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Major changes to 457 visa program and student visa

19 April 2016

From 19 April 2016, the first set of changes to the 457 visa program will be implemented and the changes revolve around the following issues :-

  • Inappropriate use of 457 visa programme by imposing obligation on standard business sponsors to require them not to engage in recruitment practices which discriminate against potential employees on grounds of immigration status or citizenship;
  • Streamline the processing of 457 visa applications by requiring visa applicants to enter details of a nomination by a sponsor or proposed sponsor when making visa applications online;
  • Remove visa criteria which require provision of evidence of English language proficiency by 457 visa applicants who are already required to show such proficiency to obtain occupational registration or licensing;
  • Clarify that in deciding whether there are compelling reasons for giving special consideration to granting a 202 visa to an applicant where the applicant has been proposed by an individual proposer, the Minister must have regard to the capacity of the Australian community to provide for the permanent settlement of persons such as the applicant in Australia.

Commencing 1 July 2016 the Australian student visa programme will be amended to having only two visa subclasses which are subclass 500 (student) and subclass 590 (student guardian). Under the current student visa programme, there are eight subclasses.

The purpose of the amendments are to :-

  • Streamline application and processing requirements for student visa applicants, particularly introducing common criteria to all applicants which includes criteria relating to enrolment, English language requirements, financial capacity and genuineness of application for entry or stay as a student;
  • Repeal the provisions relating to the current regulatory assessment level framework and streamlined processing provisions and introduce new requirements to strengthen the integrity of the programme by providing a wider range of factors for decision makers to assess genuineness and the need for individuals to provide evidence of financial and English proficiency;
  • Revise a condition placed on student visas to stress clearly to visa holders what kind of courses they are allowed to undertake while holding the visa and when a change of course would require them to apply for a new student visa.

The case officers at the Department of Immigration will be assisted by the new combined country and provider immigration risk framework that will help guide student visa evidentiary requirements and create streamlined visa application processing opportunities for education providers across all sectors. 

There will also be no restrictions on bringing family for students studying for less than 10 months. We will need to observe the adjustments made by the Department of Immigration after July 2016 to ascertain if this is a better system. 

AIMS will be more than happy to answer any queries in regards to the changes above. Just give us a call on 03-9078 6819 or email us at team@thinkvisa.com.au. Alternatively, visit www.thinkvisa.com.au for more information about us.

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