More savings required and no more concurrent COEs for international Students

Main changes:

STOP CONCURRENT CONFIRMATION OF ENROLMENT

The Department of Home Affairs is introducing measures to ensure integrity in international education and support legitimate international students, as this sector is a significant export industry for Australia. A loophole that allowed education providers to shift new international students who have been in Australia for less than six months from study to work arrangements has been closed. Concurrent enrolments increased in 2023, raising integrity concerns.

The Department is also investigating more than 200 educational institutions that are considered “dodgy providers” and that have visa refusal rates higher than 50%.

The government will scrutinize high-risk groups more closely, demanding additional documentation to prevent fraud. Additionally, under Section 97 of the ESOS Act, suspension certificates might be issued to high-risk education providers, stopping them from recruiting international students. This marks the first use of such power in Australia.

This measurement takes effect immediately.

INCREASE SAVING AMOUNT FOR FINANCIAL CAPACITY WHEN APPLY FOR STUDENT VISAS

Under clause 500.214 of the Migration Regulations 1994, applicants for student visas are required to have genuine access to funds to meet the costs and expenses of the applicant during their stay in Australia, and the costs and expenses of each member of their family unit who will be in Australia with them.

The Department will now demand international students to demonstrate higher savings for a student visa, reflecting increased living expenses. Starting October 1, 2023, $24,505 in savings will be required, a 17% rise since 2019. Previously, this amount is only AUD 21,041. The increase for each member of the students’ family unit $8,574, and for each dependent child is $3,670.

To calculate how much funds you should demonstrate when applying for a student visa please click here: Student Visa Funds Calculator

GENUINE STUDENT TEST IS TO REPLACE GENEUINE TEMPORARY ENTRANT

The Department is also planning to replace the Genuine Temporary Entrant Requirement by the Genuine Student Test.

Under Genuine Temporary Entrant Requirement, students must prove that they are a Genuine student, and a genuine temporary entrant. That is, students must provide evidence showing that their main purpose in Australia is to study, and they are not using student visas to work in Australia. In addition, students are also assessed against their intention to stay in Australia temporarily only, and that they will depart Australia when they complete their study.

Under the new Genuine Student Test, students need to prove they come to Australia to study, but they do not have to prove that they are coming to Australia temporarily. This is considered align with the General Skills Migration program, where the Department wants to attract more people educated and trained in Australia to enter the workforce and ultimately get Permanent Resident.

This measurement is not official announced yet by the Department. We will update further details about this once more information becomes available.

The government plans further measures to enhance international education integrity in the upcoming Migration Strategy release.

International Students – Visas and compliance

In a joint media release Minister’s Clare, O’Connor and O’Neil announced a number of changes within the international student sector.

Increase in savings required

Evidence of savings for international students will need to show evidence of $24,505 in savings from October 1, 2023.

This is a 17% increase on the current levels and amounts to the equivalent of indexation since 2019 and reflects the increases in living expenses since that time.

Changing courses

Taking effect immediately, the Government has changed the ability of international students who have been in Australia for less than six months, to change from genuine study to arrangements such as ‘concurrent enrolment’ that facilitated working in Australia.

Fit and proper persons

Suspension certificates can be issued under s97 of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act (ESOS Act) to high-risk education providers. The Government has identified more than 200 providers with visa refusal rates higher than 50%.

An Instrument has also been released that strengthens the fit and proper persons standards for persons who exercise a degree of control or influence over the management or operation of a training organisation. The purpose of these changes is to increase public confidence in their suitability to manage, or be involved with, an organisation that provides or assesses national VET qualifications.

Aged care work concessions

Members have enquired whether student visa holders working in the aged care sector, who are eligible for the concession to the working hours cap until the end of December 2023, can change employers during this period.

The Department of Home Affairs have confirmed that a change of employer is acceptable provided all other relevant criteria are met.

Related:

Recent News

NSW 491 Pathway 1 – Apply directly to NSW

Upcoming Immigration Changes 2024

Australia’s New Migration Strategy

COVID-19 concession period ending

Expanding Employer Sponsored Pathways to Permanent Residence (PR)