Complying with Australia’s New Visa Rules

Understanding Australia’s New Visa Regulations: What Students and Temporary Visa Holders Need to Know

 

In a strategic move to maintain the integrity of its immigration system, Australia has recently introduced measures aimed at ending the practice known as ‘visa hopping.’ This term refers to the practice where international students and temporary visa holders extend their stay indefinitely by repeatedly applying for new visas. This article delves into the implications of these new regulations and what students and temporary visa holders need to know to stay compliant. This information has been derived from The Minister of Home Affairs website, and provides valuable insights from our team of Migration Lawyers to assist visa holders in Australia.

 

What is Visa Hopping?

 

Visa hopping has become increasingly prevalent, with the number of international students on their second or subsequent student visa rising by over 30% to more than 150,000 in 2022–23. This trend prompted significant concern among policymakers, including renowned Australian demographer Peter McDonald, who argued that limiting visa hopping could better manage population growth compared to reducing permanent migration.

 

In response, the Australian Government has introduced several measures to address this issue. These include imposing ‘no further stay’ conditions on visitor visas and implementing the Genuine Student Requirement in March. This requirement aims to ensure that students cannot switch from one student visa to another without demonstrating credible academic progression.

 

Key Changes to know, effective from 1 July

 

Starting 1 July, the Albanese Government will enforce stricter regulations to close loopholes exploited by visa hoppers. The two main changes are:

 

Restrictions on Visitor Visa Holders: Visitor visa holders will no longer be able to apply for student visas while onshore. This pathway has been a popular method for bypassing the Government’s enhanced offshore student visa integrity measures, with over 36,000 applications recorded from 1 July 2023 to the end of May 2024. By closing this pathway, the Government aims to ensure that only genuine students are granted visas.

 

Restrictions on Temporary Graduate Visa Holders: Similarly, holders of Temporary Graduate Visas will not be allowed to apply for student visas onshore. A report by the Grattan Institute found that 32% of Temporary Graduate Visa holders were returning to study upon visa expiration to extend their stay in Australia. This change clarifies that graduates should either find skilled employment and transition to permanent residency or leave the country, reducing the trend of becoming ‘permanently temporary.’

 

Additional Measures for Temporary Graduate Visa Holders

 

These changes coincide with a suite of other reforms for Temporary Graduate Visa holders that take effect on 1 July. Key changes include:

 

  • Reduced Post-Study Work Rights: The duration for which graduates can work post-study will be significantly shortened, encouraging them to quickly transition to skilled employment.
  • Age Limit Reduction: The age limit for applicants will be lowered from 50 to 35 years, aligning with the aim to attract younger, highly skilled migrants.
  • Increased English Language Requirements: Stricter English proficiency standards were introduced in March to ensure that graduates can effectively integrate into the Australian workforce.

 

Impact on Net Overseas Migration

 

The combined effect of these reforms is expected to substantially reduce net overseas migration. The Government is on track to halve net overseas migration by the next financial year, supporting broader efforts to manage population growth and maintain the integrity of the migration system.

 

Navigating the New Regulations: Expert Guidance for Migrants

 

For students and temporary visa holders, understanding and complying with these new regulations is crucial. Whether you are planning to study, work, or transition to permanent residency in Australia, staying informed about the latest migration rules is essential.

 

At NB Migration Law, we understand the complexities of Australia’s migration policies and the challenges migrants face. Our Senior Migration Lawyers are here to provide expert advice tailored to your unique situation. Book a complimentary consultation today to explore your visa options and ensure your compliance with the new regulations.

 

Don’t navigate Australia’s new migration regulations alone. Book a complimentary consultation with one of our Senior Migration Lawyers at NB Migration Law and get expert advice on your migration situation. Ensure your compliance and secure your future in Australia with confidence.

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