Chris Evans, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Jobs, said in a press release, “These changes bring Australia into line with arrangements in other countries and enable education providers to offer a more competitive package to international students who are seeking good quality and long-term study in Australia.” He added that the changes would affect students applying for their student visa now.
The new arrangements follow generous rights given to master’s and PhD students in September (eligible for stays of three and four years respectively) following the Knight review, and show Australia’s keenness to win back international students after two years of dampened demand.
Other measures introduced have included reducing the financial requirements for some student visa applicants, removing English language test requirements for some courses, and stopping the Pre-Visa Assessment policy, thus reducing visa processing time.
In addition, while a measure introduced yesterday will make more foreigners coming to Australia liable for visa application fees, student visa application fees will actually decrease by 5 per cent from January 1st 2012. “These initiatives will put Australian visa services on a sustainable financial footing, while supporting our position globally as a destination of choice to visit, live, work or study,” said Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen.