Australia Implements Comprehensive Reforms for Temporary Graduate Visa Holders

Australia is taking decisive steps to reform its visa policies, aiming to prevent international students and temporary visa holders from indefinitely extending their stay. These measures are part of a broader strategy to ensure that the visa system is used as intended and to manage population growth more effectively. Australia Implements Reforms for Temporary Graduate

Ending Visa Hopping

A central component of Australia’s updated Migration Strategy, introduced last year, is the effort to eliminate ‘visa hopping.’ This term describes the practice where international students and temporary visa holders extend their stay by continuously switching between different types of visas. The loopholes that facilitate such practices have been a significant concern, leading to a system that some exploit to remain in Australia indefinitely. Australia Implements Reforms for Temporary Graduate

Study in Australia

Expert Insights

Peter McDonald, a distinguished Australian demographer, has supported these changes, suggesting that reducing the number of visa applications from individuals already in the country would better manage population growth. He argued that this method is more effective than simply cutting the intake of permanent migrants. Australia Implements Reforms for Temporary Graduate

Initial Measures

The Australian Government has already begun addressing these issues through several key actions:

No Further Stay Conditions:

These have been imposed on visitor visas, preventing visitors from applying for certain types of visas while in Australia.

Genuine Student Requirement:

Implemented in March, this requirement ensures that students can only switch from one student visa to another if there is credible progression in their studies. This measure has already stopped thousands of students from hopping between student visas without genuine academic advancement. Australia Implements Reforms for Temporary Graduate

Upcoming Changes Effective July 1, 2024

The Australian Government is set to introduce further measures on July 1, 2024, aimed specifically at tightening the rules for Visitor Visa and Temporary Graduate Visa holders.

Restrictions on Visitor Visa Holders

Visitor Visa holders will no longer be able to apply for Student Visas while in Australia. This change targets the increasing number of individuals using the visitor-to-student pathway to bypass strengthened offshore student visa integrity measures. Between July 1, 2023, and May 2024, over 36,000 applications were made through this pathway.

Restrictions on Temporary Graduate Visa Holders

Temporary Graduate Visa holders will also be restricted from applying for Student Visas onshore. According to the Grattan Institute’s “Graduates in Limbo” report, 32% of Temporary Graduate Visa holders return to study when their visa expires to extend their stay. The new policy clarifies that graduates should either seek skilled employment and transition to permanent residency or leave the country, rather than becoming ‘permanently temporary.’

Supporting Policy Changes

The new measures for Temporary Graduate visa holders are part of a broader set of reforms coming into effect on July 1, 2024:

Shortened Post-Study Work Rights:

The duration of post-study work rights will be significantly reduced, encouraging graduates to promptly find skilled employment or leave Australia.

Reduced Age Limits:

The age limit for Temporary Graduate visa applicants will be lowered from 50 to 35 years, focusing on younger, more employable graduates.

Increased English Language Requirements:

Enhanced English language proficiency standards, introduced in March, will continue to ensure that graduates have the necessary language skills for the Australian workforce.

Impact on Net Overseas Migration

These comprehensive changes are expected to significantly reduce net overseas migration. The Government aims to halve net overseas migration by the next financial year, a goal that these new measures will support by ensuring that temporary stays do not become de facto permanent residences.

Restoring Integrity in the International Student System

These reforms are part of a larger effort to restore integrity to the international student system. In addition to ending visa hopping, other policies include:

Ending Unrestricted Work Rights:

Previously, certain visa holders had unrestricted work rights, which have now been limited to ensure that the primary purpose of the visa remains education.

COVID Visa Discontinuation:

The temporary COVID visa, introduced by the previous government, has been discontinued as part of the effort to streamline and enforce existing visa regulations.

