The Department of Immigration and Citizenship has announced a raft of changes to enhance the competitiveness of Australia’s declining international education sector. The changes are in response to the report, Strategic Review of the Student Visa Program 2011, by the Hon Michael Knight AO which was released on 22 September 2011.
Among the reforms that the Department is adopting are new streamlined visa processing arrangements for a range of Australian university courses and a fundamental review of the Assessment Level risk framework, which often required prospective applicants to provide substantial sums of financial evidence.
The most significant part of the announcement is the introduction of a University Sector – Post Study Work Visa. This will be a new visa subclass which will allow University Graduates to stay on in Australia and seek work with Australian businesses. The proposed features of this visa are as follows:
The post-study work visa is proposed to be available from 2013.
It is expected that this range of measures will reenergise Australia’s international education sector. In recent times international enrolment numbers have been falling as a result of tougher general skilled migration requirements and increased competition from Canada and the UK. The proposed measures compare favourably with current student visa programs in both of these countries.
In particular, the introduction of a post-study work visa is a welcome announcement and will provide University Graduates with additional options when seeking employment with Australian businesses.
Contact Hamilton Watts if you have any questions regarding these changes.