New Integrity Measures and Graduate Visa Reforms in Australia for International Students

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The Australian government has announced significant changes to its student visa system and graduate visa pathways. These changes aim to improve the integrity of the system and ensure that graduates are working in skilled jobs.

Key changes according to the Migration Strategy of Australia:

  • Genuine Student Test: A new test will be introduced to assess whether students’ primary intention is to study or work.
  • Increased English language requirements: The minimum English language score for student visas will increase from 5.5 to 6.0, and the minimum score for temporary graduate visas will increase from 6.0 to 6.5.
  • Revamped Graduate Visas: The length of Temporary Graduate Visas will be reduced for some qualifications, and the maximum eligible age for the visa will be lowered from 50 to 35.
  • Greater scrutiny of applications: The government will invest $19 million in a new student visa integrity unit and introduce two ministerial directions to ensure closer examination of applications.
  • Restrictions on visa hopping: Measures will be implemented to prevent students from using student visas to extend their stay in Australia.

Temporary Graduate Visa lengths under the reforms:

  • 2 years for Bachelor’s Degree (no change)
  • 2 years Masters by coursework (reduced from 3 years)
  • 3 years for Masters by research (no change)
  • 3 years for PhD (reduced from 4 years)

English Language Requirements:

  • Student visa requirements increased from IELTS 5.5 to 6.0.
  • The minimum temporary graduate visa score rises from 6.0 to 6.5.
  • Pre-arrival ELICOS course requirement rises from IELTS 4.5 to 5.0.
  • Pathway programs must achieve a minimum score of 5.5.

According to the Australian government, they aim to improve the quality of the student visa program, address exploitation, and ensure graduates contribute to Australia’s skilled workforce. These reforms are expected to take effect in early 2024.

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