Changes to Student Visas

immigrationA new legislative instrument will take effect on 1 July 2016 to strengthen the integrity of Australia’s Student Visa Program.

Changes to the Migration Regulations will streamline the current student visa program to enable the Department to more readily address integrity issues in the caseload.

What is changing?

Effective 1 July 2016, there will only be one type of student visa – The Subclass 500 Visa.  All other student visa subclasses will be repealed.  Common criteria is expected to be introduced into schedule 2 of the Migration Regulations which will ensure that all applicants will be subject to a genuineness assessment. The new assessment will enable the Department to take into account a range of risk factors.

The student visa program is designed for overseas residents to study in Australia.  However, the Department of Immigration has identified many students using the program for the primary purpose of employment.  Most student visa holders are only permitted to work for 40 hours every 2 weeks.  Hefty penalties and fines apply to employers who do not monitor whether their employees are breaching their visa conditions. Students face cancellation of their visa and banning from Australia.

What if I am a current student visa holder?

Current student visa holders should not be affected by the changes.  They can remain on the visa subclass that appears on their visa grant letter and on VEVO.

However, if student visa holders wish to apply for a new visa to extend their stay, then the new criteria will apply.

The above information does not constitute immigration advice or assistance.

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