New Delhi: Mired in negative publicity from the alleged racial attacks on foreign students, Australia has decided to make changes to its visa programme for students. This includes cutting down on financial requirements for some categories of visas.
Fiona Richard, COO at Oceanic Consultants, described the changes positive. “We are sure that the reforms will encourage genuine students and will see the return of Australia as a favoured desitination for education.”
The first phase of changes were announced on November 5. These focus on improving the competitiveness of Australia’s education sector among foreign students.
According to the release, the changes flow from the recent strategic review of Australia’s student visa programme Further changes, including streamlined visa processing arrangements for participating universities, are due to be implemented in 2012.
Aslo, student visa applicants will need to include a confirmation of enrollment (COE), issued by their intended education provider, as part of their student visa applications. This will improve processing time as students will no longer need to wait for a pre-visa assessment (PVA) letter to be issued by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) before arranging their COE.
Australia’s High Commissioner to India, Peter Varghese, said, “I strongly support these changes which will make Australia a more attractive study destination for high-quality students from India seeking to gain international education. Australia is a quality education destination and these changes will further strengthen that reputation.”
A new temporary entrant criterion has also been put into efect. This will assist Australia to ensure that students are intending a temporary stay only for the purposes of education.