Australia’s student visa policy is expected to receive an overhaul following a meeting between Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen and industry key bodies.
Attendees at Monday’s meeting reported a positive outcome, with the government acknowledging the problems and indicating there were plans to address the issues.
Several industry bodies have criticized the current Australian visa policy for inconsistency and unnecessarily strict eligibility criteria.
One of the complaints was that overseas Australia immigration officials were applying visa policies inconsistently, with citizens of some countries facing greater scrutiny than others.
Applicants in the Czech Republic, for example, are subjected to interviews in 80 per cent of cases despite the country’s official low-risk rating.
“It is undermining people’s confidence in the system,” English Australia chief executive Sue Blundell said.
Groups are also lobbying for the student visa eligibility criteria to be loosened. This includes reducing the amount of funds visa applicants need to support themselves in Australia.
Enrollments from foreign students in Australia have dropped dramatically recently. This has dealt a severe blow to the $18 billion international student industry enjoyed by Australian universities. Changes to Australia visa policy have received most of the blame.
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Changed Australian visa policy planned to attract students
Posted on November 27, 2010