Changes to student visa framework
Following an international student gold rush in Australia, Federal Education Minister the Hon Christopher Pyne MP and Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash have declared there will be changes to the student visa system in mid-2016, to be known as the Simplified Student Visa Framework (SSVF).
In June the Department of Immigration and Border Protection has made eight recommendations outlined in the ‘Future directions for streamlined visa processing’ report.
The recommendations are:
1. Combined country and provider immigration risk framework to guide student visa evidentiary requirements and create streamlined visa application processing opportunities for education providers across all sectors.
2. Continue to actively engage with the international education sector to assist education providers, as appropriate, to effectively target genuine students and temporary entrants.
3. Continue to use the immigration risk outcomes of an education provider’s international students as the basis to determine eligibility for streamlined-type processing.
4. Establish an Education Visa Consultative Committee (EVCC) working group to provide input into the implementation of the recommendations of this report.
5. In consultation with the EVCC working group: a) establish appropriate thresholds for all risk denominators, such as the number of active student visa and offshore decisions, that are used to calculate immigration risk ratings b) determine how best to incorporate the rate of protection visa (PV) lodgements into the immigration risk methodology.
6. Remove the requirement for providers to submit a formal opt-in application to access streamlined type arrangements.
7. Remove formal educational business partner arrangements and instead enable providers to package courses with any other provider offering a preliminary course.
8. Reduce the number of student visa subclasses from eight to two while maintaining the ability to report on visa outcomes by education sector.
These changes are expected to be implemented in mid 2016.