Australia tightens regulations for student visas as immigration reaches a record high.

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Posted on March 21, 2024


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Australia is set to enforce stricter visa regulations on international students this week, following the release of government data indicating that migration has reached a new high. This development is expected to intensify the already intense rental market.

Starting on Saturday, there will be more stringent English language standards for graduate and student visas. Additionally, the government will have the authority to stop foreign education providers from accepting new students if they consistently violate regulations.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil stated in a statement, “The actions this weekend will continue to drive migration levels down while delivering on our commitments in the migration strategy to fix the broken system we inherited.”

In an effort to target foreign students who want to come to Australia primarily for employment, a new “genuine student test” will be implemented, and more visiting visas will be subject to “no further stay” restrictions.

The steps come after a series of measures taken by the previous administration last year to end COVID-era benefits, such as unlimited working hours for overseas students. At the time, the administration promised to tighten regulations for students, which might result in a two-year drop in the number of immigrants admitted.

Australia increased its yearly migration figures in 2022 to assist companies in hiring workers to cover staffing gaps following the COVID-19 epidemic, which imposed stringent border restrictions and prevented foreign workers and students from entering the country for over two years.

However, the strain on an already tight rental market has increased due to the unexpected inflow of foreign workers and students.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released data on Thursday that showed net immigration increased by 60% to a record 548,800 in the year ending September 30, 2023, surpassing the 518,000 individuals in the year ending June 2023.

Ultimately, the population of Australia increased to 26.8 million in September of last year at the quickest rate ever recorded, a 2.5% increase.

The unprecedented migration, which was mostly caused by students from the Philippines, China, and India, has increased the labor pool and reduced wage pressures, but it has also made the already tight housing market worse, with rental vacancies remaining at record low levels and new supply being constrained by higher building costs.

According to O’Neill, the government’s initiatives since September have resulted in a decrease in migration, with recent awards of foreign student visas being 35% fewer than the previous year.