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The first stage of a suite of measures supporting Australia’s international education sector is being rolled out as part of the Government’s response to the Knight Review, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, said.

Mr Bowen said as part of the first tranche of changes, the financial requirements for certain student visa applicants had now been reduced, meaning students will need up to $36 000 less in the bank when applying for a visa.

The change that came in this week recognises that the financial requirements for student visas were often too onerous, and discouraged applicants from choosing Australia as their preferred study destination,’ Mr Bowen said. ‘Applicants for the vocational education and training and private education sectors in particular will benefit from this change.

English language students will benefit from another change that is now in place, allowing students to apply for a visa without first meeting minimum English skills requirements. Among the other changes implemented is the introduction of a new ‘genuine temporary entrant’ requirement for all student visa applicants. This requirement enables the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) to better assess student visa applications to ensure the applicant’s main aim is a temporary stay in Australia.

We want to avoid the situation where student visa holders are desperate to stay in Australia to work to pay off large study debts amassed at home,’ Mr Bowen said. While international students may aspire to remain in Australia, if they cannot achieve permanent residency or long-term employee sponsorship, they need to return to their home countries.’

Other changes that are now in place include:

    • Extending the time new PhD students can stay in Australia while their thesis is being marked;
    • Discontinuing pre-visa assessment (PVA) policy to help speed up visa processing; and
    • Allowing prepaid homestay fees to be included in the financial requirements assessment for a student visa.


The Education Visa Consultative Committee (EVCC) has now also been established and met for the first time in Canberra on 26 October 2011.

The; focus of the EVCC is to improve the information flow between the Australian Government and the international education sector.

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