Migrants will be able to explicitly state that they wish to permanently migrate to Australia after changes to the student visa.
The Genuine Student Test will replace the Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement, which disqualifies student visa applications which include statements about the intention to stay in Australia after study.
The change was made after international education sector representatives pointed out the disingenuous nature of dismissing applications for student visas based on international students being honest about their post-study intentions.
International students are required to outline their plans after studying in Australia in a 300-word statement. Applications that suggest international students intend to stay in Australia are refused.
“For those who do want to stay – and if we want to attract the skills that we need particularly in STEM and allied health – we’re cutting off our nose despite our face by denying them entry because they wouldn’t mind migrating to Australia,” International Education Association of Australia chief executive Phil Honeywood said.
There were 283,573 student visas granted in the first half of the 2022-23 program year, 166,891 of these visas were granted to applicants from outside Australia. The subclass 500 student visa allows successful applicants to stay up to 5 years in line with their study requirement, work up to 48 hours per fortnight during semester and costs $A710. Students are required to maintain an 80 per cent attendance rate at a minimum.
Currently, up to 90 per cent of student visas for vocational education and training courses take less than 46 days to process from the time of application, while 90 per cent of student visas for tertiary courses are processed in as little as two weeks.
“We want to ensure that high-performing students, with the skills we need, are given the chance to stay,” Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said in April, adding that international students were a “very important part of the puzzle” to reform the immigration system and address economy-damaging skills shortages in Australia.