Compliance and Adaptation for Visa Holders

International students and temporary visa holders need to be aware of these changes and adjust their plans accordingly. For students, this means focusing on completing their studies and planning their next steps, whether it involves seeking skilled employment or returning to their home country. Temporary Graduate visa holders must ensure they meet the new age and language requirements and make prompt decisions about their future in Australia.

FAQs on Australia’s New Measures for Temporary Graduate Visa Holders

What are the main objectives of Australia’s new visa measures?

The main objectives are to prevent international students and temporary visa holders from extending their stay indefinitely and to manage population growth more effectively by closing loopholes in the visa system.

What is ‘visa hopping,’ and why is it a concern?

‘Visa hopping’ refers to the practice of continuously extending one’s stay in Australia by switching between different visa types. This is a concern because it allows individuals to remain in the country indefinitely, circumventing immigration rules.

Who has supported the idea of curtailing visa hopping?

Peter McDonald, a prominent Australian demographer, has supported curtailing visa hopping, suggesting that it would better manage population growth than reducing the intake of permanent migrants.

What initial measures has the Australian Government implemented to address visa hopping?

The Government has imposed ‘no further stay’ conditions on visitor visas and introduced the Genuine Student requirement, which prevents students from switching between student visas without credible academic progression.

What changes will take effect on July 1, 2024, for Visitor Visa holders?

From July 1, 2024, Visitor Visa holders will no longer be able to apply for Student Visas while in Australia. This change aims to close the visitor-to-student pathway that has been used to bypass offshore student visa integrity measures.

Why is the Government restricting Visitor Visa holders from applying for Student Visas onshore?

The restriction is to prevent individuals from exploiting the system by switching from a Visitor Visa to a Student Visa while already in Australia, which undermines the strengthened offshore student visa integrity measures.

What will change for Temporary Graduate Visa holders on July 1, 2024?

Temporary Graduate Visa holders will not be able to apply for Student Visas onshore. This change ensures that graduates focus on finding skilled jobs or leave the country rather than prolonging their stay by returning to study.

What did the Grattan Institute’s “Graduates in Limbo” report find about Temporary Graduate Visa holders?

The report found that 32% of Temporary Graduate Visa holders return to study when their visa expires to extend their stay in Australia.

What are Temporary Graduate Visa holders expected to do under the new rules?

Graduates are expected to either find skilled employment and transition to permanent residency or leave Australia, rather than extending their stay through further studies.

What additional changes are being implemented for Temporary Graduate visa holders on July 1, 2024?

Additional changes include significantly shorter post-study work rights, a reduced age limit for applicants from 50 to 35 years and increased English language proficiency requirements.

How will these new measures impact net overseas migration?

The measures are expected to significantly reduce net overseas migration, with the Government aiming to halve it by the next financial year.

What is the Genuine Student requirement, and how does it affect visa hopping?

The Genuine Student requirement ensures that students can only switch between student visas if there is credible academic progression, thus preventing visa hopping.

Why is the age limit for Temporary Graduate Visa applicants being reduced?

The age limit is being reduced from 50 to 35 years to prioritize younger graduates who are more likely to find skilled employment in Australia.

How are the English language requirements changing for Temporary Graduate visa holders?

The English language proficiency standards have been increased to ensure that graduates have the necessary language skills to succeed in the Australian workforce.

What should international students and temporary visa holders do to comply with the new regulations?

They should align their plans with the updated policies by focusing on completing their studies, finding skilled jobs, or planning to return to their home country if they do not meet the new requirements.

Conclusion: Australia’s new measures for Temporary Graduate visa holders represent a significant shift in the country’s approach to managing temporary visas. By closing loopholes and tightening regulations, the Government aims to maintain the integrity of its visa system and better manage population growth. These changes underscore the importance of using the visa system as intended and prevent the misuse that leads to indefinite stays. For more information contact us now.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is based on the latest news updates and official announcements from the Australian Government as of June 2024. For detailed guidance and specific advice, please refer to official government sources or consult with an immigration expert.

Source: www.financialexpress.com

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