16/06/2015 - 15:48

Student visa process simplified

16/06/2015 - 15:48

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The government has announced the introduction of a simplified international student visa framework, which involves reducing the number of visa sub-classes from eight to two, to boost Australia's international education sector.

Student visa process simplified
Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Michaelia Cash.

The federal government has announced the introduction of a simplified international student visa framework (SSVF), which involves reducing the number of visa sub-classes from eight to two, to boost Australia's international education sector.

Education Minister Christopher Pyne and Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Michaelia Cash announced the changes today, which also include the introduction of a simplified single immigration risk framework for all international students.

“Australia is open for business and welcomes genuine and high quality international students who provide a much-needed boost to our economy, our local communities and jobs, and who boost our country-to-country relationships,” Mr Pyne said.

“We warmly welcome genuine international students and we are committed to improving and protecting the integrity of our immigration system.”

Senator Cash said an improved approach to the administration of student visas as part of the SSVF would have clear benefits.

She said the overall integrity of the student visa program would be maintained, and the improved regulatory arrangements would avoid placing unnecessary burden or cost on education providers.

The SSVF will replace both the streamlined visa processing (SVP) arrangements and the current assessment level framework and will apply to all international students.

It will lay out a student’s financial and English language evidentiary requirements based on two things – the immigration profile of the student’s country of citizenship and of their education provider.

“The SSVF will support the growth of the international education sector by enhancing both competitiveness and integrity while extending streamlined processing to all education sectors and all course types,” Senator Cash said.

A working group with international education sector stakeholders is being formed to guide implementation of the new framework on the expiry of SVP arrangements on 30 June 2016.

Deputy Chief Executive of peak body Universities Australia, Anne-Marie Lansdown, said the sector was pleased to see immigration and education ministers working cooperatively to support both the integrity of Australia's immigration system and Australian international education.

"The new simplified student visa process will boost equity and support an environment where high quality and low risk providers can prosper," Ms Lansdown said.

"We support a risk managed approach to the student visa regime that rewards low risk providers with access to simpler visa processes for their students.

Ms Lansdown said the detail of the new scheme would be critical.

"It will be imperative that universities are not penalised for operating in new markets where immigration risks are less well known, especially given the aspirations for greater diversity outlined in the Draft National Strategy for International Education," she said.

"Getting the details right in this vitally significant international education sector is imperative, ultimately producing greater benefits for universities, their students and Australia."

Assistant Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, said international education is already Australia’s most successful services export, worth $16.3 billion in 2013-14, and supporting around 130,000 jobs.

 

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