Simplified student visa process to boost Australia’s international education sector

16 Jun 2015 Media release

Minister for Education and Training, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, and Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, today announced the introduction of a simplified international student visa framework (SSVF) to support Australia’s education services sector.

The changes will mean:

  • a reduction in the number of student visa subclasses from eight to two, and
  • the introduction of a simplified single immigration risk framework for all international students.

“Australia is open for business and welcomes genuine and high quality international students who provide a much-needed boost to our economy, our local communities and jobs, and who boost our country-to-country relationships,” Minister Pyne said.

“We warmly welcome genuine international students and we are committed to improving and protecting the integrity of our immigration system.”

“After coming to office the Government moved immediately to improve competitiveness and it is pleasing to see growth in international student enrolments in Australia has resumed.”

Minister Cash said an improved approach to the administration of student visas as part of the SSVF will have clear benefits. The overall integrity of the student visa programme will be maintained, and the improved regulatory arrangements will avoid placing unnecessary burden or cost on education providers.

The SSVF will replace both the Streamlined Visa Processing (SVP) arrangements and the current Assessment Level Framework and will apply to all international students.

It will lay out a student’s financial and English language evidentiary requirements based on two things: the immigration profile of the student’s country of citizenship and of their education provider.

“The SSVF will support the growth of the international education sector by enhancing both competitiveness and integrity while extending streamlined processing to all education sectors and all course types,” Minister Cash said.

She said the changes follow consultations on the Government discussion paper Future Directions for Streamlined Visa Processing.

“SVP served a very good purpose but it is now time to implement a broader, simpler, fairer framework,” Minister Cash said.

A working group with international education sector stakeholders is being formed to guide implementation of the new framework on the expiry of SVP arrangements on 30 June 2016.

The agencies responsible for the quality assurance and regulation of education services for overseas students will work closely with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection on the new regime.

Minister Pyne said the SSVF would contribute to the objectives of the Draft National Strategy for International Education released for consultation in April and the subject of a roundtable on international education this week.

The first of two roundtables to discuss the Draft National Strategy will be held at Parliament House, Canberra, on Thursday 18 June. Chaired by Minister Pyne, it will involve Ministers whose portfolios relate to international education, including Minister Cash.