years, aiming to fix the migration system, which they describe as “broken”, and return the numbers to the normal level, Erudera.com reports.

Under the newly proposed policies, international students will be required to achieve higher scores on English proficiency tests. Additionally, a careful examination will be applied to the second visa application of students.

The duration of graduate visas will also be reduced and the eligible age for these visas will change from 50 to 35. Graduates will no longer be able to switch to their student visas.

The decision, which follows projections that say net immigration is expected to reach a record 510,000 in 2022/23, was also welcomed by Universities Australia, the peak body for the university sector.

“We support the government’s focus on streamlining the system and adding flexibility to ensure it is fit for purpose and can meet Australia’s skills and economic needs in the coming decades.”

Speaking during a media briefing, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil highlighted the need for a strategic approach to address the current challenges in Australia’s migration system.

“But it’s not just about numbers. It’s not just about this moment and the experience of migration our country is having at this time. This is about Australia’s future,” O’Neil said, adding that the surge in net overseas migration in 2022/23 was mainly driven by the influx of international students in the country.

Australian citizens have voiced concerns about migration intake in Australia, with a significant share saying it is too high.

According to a survey conducted for the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday, 62 percent of Australian voters believe Australia is experiencing an overly high influx of migrants.

As the Australian government takes steps to fix its migration system, the impact of these changes will be felt by international students who, in large numbers, choose Australia as their study destination each year.

The number of international students in Australia has doubled over the past ten years. There were 340,000 international students pursuing education in the country in 2012, which now exceeds 746,000.

Most recent government data indicate that 746,080 international students were enrolled at Australian education institutions for the January - September 2023 period. That was a 31 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

© Laura Cros | Unsplash

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