The government further tightens student visa applications to stop ‘visa hopping’

The Australian government is making it more difficult for foreign citizens to carry out what it calls “visa hopping”.

KEY POINTS

  • Those on visitor visas and temporary graduate visas will no longer be able to apply for student visas onshore.
  • The changes will start on 1 July.
  • They are in addition to other regulations that have come in place this year to reduce migration levels.
While a raft of changes came into place earlier this year to tighten regulations around those coming to Australia to study and reduce migration levels, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil announced additional measures on Wednesday.

As of 1 July, the government will close two pathways it says are being used to “subvert” offshore student integrity measures.
Visitor visa and temporary graduate visa holders will no longer be able to apply for student visas onshore.
A statement from the minister’s office said: “The visitor to student pathway has become increasingly prevalent, with over 36,000 applications since 1 July 2023 to the end of May 2024.”

“This measure closes a pathway that has been used to attempt to subvert the Government’s strengthened offshore student visa integrity measures,” it said.
The change regarding those on temporary graduate visas aims to either have graduates find skilled jobs or depart the country.

A 2023 report by the Grattan Institute found one in three international graduates returned to further study, “mostly in cheaper vocational courses, to prolong their stay in Australia”.

O’Neil said Australia needs “a migration system which delivers the skills we need, but doesn’t trade in rorts, loopholes and exploitation”.

“Our Migration Strategy outlines a clear plan to close the loopholes in international education and this is the next step in delivering that plan,” she said.

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