Australia Student Visa Program Changes from 23 March 2024

Student Visa Program 

Genuine Student Requirement – heads up 

As announced in the Migration Strategy released on 11 December 2023, the Australian Government is replacing the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement for grant of a Student visa with a Genuine Student (GS) requirement. 

The GS requirement is planned to commence for Student visa applications lodged on or after 23 March 2024

  • Student visa applications lodged before 23 March 2024 will be assessed according to existing arrangements. 
  • The GTE requirement will be retained for Student Guardian visa applicants. 

Through consultation and discussion with representatives of the education sector, the new GS requirement for international students will aim to identify students with circumstances that support a genuine intention to obtain a quality education in Australia, without reference or confusion to any future intention to migrate. 

The 300 word statement in the Student visa application form will be replaced with targeted questions. These questions will provide visa decision makers with an overview of the applicant and their reasons for wanting to study in Australia, to contextualise the documentary evidence applicants must provide in support of their application. 

The intended questions will cover: 

  • details of their current circumstances, including ties to family, community, employment and economic circumstances; 
  • an explanation for the choice of course and reasons for choosing Australia as a study destination; 
  • what benefits the course provides to the applicant; 
  • for applicants with a study history in Australia, details of their study history; 
  • for applicants holding a visa other than a Student visa, their reasons for applying for a Student visa; and 
  • any other relevant information the applicant wishes to provide. 

The Student visa declaration will be amended to require applicants to confirm that they: 

  • understand what it means to be a genuine student for the purposes of studying in Australia; 
  • have read, understand and commit to comply with student visa conditions and to notify the Department of Home Affairs of any changes to their circumstances; and 
  • understand that while post-study pathways to permanent migration are available, only a limited number of graduates will be eligible and those who are unable to remain lawfully in Australia must depart Australia. 

When the change happens, Ministerial Direction No. 69 will be revoked and replaced by two new ministerial directions, which will reflect the intention for the GS requirement to apply after the intended commencement date of 23 March 2024; and then to ensure that applications onhand, and not yet decided, before the commencement date of 23 March 2024 have the GTE assessment applied to those cases. 

Further information about the changes will be communicated to education providers and potential applicants, including through the Department of Home Affairs website, social media channels and outreach activities, closer to the implementation date of 23 March 2024. 

English Language Requirements 

As per the Migration Strategy, changes are also flagged to English level requirements for Student and Temporary Graduate visa applicants. There will be more news on these changes as the Department finalises consultation with stakeholders. 

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