April 19, 2024

Changes to Australian Student and Graduate Visas

Australia is tightening its student and graduate visa requirements. Visa refusals are at a record high.

From increased English language requirements to a revamped application process. Staying informed and prepared for what lies ahead is important.  We are here to guide you through these transitions, ensuring you navigate them smoothly and emerge successfully in your pursuit of education and new life in Australia.

 

First off, let’s talk about the English Language Requirement.

Changes to Australian Student Visa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Student visas (subclass 500)

  • The minimum test score for the English proficiency requirement required for a Student visa increases from IELTS 5.5 to 6.0 (or its equivalent in PTE).
  • The minimum score required to undertake a packaged ELICOS from IELTS increases from 4.5 to 5.0 (or equivalent).
  • Students undertaking accredited university foundation or pathway programs that provide reputable English language training require a test score of IELTS 5.5 (or equivalent).

For Temporary Graduate visas (subclass 485)

  • The minimum IELTS score has been raised from 6.0 to 6.5 (or equivalent), with a minimum score of 5.5 required for each component of the test (reading, writing, speaking, and listening).
  • Additionally, the validity window for the English language test has been reduced from 3 years to 1 year, emphasising the importance of recent language proficiency.
  • Passport holders from Hong Kong and British National Overseas (BNO) are exempt from meeting the increased minimum English language requirement. The criteria for this group remains at IELTS 6.0 (or equivalent), with a minimum score of 5.0 required for each component of the test.

Increasing English language requirements for students undertaking VET and higher education courses requires a similar increase in scores for those taking packaged ELICOS courses.

Yes, that is right. The Australian Government is raising the bar!

 

First off, let's talk about the English Language Requirement.

 

But that’s not all – say goodbye to the Genuine Temporary Entrant criterion (GTE) and hello to the Genuine Student Requirement.

The 300-word statement in the student visa application form will be replaced with targeted questions in the Genuine Student Requirement. The GTE requirement will be retained for Student Guardian visa applicants.

So, what does this mean for you? Well, no more jumping through hoops to prove your temporary stay intentions. Instead, you’ll need to answer a set of questions related to your application. 

The Genuine Student requirement evaluates the applicant’s genuine intention to study in Australia, considering factors such as their personal situation, evidence of course advancement, immigration record, compliance to visa conditions, and other relevant details.

These changes apply to all Student and Temporary Graduate visa applications lodged on and after 23 March 2024. This is aimed at safeguarding Australia’s education system and attracting high-quality students and to help the Department of Home Affairs identify students who are not genuinely interested in studying in Australia but have other motives for entering the country.

 

Changes to Australian Student Visa

 

Here’s another update for those considering a switch from a Visitor Visa to a Student Visa once you’re in Australia. The Department has announced that they will put  “No Further Stay Conditions” on Visitor Visas.

What does it mean for you? You won’t be able to apply for a new visa while you are in Australia. It’s a crucial obstacle that requires careful consideration and strategic planning for prospective students.

We know this is a lot and it can be overwhelming. We at Auspire Immigration Services, understand the importance of navigating these changes with confidence and clarity.

Our team of Immigration Lawyers, Registered Migration Agents and Education Agents is here to provide personalised guidance and support every step of the way. Whether you need assistance with visa applications, language proficiency tests, or academic pathways, we are committed to helping you achieve your goals.

So if you need help, you can contact our office for advice and assistance. Book a consultation and our team of Immigration Lawyers, Registered Migration Agents, and Education Agents will assist you!

 

 

December 26, 2023

Exciting times in Australian Immigration: The Government has released its new Migration Strategy. One of the highlights is the introduction of the 4-year Skills in Demand Visa as a replacement for the Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) 482 Visa.

While additional details are pending further consultation, most changes are scheduled to be implemented in 2024. Notably, as of 8 December 2023, there has been a simplification of the Labour Market Testing for employer sponsored visas. Companies no longer need to advertise with Workforce Australia.

Australia’s Migration Strategy roadmap outlines eight key actions. These are the result of consultations with various stakeholders, including businesses, unions, international education, civil society, and the broader Australian community.

8 Key Actions

  1. Targeting temporary skilled migration to address skills needs and promote worker mobility
  2. Reshaping permanent skilled migration to drive long-term prosperity
  3. Strengthening the integrity and quality of international education
  4. Tackling worker exploitation and the misuse of the visa system
  5. Planning migration to get the right skills in the right places
  6. Tailoring regional visas and the Working Holiday Maker Program to support regional Australia and its workers
  7. Deepening our people-to-people ties in the Indo-Pacific
  8. Simplifying the migration system to improve the experience for migrants and employers

 

Changes to Temporary Work Visas

Australia’s temporary skilled migration system aims to alleviate labour shortages in the country and create a pathway for individuals to potentially become permanent residents in the future. 

