New student visa changes: What to know
On 1st July 2016, the student visa process in Australia will undergo major changes. These changes will be due to the introduction of the Simplified student visa framework (SSVF). Read here what you need to know about the changes
The new simplified student visa framework (SSVF) replaces the previous streamlined visa processing and Assessment Level frameworks.
One of the biggest changes in this new system is the student visa subclasses are reducing from eight to two.
This means, All international students will now apply for a single Student visa (subclass 500), regardless of their chosen course of study. Student guardians will apply for the new Student Guardian visa (subclass 590).
Why are these changes being introduced?
The reason behind the changes being introduced is to improve the growth of Australia’s international education sector by making the process of applying for a student visa simpler for genuine students.
How does SSVF work?
Under the SSVF, all international students will now apply for a single Student visa (subclass 500). The requirements for international students to show evidence will be based on the student’s country of citizenship AND the education provider which the student chooses to enrol with.
This will benefit low risk countries but the department still reserves the right to request financials and English language proof where necessary. Students associated with higher immigration risk, based on their countries and immigration providers will have to provide documentary evidence of financial requirements and also English language tests wherever appropriate.
EMSA’s interpretation (based on what we’ve heard)
What this means, that each school and country will be given an assessment rating and based on the combination, it will be determined what the student needs to show.
For example. If a school is rated level 1 and a country is rated level 1, then the requirements will be easier than if a school is rated level 2 and a country rated level 2.
Immigration does not want to release or reveal the ratings of providers to avoid any negativity issues. Based on what we’ve seen, we’ll be able to go through an online tool will help determine what you’ll need to provide.
Changes to documentary evidence of financial requirements.
Prior to July 2016, students only had the option of providing evidence of funds to cover travel to Australia, 12 months living, course fees and schooling costs for the student and accompanying family members.
From June 2016 students have another option, which is to provide evidence of meeting the annual income requirement. They can show funds for 12 months living, funds, course fees and school fees like before, or instead, they can provide evidence of personal annual income of at least AUD 60,000. For students who are joined by their family members, the amount is AUD 70,000 or more. The income must be the personal income of the student’s spouse or parents only.
Will the changes affect current visa holders and existing international students?
If you already hold a student visa with subclass numbers 570 to 576, your visa will remain valid and your visa conditions will not change after 1 July 2016. After 1 July 2016, family members of Student visa holders (subclasses 570-576) will however, need to apply for a subclass 500 visa, if they want to join a family member in Australia.
There are more changes to be announced. We will keep you posted.
For more information or a free education consultation, please contact EMSA today.