Recent Changes on Australian Migration Strategy and Student Visas Requirements

Australian Immigration, Student Visa

With three Australian universities ranking in the top 20 of QS World Universities Rankings (2023), Australia has become a desirable study destination for students from various countries. In March 2024, the Australian government released its much-anticipated Migration Strategy, which outlines a new vision for Australia’s migration system that aims to strengthen the integrity and quality of international students as well as international education. This article highlights recent important updates from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) including the Student visa and Temporary Graduate visa requirements.  

At a glance 
  • The DHA has issued a package of integrity measures to increase the standards for international students and education providers. 
  • International students and graduates should expect higher English language requirements. 
Introduction to Genuine Student Requirement (GS) 

Effective from 23rd March 2024, the Australian Government is replacing the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement with a Genuine Student (GS) requirement for Student visa applications. This shift aims to identify students genuinely seeking quality education in Australia, independent of any migration intentions. 

As outlined by the DHA, under the GS requirement, prospective students will respond to targeted questions instead of a traditional 300-word statement in the visa application form. These questions will delve into the applicant’s circumstances, course choice rationale, and the benefits envisaged from their education in Australia. Furthermore, the revised Student visa declaration emphasises understanding of visa conditions, compliance commitment, and awareness of limited post-study migration pathways. 

A $19m investment was placed in the Home Affairs student visa unit, indicating the DHA’s determination in raising the scrutiny for high-risk student visas and identifying genuine students. 

For more information regarding the Genuine Student Requirement, visit the DHA’s website here. 

English Language Proficiency Updates 

Aligned with the Migration Strategy released on 11th December 2023, the Australian Government is elevating English language proficiency standards for Student and Temporary Graduate visas. Effective from 23rd March 2024, minimum test scores for various English proficiency requirements are increasing.  

As the minimum IELTS score requirement for Student visa applicants rises from 5.5 to 6.0, the mandatory IELTS score for students who wish to undertake a packaged English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS) from a minimum of 4.5 to 5.0 (or equivalent).  

The minimum requirement for Temporary Graduate visa applicants rises from 6.0 to 6.5 with a minimum score of 5.5 for each test component (reading, writing, listening, speaking); nevertheless, passport holders from Hong Kong and British National Overseas (BNO) enjoy leniency with slightly lower language requirements. The Temporary Graduate visa also faced a reduction in the validity window of English language tests from three years to one year.  

Visit here for more information regarding the upcoming English requirement changes. 

Other Changes and Further Updates 

Alongside changes related to English language requirements, the new conditions of Temporary Graduate visa also include a lower age limit for applicants, shorter post-study stay duration, and a clearer pathway for migration. These changes take place in order to ensure that graduates help meet skills shortages and do not become ‘permanently temporary’. 

As these changes roll out, the Department of Home Affairs pledges to communicate further information through various channels, including their website, social media platforms, and outreach activities. Education providers and prospective applicants can stay informed and prepared for these impending alterations.  

Stay tuned for more updates from us to ensure a seamless educational journey in Australia. 


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