A migration agent has launched a petition urging Australia to make the new Post Study Work Stream visa available to all graduates – regardless of when they applied for their student visa. Diane Leow reports.
An Australian migration agent has launched a petition urging the government to make the Post Study Work Stream visa available to all students, regardless of when they applied for their first visa.
The Post Study Work Stream visa (PWSTV) was introduced under the recommendation of the Strategic Review of the Student Visa Program (Knight Review) to allow eligible graduates to stay and work in Australia for certain lengths of time, depending on their qualifications.
Currently, students are only eligible for the PWSTV if they applied for their first student visa after November 5, 2011.
Acacia Immigration Australia CEO Mark Webster says the rule is “unfair”.
“Basically it’s not your fault that you applied for a student visa earlier than somebody else,” he says.
As a result of the changes, Mr Webster estimates 100,000 international students will be unable to extend their stay in Australia and find employment.
He says businesses that usually employ international students will be adversely affected.
Acacia’s petition has gained interest among international students, universities, and an education agent, attracting about 300 signatures so far.
But Mr Webster hopes to get at least 5000 signatures by the end of February.
“If we can get the 5000, I think we’ve got a good chance of changing this,” he says.
A spokeswoman for the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Bowen says the government knows about the petition and “will consider it after it has been submitted.”
She says the Post Study Work Stream is only available to graduates who applied for their first student visa after the genuine temporary entrant requirement (GTE) was implemented so as to “ensure the integrity of the student visa program”.
“Students who applied for their first student visa before 5 November 2011 may still be eligible for work visas, such as the temporary graduate visa (subclass 485) in the graduate work stream or the standard business sponsorship visa (subclass 457) if they have an employer who is willing to sponsor them,” the spokeswoman says
The cost of the provisional visa application has also increased from $315 to $1250.
Mr Webster says in his 12 years of working in the immigration industry, he has only seen visas application fees increase in the vicinity of three to five per cent.
A spokeswoman for Minister Bowen has defended the fee increase.
“The Government has made a targeted increase in the cost of visas where there are high levels of demand as part of a user pays system,” she says.
More information about the new Post Study Work Stream arrangements can be found here.