Upcoming Changes in Immigration Law Regarding Student Visas Effective 1 July 2016

Upcoming Changes in Immigration Law Regarding Student Visas Effective 1 July 2016

May 27, 2016
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The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has announced a Simplified Student Visa Framework (SSVF), to take effect on 1 July 2016.

Under the SSVF, there will be only two (2) student visa categories: SC500 student visa for the student and SC590 student guardian visa for the parents or guardians of students under 18 years of age to accompany the student in Australia.

The new framework can be found in the amended Schedule 4 of the Migration Legislation Amendment 2016 (2016 Measures No1) Regulation 2016 [F2016L005523] and has the following features:

• Subsequent temporary visa application charge for specific visa subclasses lodged in Australia while the applicant is the holder of certain types of visas

• In case of education provider default, specific classes of student visa applicants may not be required to pay the first instalment of the visa application charge

• Holders of specific visas, including subclasses 426 (Domestic Worker-Temporary-Diplomatic or Consular), 403 (Temporary Work-International Relations), 995 (Diplomatic), 771 (Transit) and 600 (Sponsored Family and Approved Destination streams), are precluded from applying for student visas onshore

• Applications must be lodged online and essential documents such as English test results, COE, financial documents, etc. must be attached at the time of lodgment; otherwise, the application may be refused.

• New financial and English requirements, see below.

Evidence to prove financial capacity for Student and Student Guardian visas summarised as follows:

• Streamlined processing applications with lowest immigration risk only requires a declaration. However, further financial evidence may still be requested during visa processing.

• Applications with higher immigration risk based on their countries and education providers have to provide “specified documentary evidence” – available in the DIBP online tool later in May 2016.

• Additional evidence of financial capacity may be required to prove sufficient funds to travel to Australia, plus 12 months living and course expenses.

• Evidence of annual personal income of at least AUD60,000 for students, or AUD70,000 for students accompanied by family members, may be required. Only personal income of the student’s spouse or parents (individual or combined) may be demonstrated in the form of official documents such as tax assessments.

From 1 July 2016, the 12-month living cost will be:

Student/guardian –  AUD 19,830
Partner/spouse –  AUD 6,940
Child – AUD 2,970

• Schooling cost for school aged dependent: AUD8000 per year per child
Exempt: children of a Phd student, or scholarship recipients who are enrolled in public schools with fee waiver

• Students are required to show genuine access to funds taking into consideration:

– the nature of the relationship between the student and the person who is providing the funds, where applicable  
– income, assets and employment of the student or the other person who is providing the funds
– previous visa history of both the student and the person providing the funds

English language requirements unless exempt:

• IELTS overall band score of 5.5
• IELTS overall band score of 5 when packaged with at least 10 weeks’ English
Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS)
• IELTS overall band score of 4.5 when packaged with at least 20 weeks’ ELICOS
• The equivalent of TOEFL results
• The equivalent of PTE Academic
• The equivalent of Cambridge English: Advanced
• The equivalent of Occupational English Test (OET)

For further information, visit: www.border.gov.au/Trav/Stud/changes-student-visa