Temporary Visa Australia


The Temporary Skills Shortage Visa often lacks clear routes to Permanent Residency. While many visa holders have short-term business purposes, the absence of well-defined pathways, especially for those intending longer stays, causes uncertainty. This situation poses a risk of Australia losing valuable skills and talents. The dependence on a single employer for a permanent residency pathway gives too much power to individual employers, making migrant workers more vulnerable to exploitation.

 

New Skills In Demand Visa

The government plans to launch a new 4-year temporary skilled worker visa known as the Skills in Demand Visa. This visa aims to offer workers greater flexibility in changing employers and will establish distinct routes to permanent residency for those interested. The Skills in Demand Visa will incorporate three specific pathways, aligning with the recommended ‘risk-based approach to regulation’ outlined in the Migration Review.

 

  1. SPECIALIST SKILLS PATHWAY

    Highly skilled migrant in Australia

    For highly skilled migrants
    – Any occupation except trades workers, machinery operators and drivers, and labourers
    – Earning at least $135,000 (the Specialist Skills Threshold) and no less than Australian workers in the same occupation
    7 days visa processing time

     

  2. CORE SKILLS PATHWAY

    Machinery operators

    – Most temporary skilled migrants will come through the Core Skills Pathway (trades workers, machinery operators and drivers, and labourers)
    – Applicant must have an occupation on the new Core Skills Occupation List

    – Salary at or above the TSMIT ($70,000)
    21 days visa processing time

     

  3. ESSENTIAL SKILLS PATHWAY

    Aged Care worker

          – For lower-paid workers with essential skills (salary under $70,000)
          – Focused on the care and support economy

The expectation is that the primary source of visas will be through the Core Skills Visa Pathway.

Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy

The consideration involves collecting the Skills Australia Fund (SAF) levy in smaller, gradual payments over time to accommodate the greater freedom visa holders have in changing employers. Exploring a monthly or quarterly payment model is part of this evaluation.

Streamline Labour Market Testing

Effective 8 December 2023, the Australian Government has moved to streamline Labour Market Testing (LMT) by eliminating the need to advertise positions through Workforce Australia. Additionally, the validity period will be extended from 4 to 6 months. This change is not expected to take effect until some point in 2024.

Labour Market Testing (LMT) will be phased out gradually as Jobs and Skills Australia data on skills shortages improves, and an alternative Core Skilled Occupation List will be established to replace LMT.

Points Test

The points test will undergo a review for improvements. A new analysis-based points test will be created to identify independent migrants who can make a substantial contribution to Australia.

The Australian Government intends to strengthen its cooperation with States and Territories to address regional population needs more effectively with regards to migration planning aspects.


Bolstering Safeguards

The Australian Government is taking immediate action to enhance safeguards for visa-holding employees, implementing new powers and imposing larger penalties on employers exploiting temporary skilled workers. This includes the development and utilisation of public registers to enable greater monitoring and choice for employees, alongside increased collaboration with agencies like the Australian Tax Office.

International Student Visa (subclass 500)

International Students

  • Restrict the residence of international graduates lacking in-demand skills to stay in Australia.
  • Narrow down the eligible courses for international students, emphasising the retention of tertiary university courses.
  • Counteract course swapping.
  • Allocate more funding for visa integrity supporting activities.

Temporary Graduate Visa Holders (subclass 485)

Temporary Graduate Visa

Significant changes will be made to this visa type. The focus will be on international graduates with skills sought by Australian employers. This includes:

  • Shortening the duration of stay to just two years.
  • Prohibiting Graduate visa holders from transitioning back to student visas (end the vicious circle!)
  • Restricting the residence rights of international graduates without in-demand skills in Australia.
  • Lowering the age eligibility from 50 to 35 years.
  • Raising the English language proficiency requirements.

Deepening Ties With People in the Indo-Pacific

Deepening our people-to-people ties in the Indo-Pacific

The Australian Government plans to expand the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) Scheme and deliver a new Pacific Engagement Visa (PEV) to encourage labour mobility from the relevant regions.

 

Are you curious how these changes can affect your visa and immigration in Australia? Seek advice and assistance with our Immigration Lawyers Book a consultation today!

