A new simplified student visa framework for Australia

A new simplified student visa framework (SSVF) has been introduced in Australia, which has reduced the number of subclasses and simplified the visa framework.

The total number of student visa subclasses has gone down from eight to two, simplifying that system to one student visa and one student guardian visa. And there is now a single immigration risk framework for all international students.

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The Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s First Assistant Secretary, Immigration and Citizenship Policy Division, David Wilden, said student visa settings is an important part of Australia’s international education strategy. The value of our international education sector, Australia’s third largest export industry and the largest services export, was estimated to exceed $19 billion in 2014/2015.

Under the SSVF, students will no longer be subject to the complexity of the current process. Instead students will apply online for a single student visa subclass and be assessed under a single immigration risk framework.

Wilden also pointed out that online application is in line with the Department’s policy to increase digital services and helps simplify the application process.

The single student visa (subclass 500) will be for all students, regardless of their course of study and comes with a global roll out of online visa lodgement to all international students. The Student Guardian visa (subclass 590) will be or those looking after students.

The more targeted approach to risk management will mean that all students are subject to the same core visa requirements such as being a Genuine Temporary Entrant and meeting health and character criteria. Under the SSVF, a combined country and education provider risk framework guides a student’s evidentiary requirements.

‘The Department needs to be satisfied that students are genuine and they and their accompanying family members can support their study and living expenses while in Australia,’ Wilden added.

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Students will be able to use the online tool to determine evidentiary requirements. They can enter where they’re from and where they’re intending to study on the Department’s website. Results will be used to help a student determine their likely financial or English language evidentiary requirements and guide them through the online application process.

Wilden also said that the move to more digital services will not only benefit students, but combined with other changes in the programme will result in expected red tape savings of $24.1 million per year and reduce student visa regulations from 145 pages to eight.

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