Australia Hikes Requirement For Student Visa. Should Indians Worry? All You Need To Know

Dreams of studying in Australia may now seem further out of reach for many Indian students as the country tightens its visa rules. The Australian government, under Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s government, has announced an increase in the proof of savings needed for international students to qualify for a student visa. Marking the second hike in seven months, this change mandates students to demonstrate savings of at least AUD29,710 ($19,576). 

Before, students needed AUD24,505 ($16,146) in savings, so the recent hike represents a substantial increase of $3,430. It is to be noted that $1 is equal to 1.5177 Australian dollars.

This move comes amidst a surge in migration and concerns regarding fraudulent practices in student recruitment. It is to be noted that the Albanese government has introduced various measures to tighten student visa procedures, including the IELTS score requirement. 

This latest amendment in the proof of savings prerequisite follows a previous increase in October, from AUD21,041 to AUD24,505. 

Australia’s stringent approach towards student visas, aimed at reducing the annual immigration by half, has particularly impacted Indian students. Allegations of targetted visa rejections for Indian applicants have raised concerns, with a former Australian diplomat to India warning of potential repercussions on bilateral relations. 

Major Decline In Indian Student Visas

Despite being the second-largest source of international student enrollments in Australia, Indian student visas witnessed a notable decline of 48% between December 2022 and December 2023, according to reports. 

Nevertheless, India remains a significant contributor, with approximately 1.22 lakh Indian students enrolled in Australian universities during the January- September 2023 period. 

Moreover, the government is actively addressing fraudulent practices among education providers. Warning letters have been issued to 34 suspected institutions for engaging in “non-genuine or exploitative recruitment practices”. 

Australian Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil stated that such actions aim to eliminate unethical practices and safeguard the integrity of the international education sector. 

In a statement, O’Neil said: “Dodgy providers have no place in our international education sector. These actions will help weed out the bottom feeders in the sector that seek to exploit people and trash the sector’s reputation”.

Australia’s international education sector, a vital export industry contributing AUD$36.4 billion ($24 billion) to the economy in 2022/23, faces challenges due to a surge in migration, primarily driven by international students. The strain on resources, especially rental markets, has prompted the government to reassess migration policies as they anticipate a significant reduction in migrant intake over the next two years.

“We are significantly reducing migration levels – we are in the middle of the biggest drop in migration numbers in Australia’s history, outside of war or pandemic,” stated the Australian Home Affairs Minister.

READ | Indian Operatives Expelled From Australia Amid Espionage Allegations: Report

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