Australia’s policies and procedures involving international students are always changing and improving as the government — through the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) —takes on new ways to embrace international students. In recent months, there have been more changes than usual due to the release of a review into Australia’s international student policies — the Knight Review.
The Australian Government has introduce a number of changes recommended in this review that will benefit international students. The majority of these have already been introduced.
In response to the Knight Review, the Australian Government has:
- reduced the financial requirements for Assessment Level 3 and 4 student visa applicants ( you can check your student visa assessment level on the DIAC website) — these applicants now have to prove that they have access to AUD$36,000 less than before
- allowed prepaid homestay fees to be included in the financial requirements assessment for a student visa
- extended the time new PhD students can stay in Australia while their thesis is being marked by six months
- discontinued the pre-visa assessment (PVA) policy for student visa applicants from Assessment Levels 3 and 4 enrolling in courses at bachelor degree level or higher — this will streamline the enrolment process and means students from all countries will be treated as lower risk
- allowed all English language students to apply for a visa without first meeting minimum English skills requirements.
In addition to the Knight Review changes, there are other changes that potential international students should be aware of:
- From 24 March 2012, student visa assessment levels for 29 countries will be reduced, lowering the minimum evidentiary requirements for students from certain countries and education sectors. For more information, see the list of eligible countries.
- From 5 November 2011, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) will not be the only test recognised for student visa applications. DIAC will now take into consideration test results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT), the Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic and the Cambridge English Advanced (CAE) test (also known as Certificate in Advanced English).