The Australian government has tightened visa regulations in response to a notable increase of low-skilled labour and overseas students. These regulations particularly target inspection procedures and English proficiency criteria. The new regulations, announced on December 11, reflect the growing trend of tightening immigration policies observed in Canada and the UK before New Year.
The revised policy mandates an increase in English language proficiency for temporary graduate visas, requiring a minimum score of 6.5 bands in the International English Language Test (IELTS). The previous requirement was 6.0 bands. Meanwhile, students applying for a visa will now need to secure at least a 6.0 band score, up from the previously required 5.5 bands.
The Australian Government’s decision to toughen the English language test comes as part of the India-Australia Economic Co-Operation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA). The policy changes also include fast-tracking visa applications for migrants earning more than A$1,35,000 (₹75.06 lakh).
Furthermore, the government will be increasing surveillance over student visas to maintain control over the growing number of students flocking to Australian shores. In the 2022-23 period alone, figures show a 30% increase in student inflow, totalling around 1.5 lakh students per year. The highest influx is concentrated in the vocational education and training sector.
India represents the second-highest number of international students coming to Australia, with 95,791 Indian students traveling to the country from January to April 2023.
Under the new rules, post-study work visa durations will be as follows:
– Diploma degree holders: 18 months
– Master’s degree holders: 3 years
– PhD holders: 4 years
Australian Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neil shared the migration strategy at a recent event, referring to it as “the biggest reforms to migration in a generation.” O’Neil stated that the changes would bring migration back to sustainable levels and ensure that the system aligns with the interests of all Australians.
Aspiring students and immigrants planning to move to Australia, as well as countries like the UK and Canada, need to be prepared for these new, stricter visa requirements. With tightened language proficiency expectations and increased surveillance, the Australian government aims to address its growing migration influx while ensuring that its skilled workforce meets future demands.
Tightening English Requirements for International Students in Australia
In an effort to improve the quality of education for international students and minimize workplace exploitation, the Australian government is taking new measures to strengthen English language requirements. This includes applying more comprehensive and targeted scrutiny to student visa applications, particularly those coming from high-risk providers.
Increased Oversight of International Education Providers
The government’s strategy also seeks to enhance requirements for international education providers and curb onshore visa hopping practices. These efforts aim to preserve system integrity and reduce the occurrence of ‘permanent temporariness’.
Updates to Temporary Graduate Visas
Australia plans to strengthen and simplify temporary graduate visas, following a significant increase in net immigration in 2022-23. The rising numbers of international students, including 1,18,869 Indian students enrolled as of July 2023, heavily contributed to this influx.
Immigration Trends for Indians in Australia
The ministry of home affairs in Australia reports that by June 2021, the number of Indian-origin settlers had reached 7,10,380. This figure has more than doubled since June 2011 when it was only 3,37,120 individuals.
Tougher Visa Rules Across Several Countries
Both Canada and the UK have tightened visa restrictions alongside Australia. In Canada, international students must demonstrate access to CAD 20,635 as of January 2024. Furthermore, India was the top origin country for study permit holders in Canada in 2022. Meanwhile, the UK has raised the minimum salary requirement for skilled worker visas and introduced stricter rules for students bringing dependents into the country.