The Australian government is taking tough measures against fraudulent students who use student visas as a cover for employment and permanent residency. Australia bans student visas in an effort to cut net migration in half by 2025. Australia on Wednesday revealed intentions to raise the financial criteria for foreign students applying for visas and warned multiple universities about using spurious recruitment practices.

In addition to Australia’s ban on student visas and English language proficiency exams, the federal government has announced a number of measures, including guidelines for education brokers who bring international students to Australia.

The federal government acknowledges that “change is hard,” but migration is “too high” and needs to be reduced to “sustainable levels”. However, critics claim that Australia’s ban on student visas is hurting the institutions bottom lines and upsetting the plans of real students, who might decide not to study in Australia at all.

The most recent statistics on home affairs indicates that in the year ending in March, up to one in five students had their visas denied. The number of Indian students who received visas declined by 48% between December 2022 and December 2023, compared to a 53% fall for Nepalese students and a 55% decrease for Pakistani students. Institutions have changed their procedures as a result of the stricter visa requirements; some have even banned Indian students entirely.

In order to alleviate the workforce shortages brought on by the tight border controls during the pandemic, there was a surge in migration last year. But when more foreign workers and students entered the country, the rental market became more stressed, which increased the number of homeless people.

According to a Sydney Morning Herald survey, the public’s opinion on immigration is reflected in the fact that 62% of Australian voters think the nation’s immigration intake is too high. The government believes that over the next two years, its policies may cut Australia’s immigration intake in half.

The blog covers:

What is happening?

Why are all universities enforcing complete bans?

Prospects for the future

What is happening?

As Australia bans student visas, a significant number of overseas students are facing visa denials, and others are afraid to go back home for fear of having their visas revoked. Students believe they are the subject of prejudice because of their place of origin, according to Malik, even though there are no documented instances of returning students’ visas being cancelled.

A spokesman for the University of Sydney claims that a “significant number” of students have been banned in order to complete additional criteria, and that delays in the processing of their visas have led others to postpone or withdraw their applications.

Several students at the University of Melbourne have not yet received their visas for the 2024 intake. Even further, Central Queensland University has confirmed in writing to education agencies that it will no longer enroll applicants over 25 or in English language programs or offer enrollment to students from India or Nepal, with the exception of research assignments.

Why are all universities enforcing complete bans?

The International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) CEO, Phil Honeywood, claims that stigmatizing nations in general is a “blunt instrument” that downplays the advantages of variety. According to Honeywood, universities are putting more stringent rules on foreign applicants in an effort to raise their risk assessments—which the federal government uses to lower the number of students.

Based on their propensity to attract fraudulent students who come to Australia mainly to work rather than study, universities are rated by the system. The risk classification for visas ranges from 1 to 3, with level 1 universities considered low-risk and having expedited processing of visa applications. When the list was amended earlier this month, two universities were moved to a level 3 and nine universities were degraded to a level 2.

Honeywood reports that while level 2 and level 3 universities are experiencing significant delays, less than 10% of international student visas are pending approval at low-risk universities. Since Australia bans student visas, Federation University, a Level 3 institution, has experienced severe budgetary hardship. Just over one in ten employees, or 200 continuing employments, would be eliminated, according to previous announcements.

Private institutions have also suffered greatly. Visa grants fell by 68% in December 2023 compared to the same month the previous year, according to English Australia, the national peak group for more than 100 English language schools for overseas students.

Prospects for the future

As far as applying for a non-refundable visa goes, Australia is “well and truly” the costliest country. The share of overseas students will probably decline even more when you factor in the anticipated increase in student visa costs brought about by the May budget. Since they represent the sole immigration stream to Australia that can be curtailed, Honeywood claims that international students are engaging in a “blame game.”

Although greater visa costs are anticipated, Abul Rizvi claims that this is “poor long-term policy.” According to him, a significant decline in student visa applications in February and a decline in net student arrivals in March can be attributed to providers’ cautious stance and the rising rejection rates for applications from overseas students.

Rajesh believes that the government and institutions are solely to blame for the drop in quality. He asserts, “Students are not accountable for that.” “Posing all the blame on students and their home nations is not the solution.”