Within a month of downgrading the assessment level of international students from India, Nepal and Pakistan, Australia has increased the financial capacity requirement which will make it more difficult to get Australian student visas.
Australia has further tightened the screws on student visas by raising the evidence of funds visa applicants are required to show, after rating India, Nepal and Pakistan ‘high risk’ – a move that has made it more difficult for students from these countries to get visas for Australia.
Student visa aspirants from these countries are now required to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to meet the cost of living in Australia and travel expenses in addition to their course fees.
The Department of Home Affairs has increased the annual expenses to $21,041 that a single applicant is required to demonstrate the evidence of, in addition to the course fee, in order to satisfy the primary criteria for the Australian student visa.
Visa applicants with their spouses or de facto partners will have to provide evidence of another $7,362 and for those with a dependent child, another $3,152. In case of school-going child, $8,296 will be required in addition.
“These funds are normally shown by way of genuine savings or fixed deposits. Alternatively, the parents can give evidence of their annual income to support a student visa applicant,” Melbourne migration agent Ranbir Singh told SBS Punjabi.
The Department has raised the minimum annual income that an applicant’s spouse or parents have to provide evidence of in case they can't show the required funds, to over $62,000 for a single applicant and $72,592 if there’s a secondary applicant.
The living costs and expenses and the evidence of annual income have been increased in line with the consumer price index.
In September, the Department of Home Affairs downgraded the risk assessment of students from India, Nepal and Pakistan to level 3 from level 2. The change meant that all student visa applicants from these countries applying for courses by education providers except reputed universities, have to give evidence of financial capacity and English proficiency.
Migration agents say the increase in the financial capacity requirement coming close on the heels of downgrading the assessment level will adversely affect student numbers from these countries.
“It’s definitely going to have an effect, especially since the students are now required to not just show the evidence of funds but also that of English language proficiency, and the required funds being increased within a month of that big change,” migration agent Jujhar Bajwa says.
India and Nepal are respectively the second and the third biggest sources of international students to Australia’s $35 billion international education industry, together accounting for over 120,000 enrolments last year.
However, there are concerns these changes may prompt prospective students to instead choose other countries with a more lenient entry threshold, such as Canada and UK.