New easier visa application process to benefit students and private educators

MANY international students burdened by complicated visa processes will soon find it easier to enrol in, and complete their studies. A new simplified student visa system will allow educators to focus more on quality education. Rowan Forster has the details.

Image: John Barker via Flickr

Image: John Barker via Flickr

International students who attend private education institutions will soon be subjected to a simplified student visa process, following changes made to the system by the federal government.

Education Minister Christopher Pyne and Assistant Immigration Minister Michaelia Cash announced that the eight different student visa types will be reduced to two, and that the simplified system currently offered to universities will soon be available to private education institutions.

Rod Camm, CEO of the Australian Council for Private Education and Training, endorsed the changes because they create a level playing field. He says the student visa system is so complicated that colleges spend more time explaining the visa processes instead of addressing the quality of their education.

“We strongly advocated for simpler arrangements that supported all providers seeking to grow their international business, and delivered a level playing field for education and training organisations,” Mr Camm said.

The new system, known as the simplified student visa framework, assesses students applying to all education providers based on the country they come from, and the immigration compliance record of other students from that particular education provider.

It will be introduced in July 2016, replacing the former system established by the Gillard Labor government several years ago.

Labor’s system offered easy visa processing only to students at universities, so the change should be particularly welcomed by private education providers. International students enrolling with private institutions under Labor’s scheme must operate in a highly complicated visa risk assessment system which students found difficult to understand.

Deputy Chief Executive of Universities Australia Anne-Marie Lansdown also welcomed the changes.

“Streamlined visa processes have allowed universities to compete internationally for the best students, unhindered by lengthy visa processes, and enabled universities to introduce processes that improve outcomes for the student,” she said.

“The new simplified student visa process will boost equity and support an environment where high quality and low risk providers can prosper.”

As a result of the new streamlined visa process, Australia’s federal government will likely see growth in international students as a strong export boost that could potentially correct the deficit being caused by the resources industry.

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