The student Visas are generally better known as non – immigrant visas that do not require the holders to obtain citizenship just to study in that particular country (Immi.gov.au, n.d.). Any prospective student who desires to obtain or are seeking for higher education in another country of which he or she is not a national is essentially required to obtain a student visa for the country where he or she desires to get his education from (Mansouri and Leach, 2009).
This student visa can also be called a form of special endorsement that is added with the passport which the governments issue to the students who desire to get higher education from a particular foreign country and has also enrolled into qualified educational institutions (COBB-CLARK, 2000). These are as has been stated above are non-immigrant visas.
Most of the countries across the world issue these kinds of student visa so that they can allow foreign students to attend schools and universities within their boundaries (Vfs-au-in.com, n.d.). Nevertheless, in most of the general cases the student also needs to be enrolled in a postsecondary institution for the purpose of higher learning and education (COBB-CLARK, 2000). For the foreign exchange students there exists a special type of student visa which they can obtain when their universities exchange students with that of another foreign university and in such cases the visa given is for temporary residence as long as the foreign exchange courses are limited (Shu and Hawthorne, 1996).
In the country of Australia the laws and requirements for the student visa is very particular and exclusive. In case of studying in Australia, if any student desires to study for a period that exceeds three months then the student is necessarily required to apply for a student visa (Vfs-au-in.com, n.d.). And also it needs to be mentioned that if the student want a student visa then he or she is required to undertake a registered course or any part of any registered course or may be any registered course on a full time basis (Immi.gov.au, n.d.).
It also important to mention that under the rules of Australian student visa what amounts to a registered course. A registered course is such a course that can also be considered as an education or training course that has been offered by any Australian education provider. The education provider must be registered under the Australian Government and it must also offer such courses that are available to the oversea students.
Further depending on the nationality of the foreign students and the principal course of study the student from the overseas may also need to undergo a Pre-Visa Assessment (PVA). This Pre-Visa Assessment must be undergone before the Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment that needs to be issued by the education provider from Australia from where the student is supposed to take his educational degree.
Requirements for Students Visa
There are a number of requirements that needs to be fulfilled for any oversea student that desires to study a registered course in Australia (Immi.gov.au, n.d.). These requirements include the fulfillment of a number of criteria in the category of financial ability, health requirements, character of students, any outstanding debts and working requirements. Along with these conditions there are some other common visa conditions that are required to be fulfilled.
The financial ability requirements are mainly for the Masters and Doctorate courses. The sponsors of students must give proper evidence of the case assets mainly for the first semester or first year tuition fees as has been given in the letter of offer (Wright, 2014). It also should include the expense of living and proper access to all the additional funds that are required for the students and that too from only acceptable sources (Immi.gov.au, n.d.). These are primarily to meet the cost of the remaining study and stay in the country of Australia.
Health (Medical) requirements
The nest most essential requirements is relating to the health of the students. Any individual those apply for studying the country of Australia they must firstly satisfy the health requirements that has been specified by the Migration Regulations (Rowe, Corcoran and Faggian, 2013). If for any student any family member is included in the visa application then that family member also needs to satisfy the health requirements that have been specified in the regulations of Australian Migration Department (Immi.gov.au, n.d.).
In some countries like that of Iceland, Monaco, Norway, San Marino and Sweden the students have low risk of health and hence they are not required to undertake any health examinations until and unless any health condition is specified or has any significance and has been so declared.
For health insurance covers the students must pay to the Overseas Student Health Cover for the insurance themselves and also for the family members who are travelling with these students if so required.
There are special students health covers for students who are sponsored by AusAID. In such a case the student need not pay the Overseas Student Health Cover themselves. Nevertheless, the student must produce the required proof that the AusAID does support the application of the student.
For the countries of Norway and Sweden there are different health covers for the students. The students from these countries do not require any Overseas Student Health Cover when it is found that they are covered by the health insurance schemes from the home countries which are acceptable.
The third most essential requirement is that the student who desires to study in the country must be of good character. The form 157A is a Character Declaration form that will be provided by the student which will relate to the good character of the student (Rowe, Corcoran and Faggian, 2013).
For any student that applies for student visa it is a must that there must not be any outstanding debts to the Commonwealth of Australia or in case of any debt the student has to make acceptable arrangements for repaying the debt (Immi.gov.au, n.d.).
According to the rules and regulations in Australia any person cannot start working in Australia until and unless he or she has finished the course of study. Once the educational course has started the student is allowed to work for a maximum of forty hours when the course in session and when the course is not in session the student can work for an unlimited period.
Since March 2013, the Australian Government made post study work arrangements for their international students. With the help of these arrangements the students who have completed Bachelors or Masters by Coursework or a Masters by Research or Doctoral degree they can apply for Temporary Graduate visa but only for four years.
