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Australia's new visa opens door to international primary school students and their guardians

Australian visa Source: SBS

From 1st July, students aged 6 and up will be able to apply for student visas, subclass 500, regardless of their country of citizenship.

Receiving an Australian education and being near a good school are major drawcards for foreign investors when considering property.

From July 1, students aged six and above would be able to apply for student visas regardless of their country of citizenship - and their guardians can also apply for Guardian visas (subclass 580). 

Currently, the system assesses applications based on immigration risk and most Chinese students are ranked at level three, the highest risk, requiring the most evidence to support applications.

These visa-rule changes, which were announced during Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's visit to China in April, also mean non-residents can buy several new properties or one existing property.

Dave Platter, from the leading Chinese international-property portal Juwai.com said there has been a nearly 20 per cent jump in inquiries for properties in Australia since Mr Turnbull's announcement.

He says the portal does not arrange visas, but offers advice about applying. 

The visas are valid for two years, and visa holders cannot work, nor apply for different visas while they are in Australia.

"We're already seeing inquiries about these new visas from Chinese families who want to have their children study here," he said.

While that may increase demand, Mr Platter said it would also result in the construction of new homes.

"In school catchment areas, where there's potential for new development, Chinese interest actually increases the supply of housing by making it possible for developers to build new buildings, and that creates new supply, which can help keep prices down," Mr Platter said.

"The government has done studies on this, and they've found that Chinese buyers actually keep prices down by encouraging new supply."

The visas are valid for two years, and visa holders cannot work, nor apply for different visas while they are in Australia.

This week, New South Wales followed Victoria's lead to introduce stamp-duty and land-tax surcharges that will add about $50,000 to the average purchase price.

The average house price is already at around $1 million.