Recent Changes Positively Affect Australian Student Visas

Passport pages 145853332Internationals students interested in studying in Australia received a bit of good news last month as a string of reports from the Australian Department for Immigration and Border Protection made a string of announcements that could make it easier for some students to study in the island nation.

Get In The Fast Lane

The first announcement regards an extension of the Australian government’s streamlined visa processing (SVP) program. Although only those students seeking advanced diplomas – less than one percent of Australia’s higher education market – will be eligible, those that will can look forward to a simpler and faster visa process. This change also opens the SVP process to Vocational Education and Training schools, a move that legislators within the country see as a much-needed boost to student recruitment efforts.

Second Chances

At the same time, regular student visa holders who inadvertently breached immigration regulations will be able to take advantage of legislative conditions which take “exceptional circumstances” into account. That means, for example, international students who lose their student visas due to extenuating circumstances – e.g., a hospitalization – can remain in Australia while reapplying. At the same time, students whose student visas were revoked under such circumstances – and were heretofore barred from studying in Australia -will now be eligible to reapply. Of course, such students will need to provide proof of the extenuating circumstances in question and, likewise, must satisfy all the criteria necessary to receive a student visa.

New English Proficiency Tests Accepted

Finally, in news that stands to affect still more students, the Department for Immigration and Border Protection announced that, beginning November 2014, it will accept both the TOEFL iBT and PTE Academic proof of English proficiency for many visa programs. That means that Temporary Graduate, Skilled and Work and Holiday visa applicants will be able to join the ranks of Student Visa applicants (who have been able to use both exams since 2011) as they work toward to dream of higher education in Australia.

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