Common visa conditions
Other than these requirements some other requirements that needs to be fulfilled by the students. They are firstly, the students satisfy the attendance criteria and maintain a proper enrolment for the course. Secondly they cannot work until they have been granted proper permission to do so. The Overseas Student Health (OSHC) needs to be positively maintained by the students in Australia. Further they need to leave the country before the visa expires. The students must also remain with the education provider with whom he or she was originally enrolled with for at least the first six months for the duration of the course. The residential address of the student must be given to the education provider within seven days of arrival in the country of Australia and also any changes in the address also needs to be notified within seven days. And finally if the student changes the education provider then the change also must be notified with seven days of the issue of the eCoE.
Recent Changes to Student Visa in Australia
In the present times there are a number of changes that have been done to the student visa requirements in Australia. The Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection has made the required modifications to the students’ visa and skilled migration in between the years 2012 and 2014 (Studiesinaustralia.com, 2015). These modifications were made with respect to the Knight review. This review was an investigation that was commissioned by the Australian government with the purpose of finding different methods to make the studying in the country easy for the international students. These changes have been applied since 2012 onwards (Wright, 2014).
Reduction of student visa assessment levels
The DIBP had introduced a number of changes to make the application process of the students’ visa far simpler than the previous days. From March 2014, the Assessment Level (AL) Framework has also been made simple from five levels to three levels. Now there are three assessment levels (AL1 to AL3) and AL4 and AL5 have been removed. The previous AL4 nations have now been reduced to AL3. Further reductions have been made with regard to the financial requirements of the AL3 applicants. Presently they should only show the evidence of funds for supporting their 12 months of study and not the funds for 18 months.
Changes to English language test requirements
DIBP has also made provisions for the applicants of the students visa to give evidence of the English Language proficiency from the Test of English which is a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT), the Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic and the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test. Before only IELTS results were accepted by the Department (Studiesinaustralia.com, 2015).
Streamlined visa processing
Presently processing will be done by a streamlined manner for the students who give their applications with CoE that is Confirmation of Enrolment for the participation of the institutions for the masters degree, bachelor degree, student exchange program or study abroad program or doctoral degree. This also does not depend on the country of origin of the students (Wright, 2014).
Changes to student visa charges
Primarily the students application charges for visa was $565 but now it has been reduced to $535. For the programs approved by the Commonwealth the students do not need to apply for the charges (Wright, 2014).
Changes to employment restrictions
Before the changes made by the government the international students were allowed to work for a maximum time of 20 hours. This has also been modified and now the students can work upto 40 hours for fortnight. This means that the students can work for15 hours in one week and 25 hours in the next week (Studiesinaustralia.com, 2015). Once the course study has started the students can start work and the employment restrictions are applied only when the course is in session. After the students have completed the masters and doctoral degree the restrictions do not apply.
Changes to living costs requirements
The requirements relating to the living cost of the students have been risen to AUD$18,000 per year to AUD$18,610 per year. This is because when the students move to Australian they would be financially stable to carry on their activities and have enough funds while they stay in the country. The homestay fees are now included in the requirements for the students visa.
Introduction of a post-study work visa
The government has further introduced a visa for post study work since 2013. This permits the overseas students to complete the bachelor, masters or doctoral degree in Australia and for this visa they van stay in Australia and gain work experience. They can apply for work –visa for two years after completing the degree.
Changes to skilled migration
The government has further introduced the three visa classes for points tested skilled migarion. They are subclass 189 (skilled independent), subclass 190 (skilled nominated) and subclass 489 (skilled regional) (Studiesinaustralia.com, 2015). The government has further introduced a process of migration visa that is an online service called the SkillSelect. This service ensures skilled workers and graduates who desire to migrate to lodge Expression of Interest (EOI). Previously there was a system where the intending migrants used to apply for skilled migration visa.
COBB-CLARK, D. (2000). Do Selection Criteria Make a Difference?: Visa Category and the Labour Market Status of Immigrants to Australia. Economic Record, 76(232), pp.15-31.
Immi.gov.au, (n.d.). Study in Australia. [online] Available at: https://www.immi.gov.au/Study/Pages/Study.aspx [Accessed 16 Jan. 2015].
Mansouri, F. and Leach, M. (2009). The Evolution of the Temporary Protection Visa Regime in Australia. International Migration, 47(2), pp.101-126.
Rowe, F., Corcoran, J. and Faggian, A. (2013). Mobility Patterns of Overseas Human Capital in Australia: the role of a ‘new’ graduate visa scheme and rural development policy. Australian Geographer, 44(2), pp.177-195.
Shu, J. and Hawthorne, L. (1996). Asian Student Migration to Australia 1. International Migration, 34(1), pp.65-95.
Studiesinaustralia.com, (2015). Recent changes to Australian student visas | Study in Australia. Study Abroad with Studies in Australia. [online] Available at: https://www.studiesinaustralia.com/studying-in-australia/student-visas/recent-changes-to-australian-student-visas [Accessed 16 Jan. 2015].
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Wright, C. (2014). Why Do States Adopt Liberal Immigration Policies? The Policymaking Dynamics of Skilled Visa Reform in Australia. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 41(2), pp.306-328.