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Australia Restricts Onshore Visa Hopping for Student Visa

The Australian government has announced substantial reforms effective from July 1, 2024. These reforms, detailed in the December 2023 Migration Strategy, target the practice known as "Visa Hopping" within specific visa subclasses.

According to the Minister, this aims to prioritize genuine student visa applicants and to close loopholes that allow student and other temporary visa holders to extend their stay in Australia continuously. The government received over 36,000 student visa applications from onshore visitors between July 1, 2023, and the end of May 2024.Bottom of Form

Key Changes and Implications:

Expansion of Restriction: The legislative Instrument LIN16/016 will be expanded to prevent holders of certain visas from applying for a student visa while already in Australia. This restriction will apply to individuals holding the following visa subclasses:

  1. Subclass 485 (Temporary Graduate)

  2. Subclass 600 (Visitor)

  3. Subclass 601 (Electronic Travel Authority)

  4. Subclass 602 (Medical Treatment)

  5. Subclass 651 (eVisitor)

  6. Subclass 988 (Maritime Crew)

This is in addition to the visas already on the instrument from which it is not possible to make a valid student application:  

  • Subclass 403 (Temporary Work) International Relations)) – Domestic Worker (Diplomatic or Consular) stream

  • Subclass 426 (Domestic Worker (Temporary) – Diplomatic or Consular)

  • Subclass 771 (Transit)

  • Subclass 995 (Diplomatic Temporary) – primary visa holders only

Objective: The reforms are designed to ensure that visas are granted to genuine students who have a sincere intention to study in Australia. By restricting onshore visa changes, the government seeks to uphold the integrity of the immigration system and prevent misuse of student visas for purposes other than education.

Impact on Applicants: Visa holders affected by these changes are encouraged to either depart Australia or explore alternative visa pathways that may lead to permanent residency, such as securing skilled employment. This aligns with the government's broader economic objectives of attracting skilled migrants who can contribute to Australia's workforce and economic growth.

Offshore Application Requirement: Prospective students who genuinely intend to study in Australia are encouraged to apply for a student visa from outside the country. This measure aims to streamline the visa application process and ensure that applicants fulfill all eligibility criteria before entering Australia.

Operational Details: While specific legislative instruments detailing these changes have yet to be released, stakeholders, including migration agents and affected visa holders, are urged to stay informed about upcoming briefings and updates that will clarify the implementation of these reforms.

In conclusion, Australia's reforms effective from July 1, 2024, aim to enhance integrity in the international education sector by restricting onshore visa applications for certain subclasses like Subclass 485 and Subclass 600. These changes ensure visas are granted to genuine students, aligning with economic objectives to attract skilled migrants. Prospective students are advised to apply offshore, streamlining the process and ensuring compliance with eligibility criteria. Stakeholders should stay updated on forthcoming briefings for clarity on implementation details.



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