In 2023, you may have noticed many announcements and updates about international student policies and regulations.
Of course, it can be hard to keep up with all of these changes – which is where we come in.
To help you get up to date, we’ve put together this helpful guide on the most important things you need to know as an international student in 2024.
1. Update to the working hour cap
As a student visa holder, you are only able to work a maximum of 48 hours per fortnight. This now also applies to those working in aged care, as the temporary exemption came to an end on 31 December 2023.
Luckily, you can still work unlimited hours over study breaks and holidays, which makes them a great time to earn some extra cash!
2. New English language requirements on the horizon
In light of a recent review, the Australian Government plans to introduce stricter English language requirements for international students.
Under these changes, student visas will require a minimum International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6.0, while graduate visa applicants will need a score of at least 6.5. Minimum scores for other English language tests will likely change as well.
You can find out more about language requirements by visiting the Department of Home Affairs website.
3. Higher financial proof requirement
Prospective international students will need to meet an increased financial threshold to apply for a student visa
From August 2023, applicants must demonstrate that they have savings of A$24,505 or more.
This increase is intended to ensure international students have the necessary funds to take care of themselves during their time in Australia.
4. Visa application fee increase
Visa application fees have also risen for several visa subclasses, with new prices having come into effect from July 2023.
Applicants will now need to pay:
- A$715 for a Student visa (previously $650)
- A$190 for a Visitor visa (previously $150)
- A$640 for a Working Holiday visa or a 462 Work and Holiday visa (previously $510)
5. Introduction of the priority processing system for Student and Student Guardian visas
In December 2023, the government announced adjustments to its Student and Student Guardian visa prioritisation system.
Priority processing will apply to those intending to study at an educational provider listed as Evidence Level 1. It will also apply to Schools, Foreign Affairs or Defense or Postgraduate Research sector applicants, and to all Student Guardian visa applications.
Applications must be lodged from outside of Australia to be eligible.
6. Reduced post-study work rights
To help cope with Australia’s increased migration, the Australian Government has announced reductions to post-study work rights for international graduates.
These changes – which will apply to Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders – include rolling back the extended work rights announced in July 2023. Additionally, the duration of some initial visas has been reduced, and extensions to the Temporary Graduate visa are now only available to those in regional areas.
Additionally, applicants must be in Australia to lodge their application and can not be older than 35 years of age (whereas the previous maximum age for applicants was 50).
7. No concurrent study
Sometimes known as concurrent enrolment or dual study, concurrent study is when a person is enrolled in more than one course at the same time.
In rules instituted late last year, international students are prohibited from concurrent study. However, this doesn’t apply to students who were already enrolled in more than one course when the new rules came into effect.
The new regulation aims to prevent people from exploiting Australia’s international education system and to protect student visa holders from predatory providers.
8. Skilled visa prioritisation
The government is changing how it prioritises skilled visa applications.
Employer-sponsored visa applications related to occupations to be carried out in regional settings will receive top priority, followed by applications for those working in teaching or healthcare.
The following employer-sponsored visas in regional areas are included in the top priority:
- Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa
- Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) visa
- Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa
- Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (subclass 494) visa.
9. New PR pathway for 457 and 482 visa holders
From November 2023, temporary migrants sponsored by their employers will only be required to wait two years to apply for the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) pathway.
The new rules have expanded the eligible professions to include not only those on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) but also those on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).
As a result, many more people are now eligible for the TRT pathway.
10. Increased collaboration between Australia and India
Cricket rivalries aside, Australia and India have long enjoyed a healthy, positive relationship.
However, following the first meeting of the Australia India Education and Skills Council in 2023, we can expect to see increased collaboration and cooperation between the two nations in the coming years.
Key focus areas for the Council include helping Australian universities and institutions open new campuses in India, fostering educational and research partnerships and taking action to make it easier for students to receive degrees from both countries.
In fact, Deakin University and the University of Wollongong are already the first overseas universities to open in India, both opening new campuses in Gujarat International Finance-Tec (GIFT) City in 2024.