THE Federal Government has introduced a raft of new measures to attract international students to Australia, including easing student visa requirements for students from India and China.
Making the announcement yesterday, Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans said a review of the student visa program was also underway to ensure Australia remained competitive in the international education market.
“The Australian international education sector has come under increasing pressure as a result of the rising value of the Australian dollar, the ongoing impact of the global financial crisis in some countries, and growing competition from the United States, New Zealand and Canada for international students,” Senator Evans said.
The new measures include:
- Reducing the student visa assessment levels from April 2011 in 38 countries, including higher education visa assessment levels for applicants from China and India will also be reduced.
- Refining the rules to further enable pre-paid boarding fees to be counted toward students’ cost of living requirements in their visa application.
- Improved information exchange between the government and the international education sector, including provision of a quarterly statistical publication on the student visa program that will soon be available from the DIAC website to allow the sector to track emerging student visa trends.
- Enabling assessment level 4 vocational education and training (VET) students to undertake a package of certificate level courses to meet visa requirements.
Senator Evans said the review of the student visa review would be completed in mid 2011.
“The review will look at ways to better manage immigration risk in the student visa caseload and deter breaches and misuse of the program, as well as consider the suitability of separate visas for different education sectors,” he said.