Monday, July 15, 2024

Australia increases foreign student visa fee in crackdown on migration

Latest Changes to International Student Visa Fees in Australia

Australia Doubles Visa Fees for International Students in Efforts to Curb Record Migration

In an effort to control record migration and alleviate pressure on the housing market, Australia has announced a significant increase in visa fees for international students. The new visa fee, effective from July 1, has more than doubled to A$1,600 ($1,068) from A$710. Additionally, visitor visa holders and students with temporary graduate visas are now prohibited from applying onshore for a student visa.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil stated that the changes aim to restore integrity to the international education system and create a migration system that is fairer, smaller, and better suited for Australia. The move comes after official data revealed a 60% increase in net immigration to a record 548,800 people in the year leading up to September 30, 2023.

The rise in fees now makes applying for a student visa in Australia significantly more expensive compared to other competing countries like the US and Canada. In the US, the cost is around $185, while in Canada, it is approximately C$150 ($110).

Furthermore, the government is closing loopholes in visa rules that allowed foreign students to continuously extend their stay in Australia. The number of students on a second or subsequent student visa surged by over 30% to over 150,000 in 2022-23.

This latest move follows a series of actions taken since late last year to tighten student visa rules, as the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in 2022 contributed to a surge in annual migration rates. English language requirements were strengthened in March, and the savings threshold for international students to obtain a visa was raised in May to A$29,710 ($19,823) from A$24,505.

Universities Australia CEO Luke Sheehy expressed concerns that the government’s continued policy pressure on the sector could jeopardize the country’s position of strength. The recent changes in visa fees and regulations highlight the government’s ongoing efforts to manage migration levels and maintain the integrity of the international education system.

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