Australia’s Streamlined Student Visa Processing scheme has been given a boost with proposed changes announced in November of 2013 calling for the refinement of assessment level (AL) restrictions and the addition of 22 new providers to the programme.
Introduced in 2012 by the Department of Immigration, the Streamlined Visa Processing arrangement allows international students with a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) certificate to be assessed by authorities as a lower immigration risk (equal to that of the current AL1) regardless of their country of origin, while those without a CoE are assessed under one of the five ALs available dependent on their country’s perceived immigration risk1.
At its introduction, the scheme meant faster application processing times as well as reduced levels of paperwork and evidentiary requirements for international students which assisted with improving Australia’s appeal to prospective students1.
If the proposed changes of November 2013 pass through the usual legislative process to become official in March of 2014, international students looking to access SVP can expect the following2,4:
- The removal of assessment levels 4 and 5 from the scheme. Australia currently employs a five level Assessment program, with the countries said to pose the highest level of immigration risk occupying the fourth and fifth categories. Under the proposed changes, these two levels will be scrapped (at the time of the proposed changes being announced, Australia had no countries listed in level 5), with those applicants affected to now be assessed at AL3 – effectively cutting down their evidentiary requirements.
- The decreasing of the financial requirements for AL3 from 18 months to 12 months, as long as the funds are provided by a close relative of the international student. This will effectively cut-down prospective student’s financial requirements to enter the country by as much as $40,000 AUD.
- A greater range of choices when it comes to eligible providers – the proposed changes will see 22 TAFEs and private providers added to the current university providers whose bachelor and higher degree courses are eligible for SVP arrangement.
While the changes have been generally welcomed, some have called for increases to funding for regulatory bodies to ensure the continuation of the integrity of the program, while others continue to lobby for further expansion to sub-degree programs such as certificates, diplomas and vocational training courses. As of November 2013, it appears there are currently no plans to extend the program to sub-degree courses2,3.
Alliance International Migration Services (AIMS) – Australia’s leading immigration specialists providing expert immigration services worldwide for temporary or permanent entry to Australia for students, professionals, skilled workers, business migrants and families – will be sure to keep an eye on the progress of these proposed changes through the legislative assembly and will keep its clients up to date on the effects for their individual visa applications.
If you are interested in finding out more about how these changes effect you or need assistance in applying for a student visa, please contact AIMS today for a no-obligation chat on +61 3 9078 6819 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, visit www.thinkvisa.com.au for more information, including details of our fixed price offering and free online assessment option. Don’t forget – you don’t have to be eligible for Streamlined Student Visa Processing to apply for a student visa1, ask us today about the options available to you.
For more information on Student Visa Applications with AIMS, click here