 

Source: Department of Home Affairs

 

 

July 20, 2023

7 changes to Australia’s Immigration effective 1 July 2023

Australia Immigration Program 2023-2024

1. Higher Income Threshold for Skilled Migration

The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) has increased from $53,900 to $70,000 per year. In particular, this is relevant for Employer Sponsored Visas, e.g. 482 TSS and DAMA Visa.

2. Work & Holiday Visa Makers

Papua New Guinea (PNG) has officially joined the ranks of countries participating in the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) Program.

The age eligibility for UK citizens applying for Subclass 417 has been extended. The previous age range of 18-30 will now include individuals up to 35 years old and will have the opportunity to stay in Australia for a total of 3 years.

3. Increase in Visa Application Charges

In accordance with the projected Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the 2023-24 period, adjustments have been made to the Visa Application Charges (VACs). Below is the summary of several highly sought-after visa subclasses:

Visa Application Charges

4. Work Restrictions for all Student Visa Holders

Work limitations for all Student Visa holders have been reinstated reducing work hours to 48 hours per fortnight.

Student visa holders working in the Aged Care sector in Australia can continue to work unlimited hours until 31 December 2023.

5. New Zealand Citizens can apply directly for Australian Citizenship

New Zealand citizens who hold a Special Category (subclass 444) visa and entered Australia after 26th February 2001 and have resided in Australia for a minimum of four years, will be eligible to apply directly for Australian Citizenship. No need to get PR before. This is saving  money and time!

6. Extend your stay in Australia with the 485 Visa Extension program

International students who are successfully completing qualifying degrees in fields such as science, medicine, healthcare, engineering, and technology have the opportunity to extend their post-study stay in Australia.

The duration of this extended stay will be as follows:

  • Bachelor degrees will increase from two years to four years.
  • Master degrees will increase from three years to five years.
  • Doctoral degrees will increase from four years to six years.

There are NO additional visa application charges! Plus, here’s the best part: You don’t need an English test! 

7. Occupation & Skills Assessment – Graduate Work Stream

Individuals applying for the Graduate Work Stream visa are required to meet certain criteria. These include holding a qualification that is pertinent to an occupation listed on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and undergoing a skills assessment in the nominated occupation. BOOK A CONSULTATION TODAY

 

SKILLED VISA PROGRAM

The Australian Government has allocated 30,375 visa positions for the Skilled Independent program in the 2023-24 period. This substantial allocation aligns with the government’s proactive approach to meeting the increasing demands and attracting highly skilled individuals.

Notably, in the preceding fiscal year, more than 66,000 invitations were given for the Subclass 189 visa,  demonstrating the Government’s commitment to prioritising and promoting skilled migration.

These initiatives provide many opportunities for professionals to make meaningful contributions towards the progress and advancement of Australia.

 Interested? Schedule an appointment today! We are Immigration Lawyers and Registered Migration Agents. We have the knowledge, experience and skills to provide you with information on all Australian visa types and immigration pathways. Book your consultation here

Auspire Immigration Australia. Immigration Lawyer Australia. Registered Migration Agent Australia. Education Agent Australia.

 

 

January 20, 2022

Australia is suffering from significant workforce shortages in all industries. The Australian Government announced that International Students allowed extra hours in all sectors of the economy. This takes effect immediately for all ongoing students as well as new student arrivals. This means that international students are allowed to work more than 40 hours a fortnight in any sector of the economy. This also includes secondary applicants, e.g. partners.

New student visa arrivals are allowed to commence a job prior to course commencement. This means that international students and their dependents can work before their course commences and work more than 40 hours a fortnight in any sector of the economy. 

This is a temporary arrangement and will be reviewed by the Australian Government in April 2022.

Good news also for Working Holiday Visa holders who will have no limit on the time they can work for the same employer. This is effective immediately until the end of 2022.

Furthermore, Student Visa holders may be eligible for a visa application charge (VAC) refund if they travel to Australia between 19 January to 19 March 2022. Further details on the refund policy are yet to be announced but it looks like it will only apply to applicants who applied whilst offshore.

Any Working Holiday Maker visa holder who is currently offshore and travels to Australia between 19 January and 19 April 2022 will be eligible for a refund of their visa application charge.

The current VAC for a Student visa is AUD630 and for a Working Holiday Maker it is AUD495. The VAC refund includes secondary visa holders, e.g. partners and children.

Want more information on the Student Visa? Click here

Want more information on the Working Holiday Visa? Click here

Looking for work? We publish jobs and sponsorship opportunities around Australia here

Want our help with the visa application process? We are immigration lawyers, migration + education agents. Book your strategy & advice call here

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