International Education Updates
Edited on January 22, 2024
Department of Home Affairs
The Department of Home Affairs has issued a Migration Strategy – Student and Graduate visa measures Fact sheet – Migration Strategy – Student and Graduate visa measures
This provides details of:
- increased English language proficiency requirements (to be implemented for student visa applications in early 2024),
- overall priorities for processing of offshore student visa applications as of 15 December 2023, and
- a Genuine Student requirement (to replace the Genuine Temporary Entrant / GTE requirement in early 2024).
Key points for the Schools sector:
- English language requirements
Schools sector student visa applicants remain exempt from providing evidence of an appropriate English language test result at the time of visa application.
This information is available at: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/student-500#Eligibility. Details are under Meet English language requirements >> English Language Evidence Exemptions.
You do not need to provide evidence of an English test score with your visa application if one of the following applies:
- … you are enrolled in a principal course of study that is a registered school course, a standalone English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS), a course registered to be delivered in a language other than English, or a registered post-graduate research course …
Please also note the exemption in the last dot point, which is relevant for high school students with a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education who are intending to apply for a student visa for tertiary entrance:
- … in the 2 years before applying for the student visa, you completed, in Australia and in the English language, either the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education or a substantial component of a course leading to a qualification from the Australian Qualifications Framework at the Certificate IV or higher level, while you held a student visa. (Emphases added.)
- Student processing priorities
The fact sheet advises that 15 December 2023 was the commencement date for Ministerial Direction No.107. This establishes how the Department prioritises processing of Student and Student Guardian visa caseloads based on the risk level of providers.
As noted in Caroline’s International Education Update and the Department of Immigration’s Student Visa Program Provider Update – December 2023 (19/12/23), applications for student visas for the Schools sector that are lodged outside Australia and for Student Guardian visas that are lodged inside or outside Australia are among those that will receive the highest priority for processing.
- Genuine Student requirements
The fact sheet advises a new ‘Genuine Student’ Ministerial Direction will come into effect in early 2024. Student visa application forms will be changed to reflect the new requirements.
While ISA has advocated for the level of studies and age of school sector student visa applicants to be taken into account, we have not seen any draft wording of the changes, nor had any indication about how information required for the Department to assess the applicant’s ‘knowledge of and interest in their chosen course of study’ and the requirement for the prescribed declaration might apply to school age student visa applicants.
In the fact sheet footnote, the Department advises all changes will be communicated to stakeholders in advance of coming into effect.
Department of Education – International Education
- There have been recent updates to webpages for International Education Data and Research – Department of Education, Australian Government.
- The Department is yet to release a Discussion Paper on indicators for a Risk Framework for ESOS agency compliance actions as part of the Government’s reform agenda for international education.
The International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) is holding the following events:
- IEAA National Symposium 2024 – Diversification 1 & 2 February (face to face, Melbourne) and 2 February (online). Registrations close 25 January.
- IEAA Student Life Forum 2024: Connection, Community and Wellbeing 30 April and 2 May (online). Registrations close 28 April.
- IEAA Admissions and Compliance Forum 2024: Remaking the Rules 15-17 May (Gold Coast). Registrations close 8 May.
Other IEAA events can be found at: Professional Development – International Education Association of Australia (ieaa.org.au).
- 16 February is the closing date for expressions of interest in session proposals for IEAA’s 2024 National Symposium on the future of Australia-China School partnerships in May. Please details at: Call for Proposals – National Symposium on the future of Australia-China School Partnerships – International Education Association of Australia (ieaa.org.au).
- Please advise Caroline or Mariana if interested in lobbying the Department of Education to conduct an International Student Survey for the school sector. (This would require support from all non-government school sector peak bodies.)
RECAP OF 2023 REFORMS AND INTO 2024
Tuition Protection Service (TPS)
- The Final Board Advice on the 2024 International TPS Levy – Department of Education, Australian Government confirmed the TPS Board’s agreement that ‘the volatility in overseas student enrolments and maximum overseas source country concentration risk factors will not apply to an education provider where the proportion of international students is less than 20 per cent of its total student population’. This will be reflected in the calculation and collection of the 2024 TPS levy.
Department of Immigration
- The Government’s Migration Strategy was released on 11/12/23. Details of the Strategy, Overview and Action Plan are available at Migration Strategy (homeaffairs.gov.au)Some changes have already been implemented. Details of those still to come are outlined in the Migration Strategy – Action Plan
- There are a number of recommendations and proposed actions that are jointly being considered or worked on by the Departments of Immigration and Education.
Resources for the International Education Sector
As there are often changes to staff at the beginning of the year, schools with international programs might wish to review information updates and resources that were made available towards the end of 2023. These include:
- Videos, Report and other resources from IEAA’s 2023 National Symposium on the future of Australia-Korea School Partnerships – International Education Association of Australia (ieaa.org.au)
- Department of Home Affairs EVCC Commonwealth Update – December 2023 (emailed as an attachment to the AIS International Group on 13/12/23). Items include:
- Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) resources for international students
- International student fact sheet
- Webinars – Fair Work Ombudsman
- Austrade LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/83475563/admin/.
- Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) resources for international students
o Department of Home Affairs Student Visa Program Provider Update – July to end September 2023 (emailed as an attachment to the AIS International Group on 01/12/23). In particular:
– Item 4 Increase in financial capacity requirements
§ Subclass 500 Student visa (homeaffairs.gov.au) Go to Gather your documents >> Evidence you have enough money for your stay.
– Item 6 Notifying the Department of changes to welfare arrangements for minors