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Australia Hikes International Student Visa Fees To Curb Migration

Australia Hikes International Student Visa
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Visa Fees Skyrocket to A$1,600, Aimed at Restoring Integrity to Education System

In a move to manage unprecedented migration levels, Australia has increased visa fees for international students, effective July 1.

The new fee structure sees a significant hike from A$710 to A$1,600 (approximately $1,068), a move aimed at restoring integrity to the country’s international education system.

Government Cracks Down on Migration

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil emphasized that the fee adjustments are part of broader efforts to create a more manageable migration framework. The government has also banned onshore applications for student visas from individuals holding visitor visas and temporary graduate visas.

Record High Migration Levels Prompt Regulatory Adjustments

Recent data revealed a 60% surge in net immigration, reaching a record 548,800 people in the year leading up to September 30, 2023. This surge has put pressure on the housing market, prompting the government to take action.

Australia’s Visa Fees Now Higher Than Global Counterparts

The increased visa costs position Australia significantly higher than the US and Canada, where student visa fees are approximately $185 and C$150 ($110), respectively.

Closing Loopholes and Tightening Requirements

The government is also closing loopholes that allowed foreign students to extend their stays indefinitely. This follows a notable 30% rise in students obtaining second or subsequent student visas, exceeding 150,000 in the 2022–23 period. Stricter English language requirements and heightened financial thresholds for visa applicants were also implemented last year.

Concerns Over Impact on Education Sector and Economy

Universities Australia CEO Luke Sheehy expressed concerns over the cumulative impact of these policy shifts on the country’s education sector and economy. He warned that sustained pressure on international student numbers could jeopardize Australia’s economic strength, given that international education is one of the nation’s largest export industries.

Australia’s Immigration Policies Under Review

The latest adjustments reflect Australia’s ongoing efforts to recalibrate its immigration policies following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in 2022, which led to a surge in annual migration levels to record highs.

This Article is Fact-Checked. See Policy.

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