Oz announces changes to student visa regime

Faced with dwindling international enrollments, Australian govt has announced a slew of changes to its student visa regime.

Melbourne: Faced with dwindling international
enrollments, Australian government has announced a slew of
changes to its student visa regime including the doubling of
working hours limit.

Also from Saturday, all visa applicants, regardless of
country of origin, applying to study in Bachelor, Masters or
Doctoral degrees at participating universities, will be
treated as though they are lower risk and will need to submit
less evidence in support of their visa application.

From March 26, more flexible work conditions for all
student visa holders will be introduced, Minister for
Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen, said yesterday.

All students will be entitled to work a maximum of 40
hours over a two-week period, rather than being restricted to
20 hours each week.

Post graduate research visa holders will be entitled to
work an unlimited amount of hours per week once their course
has commenced, he said.

Welcoming the new rules, Australian High Commissioner to
India, Peter Varghese in New Delhi said, "These streamlined
visa arrangements recognise the strong record of Australia`s
universities in attracting high quality students and will not
only reduce the complexity of the visa application process but
also result in faster processing of student visas."

He said there is a very strong commitment from all sides
to ensure these changes lead to a steady and sustainable
growth in high-quality Indian student enrollment.

Australia`s education sector has registered a massive fall
of over 3 billion dollars in revenue from foreign students as
number of overseas pupils plummeted, affected by a rapidly
rising currency, stiffening of the visa regime and violence
against Indians.

Latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics
shows that the value of international students to the
education sector has fallen by a whopping 20 per cent last
year but the government has dubbed this decline "as expected,
and a good thing".

Australia`s education sector that drew a large number of
foreign students, including Indians, is one of the major
revenue earners in Australia.