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Streamlining Student Visa Processing Arrangements

The contents of this article are correct as at 31 October 2013.

In October 2013 the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and the Minister for Education jointly announced the introduction of streamlined visa processing arrangements for applicants seeking to enrol in courses at particular education institutions. Such applicants, regardless of their country of origin, will no longer be assigned an Assessment Level and will therefore be viewed by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) as being a low immigration risk. Lower evidentiary requirements for grant of a student visa will apply to such applicants.

Currently in order to be eligible for streamlined student visa processing the applicant must have a Confirmation of Enrolment from a participating university for a:

  • Bachelor degree
  • Masters degree
  • Doctoral degree
  • Non-award university student exchange program, or
  • Non-award study abroad program

A list of participating universities can be found on the DIBP website.

While the current scheme only applies to university degree providers, in the October 2013 announcement the Ministers indicated that they intended to extend the scheme to non-university degree providers who are identified as being of low risk.

In addition, the Minister for Immigration indicated that they would be simplifying the student visa processing arrangements by reducing the number of Assessment Levels from 5 to 3 and requiring an applicant at Assessment Level 3 to only provide evidence of financial support for 12 months instead of 18 months, where the student is funded by a close relative. This will reduce the amount of financial support which needs to be shown by up to $40,000 less than is currently required.

The changes are expected to see an increase in the number of applicants applying for visas to study in Australia.

If you require assistance with a student visa application, please feel free to contact us.