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Australia’s Migration Strategy: Updated Visa Rules


With the massive influx of migrations worldwide, several countries are going through a major housing crisis and seeing a rise in inflation. To curb this, countries are coming out with tighter visa policies to filter their migration intake. The past couple of months saw Canada and the UK bring a lot of change in their visa processes. Joining their rank is Australia, with their government announcing several changes with their recent migration policy.

Major Changes in Student Visa Rules

There have been four major changes for international students applying to study in Australian Universities:

  1. English Language Proficiency: Starting March 23, 2024, the Australian Government has increased the requirement for language proficiency. Those applying for a temporary graduate visa (TGV) need a minimum score of 6.5, up from 6.0. Similarly, those applying for a student visa now need a minimum score of 6.0 up from 5.5. The test validity window too has been reduced from three years to one year. 

  2. Increase in Financial Proof Requirements: The requirements for Student and Student Guardian Visa too have been increased starting May 10, 2024. There is a steep 17% increase in this no. which is up from AUD 24,505 to AUD 29,710. 

  3. New Genuine Student (GS) Test: To further filter out student intake, the government has replaced the previously held Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) test with the Genuine Student (GS) Test. Applicable from March 23, 2024, the test assesses a student’s genuine intention to come and study in the country rather than other goals.

Changes in the Temporary Graduate Visa Programme

 Effective from July 1, 2024, the new program has been announced to realign the visa streams one can apply for based on the qualifications under the Australian Study requirements. The Graduate Work stream will be called the Post-Vocational Education Work stream while the Post-Study Work stream will now be called the Post-Higher Education Work stream.

  1. Graduate Work Stream: The maximum eligible age for applicants has been reduced to 35 years with the exception of Hong Kong and British National Overseas Passport holders. The eligible age for them stays at 50 years. They can also stay in the country for 5 years whereas other nationalities applicants can stay for 18 months. Applicants who are no longer eligible for visas in this stream can still apply under other visas.

  2. Post-Study Work Stream: The age requirement has been reduced to 35 years here too with the exception of Hong Kong, British National Overseas Passport holders, Masters (research), and doctoral degree (PhD) graduates. Stay periods for Indian nationals, as agreed in the Australia-India – Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA), will be:

  • Bachelor's degree (including honors) – up to 2 years

  • Bachelor's degree (with first-class honors in STEM, including ICT) – up to 3 years

  • Masters (coursework , extended and research) – up to 3 years

  • Doctoral degrees (PhD) – up to 4 years.

Applicants who are no longer eligible for visas in this stream can still apply under other visas.

Australia Introduces New Innovation Visa

As part of the Australian government's efforts to attract highly skilled migrants to the country, the government announced its “New Innovation” visa. The visa is all set to replace the “Golden Visa” program which was scrapped by the government in January 2024. The previous program invited wealthy overseas investors to invest and live in the country.  This significant investor visa (SIV) has been found to be economically ineffective paving the way to attract migrants from the technology sector.  Other than this the government is also implementing a ballot system for the popular work and holiday visa for applicants from China, Vietnam, and India, starting in the fiscal year ending June 2025.

These measures are expected to halve the net overseas immigration count to 260,000 arrivals in 2024-25, down from 528,000 in 2022-23.

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