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Changes to Student and Graduate Visas

14 December 2023

Changes to the Student and Temporary Graduate Visas were announced on 11 December 2023 as part of the Federal Government’s new Migration Strategy. These changes aim to place downward pressure on migration levels by reducing the number of non-genuine student arrivals and non-genuine education providers, increasing focus on integrity and quality in the student and graduate visa program.

A number of initiatives have been proposed, including:

  • An increase to the English language requirements for Student and Temporary Graduate Visas;
  • Increased scrutiny of Student Visa applications from identified high risk providers;
  • Strengthening the Student Visa Integrity Unit with an investment of $19 million;
  • Strengthening requirements for international education providers;
  • Restricting onshore visa hopping by increasing scrutiny of subsequent onshore Student Visa applications and restricting Temporary Graduate visa holders from transferring back to Student Visas while onshore; and
  • Simplifying Graduate visas to smoothen the transition between a Student to Graduate Visa and strengthening the pathway from Graduate visas to temporary skilled visas.

To be implemented in early 2024, proposed increases to the English Language requirements are as follows:

  • Student Visa: to increase from IELTS (or equivalent) of 5.5 to 6.0.
    • For students undertaking an English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS) before their main course of study: to increase from IELTS (or equivalent) 4.5 to 5.0.
    • For students undertaking university foundation or pathway programs that deliver reputable English language training: to be introduced at IELTS (or equivalent) 5.5.
  • Temporary Graduate Visa: to increase from IELTS (or equivalent) of 6.0 to 6.5.

A new Genuine Student Test will also be introduced for all international students, replacing the current Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement.

The work experience requirement for a Temporary Skills Shortage visa (and future Skills in Demand visa) will also be changed to give Graduate visa holders more opportunity to move onto a skilled visa, while reforms to the points test will provide faster pathways to permanent residency.

If you would like assistance in navigating these changes, you can book in for a free 10 minute phone call or a consultation with one of our migration lawyers.

An experienced migration lawyer can make all the difference when you need.