Australia: students awaiting visas are advised to cancel their college applications

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Posted on February 9, 2024


4 min read

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Australian universities are advising prospective students to withdraw their applications prior to the Department of Home Affairs returning their visas.

The University of Wollongong and at least one other university that isn’t named have instructed prospective students to withdraw their applications because they don’t think they would be able to meet the increased visa requirements under the migration plan.

The universities have informed them that they will receive a full refund of their application fees whenever they withdraw. India’s stakeholders have cautioned that the Australian government’s December announcement of significant improvements has not yet been put into effect.

As part of last year’s plan, the government unveiled an integrity unit that would give applications from “high-risk providers” “greater and more targeted scrutiny” in addition to developing a new Genuine Student Test.

There were two ministerial orientations outlined in the strategy. The first, which has not yet been released, will list important factors that decision-makers should take into account, such as the applicants’ backgrounds, including their ability to advance in their education or employment, and “the usefulness of the intended study to their future career prospects.”

The second states that the priority of student visa applications will be determined by the risk-level of the providers; according to the strategy, this will happen by the end of 2023, “in time to support processing for the 2023/24 student visa peak season.”

According to the plan, “higher risk providers will experience slower processing times as visa decision makers consider both the individual student applicants and the integrity of a provider.”

The scenario is “deeply concerning,” according to the Indian agency organization AAERI, which also notes that the policy’s specifics have not yet been made public.

It was mentioned that the current rejection rate is significantly higher and that the processing period for student visas is longer than usual. There will be a decrease of almost 90,000 student visa holders throughout this fiscal year. 

“We think that applications are being reviewed more closely right now,” AAERI stated. “Everyone is anticipating the new migration strategy’s implementation as well as the specifics of the proposed Genuine Student Test.”

Others have also expressed difficulties with being denied a visa.

They worry that although some applications are being evaluated in light of the new GST, others are being reviewed in light of the Genuine Temporary Entrant, who is still in use.

According to AAERI, by instructing the student to leave, the university is defending its immigration risk assessment.

Nishi Borra, president of AAERI, stated, “This is not a good practice.”

“Students forfeit their about $735 application fee as well as an additional $500–800 in foreign currencies. It’s obvious that students are lost. Also, it puts us in a difficult position to counsel students on such matters as education consultants.

If the university discovers that a student has submitted fraudulent information or made false claims, or if there has been a breakdown in their own admissions or GTE vetting process, they may at any moment terminate the COE; however, asking students to withdraw without cause is not the appropriate course of action.

The Department of Home Affairs and each university “aims to ensure each student’s application to study at an Australian university is genuine,” according to a spokesman for Wollongong University.

They went on, saying it follows the department’s guidelines “in strict alignment” and constantly assesses compliance concerns.

“UOW is modifying procedures linked to admission and genuine temporary entrant screening processes in response to the DoHA visa outcome monitoring that recently revealed an increased risk of fraudulent applications.

“The ongoing evaluation and modification process is a customary practice in the Australian higher education sector, wherein international students hold a crucial position – not only because of their economic impact but also because of their noteworthy addition to Australia’s social and cultural capital.”