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Changes to Australian Student Visas: What You Need to Know

On 23 March 2024, The Department of Home Affairs has made a number of changes to both the student and graduate student visa.  If you have lodged your visa prior to 23 March 2024 these changes will not effect you.

These changes aim to streamline processes and ensure the integrity of the visa system while also addressing the evolving needs of international students.

Student Visa Changes:

Minimum English Proficiency Requirements:

There has been an increase to the minimum English score required for student visa applicants from 23 March 2024; although, there is no change to the validity of the English test as this remains two years.

The minimum scores required are:

If you are from Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom or United States of America, you are not required to complete an English language test prior to applying for a student visa.  There are many other exemptions as well dependent on your individual circumstances.

Graduate Visa Changes:

A further change on 23 March 2024 was the validity of the English test for those applying for a Graduate 485 visa.  You must have obtained your English test in the last 12 months prior to applying; test results older than 12 months will result in a visa refusal.

English level has also increased for those applying for a Subclass 485 Graduate visa to:

If you hold one of the five English-speaking passports (mentioned above) you can provide evidence of your passport in lieu of an English test for the subclass 485 visa.

Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement vs. Genuine Student requirement

As a part of these changes, the Genuine Student requirement was introduced in place of the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement.

The Genuine Student requirement recognises the possibility of a legitimate pathway to permanent residence after studying in Australia. It necessitates that the purpose of travel to Australia is to study. However, where is differs from the ‘GTE’ requirement, is that it acknowledges that after study, applicants may then seek Permanent Residence in Australia.

Although the Genuine Student requirement replaces the previous GTE, the following people will still need to satisfy the GTE requirement:

Secondary dependents of student applicants, also, no longer need to satisfy the GTE.  Instead, they will have to satisfy the Genuine Student Dependent requirements.


What does this mean for you?

These changes signify a shift towards a more simplified and transparent process, ensuring a stronger focus on legitimate student intentions. While certain criteria like the English proficiency requirements, have been tightened, these changes have a broader objective of enabling genuine access to educational opportunities in Australia.

Need help navigating this ever-evolving immigration landscape? Get in touch with one of our expert migration agents today to ensure you stay informed and confident along your migration journey.

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Published Thu 28 March 2024.


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